AWS Outage Causes Chaos for Amazon Warehouse Workers

SEATTLE — Amazon warehouses around the country stopped operating Tuesday as outages in the company’s cloud computing system took down the technology that powers the company’s logistics operations.

The disruption came during the peak holiday season, with Amazon already dealing with more complicated and expensive logistics during a labor shortage. Usually, Amazon’s share of online sales grows practically each day closer to Christmas.

Amazon Web Services began reporting increased “error rates” in its cloud operations on Tuesday morning. Amazon uses its own cloud services as the backbone for its operations, and workers across the country reported that the scanners and other systems that they used to process products had stopped working.

“The A.W.S. team is working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible,” Richard Rocha, an Amazon spokesman, said in a statement. On Tuesday evening, the company said it had resolved the network problem and was working to fix any related system issues.

On Facebook and other online forums, workers shared hundreds of status updates. Some said managers had sent them on their lunch breaks an hour early, in the hopes that the problems would be resolved by the time they returned. Others said their managers asked them to sweep floors, or offered unpaid time off to people who wanted to leave early. Many said they were just waiting around.

“Some people playing cornhole up by the time clocks and some are chilling in the break room,” one employee in the Midwest wrote on Facebook.

Companies that rely on Amazon’s cloud computing experienced interruptions as well. Customers have reported problems with Roomba vacuum cleaners, Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant and Disney’s streaming service. Ticketmaster said it was delaying the presale of tickets for Adele’s tour.

About 6 p.m., Amazon’s cloud computing division said, “Many services have already recovered, however, we are working toward full recovery across services.”