An obscure service provider briefly broke the internet Tuesday. It could happen again
June 9, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 22.4%. 1 min read.
A giant chunk of the internet briefly broke on Tuesday because of an outage at a company most people have probably never heard of before.
Nearly all websites rely on a service provider like Fastly — which runs what's called a "content delivery network" or CDN (we'll get into what that means later on) — as a layer between internet users and the servers where their content is hosted.
Even before this week's outage, internet infrastructure experts have been ringing the alarm about concentration in the CDN space, where the small number of major providers could make for big targets for an attack.
The catch is that so many websites — big and small — use CDNs as a layer between users and the servers where their content lives that when a CDN goes down, much of the internet can go with it.
And it's not just CDNs. Amazon Web Services, a cloud computing service that supports numerous popular websites, has also experienced outages that end up taking down large chunks of the internet.
"There is no error-free internet, so the measure of success is how quickly a major internet firm like Fastly can recover from a rare outage like this," said Doug Madory, director of internet analysis at network analytics firm Kentik.
The bigger problem with the internet's huge reliance on just a few CDN's is the possibility that they become the target of an attack, Merrill said.