Butterfly Effect: Lightning in Dublin Ireland Brings Down Amazon Servers Knocking Out Layar AR Service

Layar was the app (first available for Android) that brought the concept of its version of Augmented Reality (AR) to the general public. It present textual and graphical information related to the world around you laid over a camera view of the world. Layar provides numerous layers of overlay information for their app produced by the company itself as well as third party developers. These layers of content include information about places to eat, who is tweeting around you and informaton from Wikipedia. Like many of today’s mobile apps, this information is provided on an as-needed basis that requires a wireless data connection to a server source. We tend to think of this connected sources as always available and spread throughout the world. But, the reality is that these resources are often in a single location and subject to single source catastrophic failure.

Layar’s CTO learned that services for their app went offline when both Microsoft’s and Amazon’s cloud data centers in Dublin Ireland took a lightning strike which knocked out services for numerous companies. Layar’s service are provided by Amazon. Dirk provided a pair of blog updates that indicates service was down for well over 8 hours. You can see what Layar on my iPhone looked like during the service outage in the screenshot above. Although the app itself launched it was unable to get any data from Layar’s services and reported that no information about the area was available.

Layar down due to Amazon problems (Layar Blog)

Lightning in Dublin Knocks Amazon, Microsoft Data Centers Offline (Data Center Knowledge)

Layar Reality Browser (iTunes App Store)