Lady Gaga download deal crushes Amazon servers

Fans responding to a cut-price Amazon Cloud Player offer for Lady Gaga's new album have reported slow downloads, a sign that the company's servers are failing to hold up to demand

Demand for a cut-price Lady Gaga download looks to have overwhelmed Amazon's servers on Monday, a sign that the company's cloud may have problems dealing with major spikes in demand.

Lady Gaga album offer on Amazon

Amazon's servers struggled to cope with the high demand when music fans logged on to download Lady Gaga's new album at a cut-price rate. Photo credit: ZDNet.com

The Amazon Cloud Player promotion on Monday, which saw the new Born This Way album available to buy as a one day-only offer for 99 cents (61p), led to fans rushing to the site in such numbers that Amazon's servers failed to hold up and downloads slowed to a crawl.

"We're currently experiencing very high volume," Amazon acknowledged in a post to its Amazon MP3 account on Twitter on Monday evening. The company assured users that if they bought the album that day, it would be delivered to them.

The comments thread on Amazon's Born This Way product page was filled with buyers reporting major delays in receiving their digital download.

This is ridiculous... 10 hours since I purchased the CD and still only have seven songs.

– Amazon user

"This is ridiculous... 10 hours since I purchased the CD and still only have seven songs... give me a break," one user wrote.

Customer service representatives for the company were attributing the problem to technical issues, according to some posters.

"I just finished speaking with an Amazon MP3 Customer Service Agent, and she explained it to me clearly that their server is having technical difficulties due to the overwhelming amounts of downloads of Lady Gaga's new album. She reassured me that their technical teams are working diligently to solve the problem," wrote Amazon user eastcaost316.

Another buyer wrote: "Amazon, if you don't have the infrastructure to support the high demand a deal like this creates, then don't offer the deal. I'll think twice before purchasing music from you again."

Amazon had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

The company's digital download service, Cloud Drive, sits on top of its overall hardware infrastructure cloud, which is commercialised through its Amazon Web Services (AWS) business division. Cloud Drive uses AWS's Simple Storage Service (S3).

However, AWS's status page, designed to flag up issues as they happen in the cloud, showed no storage issues on the day the users were reporting problems.

The AWS cloud has stumbled in the past. In late April, many AWS-dependent sites, including FourSquare and Quora, were disrupted by hiccups in the service's elastic compute cloud (EC2). Earlier, in March, major social forum Reddit considered migrating away from aspects of the AWS cloud due to to worries over reliability.


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