A failure in the services of the American cloud services company Akamai has caused interruptions in the service of companies such as Airbnb, video game platforms such as Playstation Network or Steam, airlines such as Delta Air Lines, distribution chains such as Costco Wholesale, financial services such as American Express, in addition to numerous banks such as BBVA, or media such as EL PAÍS, among others. This failure in the service has prevented access to the web or that images could be displayed within the news. Shortly before 7pm on Tuesday afternoon, Akamai claimed to have “implemented a solution to this problem and, based on current observations, the service is returning to normal operation.” “We will continue to monitor to ensure that the impact has been completely mitigated,” he said. in a note posted on his Twitter account. At the beginning of June, a similar failure in the rival company Fastly put The New York Times, EL PAÍS, Amazon, Twitch, Paypal or Reddit out of play.
The company explained that the drop was due to a failure in DNS services. Each web page has an IP (internet protocol in English) address, which is the equivalent of a telephone number. It is presented as a string of four or six numbers separated by periods, such as 126.96.36.199. The IP addresses have to be translated into names of pages that we can remember, such as elpais.com. This is what the system takes care of Domain Name System (domain name system), known by its acronym DNS. The company has promised to investigate this issue “actively”, and has encouraged customers to contact technical support if they are experiencing a service impact as a result.
The so-called cloud is made up of many computers connected online that host a good part of the services that we access without being on our device. Examples are emails, storages like Dropbox or home devices like Alexa. This market is dominated by Amazon with its subsidiary Amazon Web Services (AWS), followed by Microsoft and Google.
These computers may be located on the other side of the world. Therefore, there can be delays in the delivery of online content. That is why there is a second level formed by other firms called content distribution network (CDN) A CDN is basically a network of servers in different data centers around the world that are dedicated to temporarily storing copies of your clients’ pages. The idea is to avoid that the geographical remoteness of a service or its central servers, or a high demand from users, can cause a page to take time to load or even cause the system to crash. One of them, Fastly, rose to fame after its fall in early June after suffering a similar fall. The other two best known are Cloudflare and Akamai itself.
Falls like today’s are generally relatively brief. The three similar big recent cloud service drops were from Cloudflare in 2019 and 2020 and Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2017, in addition to Fastly in early June.
Akamai was founded in 1998 by Daniel Lewin, an MIT alumnus who died three years later, at just 31 years of age, in one of the planes during the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers, after being stabbed by one of the hijackers of the planes. The company registered a net profit of 155,695 million dollars in its first fiscal quarter, ended March 31, which was a year-on-year increase of 25.8%. Your server network, as explained to the US stock regulator, comprises more than 325,000 devices in 130 countries.