Amazon’s S3 Service went dark for a time today. This, of course, effectively shuttered the businesses (or parts thereof) that rely on S3 for online storage. It seems that things are returning to normal, but some customers are upset–and rightfully so. Amazon touted this storage as being pretty much bulletproof; widespread, unscheduled downtime does not live up to that promise.

In Amazon’s defense, this is the first major S3 outage, so their track record is pretty damn good. I’ve been an advocate of S3 for some time, and will continue to be so long as outages like this one do not become commonplace.

This just serves as a reminder that functions relying on web services should fail gracefully. This may be a tall order, if not impossible, for some applications. But, compensating for these sorts of failures should be a major design consideration for developers of applications that consume web services.

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