One of the reasons the Fastly outage seems so wide scale is that cloud computing service companies like Fastly are consolidating, leaving websites dependent on a shrinking number of providers. Even if there aren’t that many total outages, the fact that so many everyday sites rely on fewer cloud providers makes each individual outage feel pretty significant to an average internet user who just wanted to buy some stuff on Amazon and read the New York Times early Tuesday morning.
There are benefits to consolidation, explains Doug Madory, the head of internet analysis at the network monitoring company Kentik. For instance, a smaller number of cloud providers means it’s much easier to get those providers to deploy a particular security change. “The flip side is the liability [of] having a few megacompanies, whether they’re CDNs or other types of internet firms, responsible for a lot of our internet activities,” Madory told Recode.
In other words, when one of these megacompanies updates its systems and inadvertently causes an outage, the damage radius could be quite wide. This is what happened in 2011 when one of Amazon’s cloud computing systems, Elastic Block Store (EBS), crashed and brought Reddit, Quora, and Foursquare offline. After the incident, Amazon explained that engineers inadvertently caused technical problems that trickled down through its systems and caused the outage.
Among all households in 2018, 92% had at least one type of computer and 85% had a broadband internet subscription. The ACS considers desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones as computers, along with selected computing technologies such as smart home devices and single-board computers.
Smartphone ownership surpassed ownership of all other computing devices. Smartphones were present in 84% of households, while 78% of households owned a desktop or laptop. Tablet ownership fell behind at 63%.
Urban residents were more likely than rural residents to use computing devices (93% of urban households compared to 89% of rural households) and were more likely to have any sort of internet subscription (86% of urban households compared to 81% of rural households).