Last night, it was Cloud versus clouds -- and nature won.
Last night, a thunderstorm tore across eight states on the East Coast, killing four people and leaving some 4 million without power. On the path of the super derecho was a server farm in Northern Virginia, which contain servers that contribute to Amazon's vaunted Elastic Compute Cloud service. The storm downed machines that hosted, among other properties, Netflix, Pinterest, and Instagram.
So while residents of those eight states woke up this morning to the physical aftermath of a raging storm, users around the country found themselves at the mercy of nature, as well -- indirectly, and yet intimately. Some of the key digital services they rely on -- for communication, for entertainment, for connection -- were simply not working. And there was nothing they could do to make them work again.
On the one hand, you know: big deal. The momentary inability to stream Toddlers and Tiaras -- or to share pictures of cupcakes -- or to share pictures of cupcakes washed with a pleasingly retro vibe -- pales in comparison, obviously, to the loss of lives. And even to the loss of power. As a result of the storm, millions of people are without electricity on a day of triple-digit heat; that is much more than a mere inconvenience.