The technology world has been shaken to its core, pun always intended, by a processor flaw that affects a number of CPUs. Luckily, the AWS cloud is mostly protected from this issue, Amazon has said.
There were fears that customers may have to face downtime and performance degradation as a result of these hardware faults. The bugs are known as Spectre and Meltdown, and were unearthed very recently.
Basically, issues in microprocessor design could potentially allow malicious code to read the content of a computer’s kernel memory. Intel processors are the ones that are mainly affected, but some ARM an AMD chips are also on the list.
Needless to say, this was something that can cause a lot of problem for cloud providers like Amazon, Google and Microsoft, not so much end users.
Luckily, Amazon was quick to confirm where things stood in a statement, revealing that the overwhelming majority of virtual machines running in is fleet were protected, with the rest getting updates within hours of that notice.
“This is a vulnerability that has existed for more than 20 years in modern processor architectures like Intel, AMD, and ARM across servers, desktops, and mobile devices. All but a small single-digit percentage of instances across the Amazon EC2 fleet are already protected. The remaining ones will be completed in the next several hours, with associated instance maintenance notifications.”
Basically, only a fraction of EC2 instances were under threat from these bugs, and the cloud giant was quick to fix the problem as soon as it was revealed.
That’s because cloud providers cryptically told users about required scheduled downtime late last year, as part of their efforts to deploy patches to counteract the bug. Going this quiet and gradual route meant that companies like AWS were well prepared before the official disclosure of the bugs.