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22 Apr 2011

Major websites including Foursquare have been knocked offline by a fault at Amazon's cloud computing service.

Quora, the question and answer website, and the news aggregator Reddit were also unavailable as a result of the technical failure.

Foursquare, a location-based social network, said: "Our usually amazing datacentre hosts, Amazon EC2, are having a few hiccups this morning, which affected us and a bunch of other services that use them."

Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) is a leading cloud computing service, offering web hosting, processing power and storage to firms who do not want to invest in their own data centre.

Cloud computing services are currently mostly used by start-ups, but the model is expected to increasingly attract larger businesses in future. The government is also developing a cloud computing strategy to cut the costs of delivering public services online.

In a message to users, Quora said: "We'll be back shortly, we hope. Sorry, it sucks for us too.

"We'd point fingers, but we wouldn't be where we are today without EC2."

At 4pm BST on Thursday the Quora was still unavailable. Foursquare said "everything looks to be getting back to normal now", however.

According to Amazon's service status page, the problems began more than six hours earlier at a data centre in North Virginia. Its own website is unaffected.

The firm, which launched EC2 in 2007 after it developed technology to reliably deliver its retail service to millions of users worldwide, has not said when it will complete work to fix it.

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk

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