Until this summer, Fastly was a company known only in narrow circles – and this despite the capitalization of more than $ 6 billion. But on June 8, there was a massive disruption to the Internet. The sites of many media outlets, from CNN to the Financial Times, stopped working, social networks Twitter, Reddit, Twitch, Spotify and Github were interrupted. The culprit was found quickly: American cloud provider Fastly. One of his clients changed settings and, due to errors in the code, unexpectedly caused the entire service to crash.
Fastly operates a content delivery network (CDN). Simply put, it stores some of the most requested content from other sites at its facilities located closer to users. Thanks to it, you do not need to download content from the site from the other end of the earth, so that pages open faster. Also, its algorithms redirect traffic through free nodes, which again speeds up page loading for users and insures companies against DDoS attacks.
This glitchy story once again reminded us that the infrastructure critical to the operation of the worldwide web is concentrated in the hands of a fairly small circle of companies, in particular Amazon, Google, Cloudflare, Fastly.
Fastly is one of the so-called beneficiaries of the pandemic. Over the past year, quotations of its shares have grown almost 5 times – from about $ 21 to $ 87, and at the peak in October reached $ 126. But as the world began to bounce back, stocks began to fall in value. In early May of this year, the bottom was reached – just below $ 42. After that, the shares began to win back the fall, and then there was a failure. The malfunctions began at 12.47 Moscow time on June 8, at about 13.00 the company announced them and three hours later announced that it had fixed everything.
Investors were not scared away. After the news of the failure, the quotes fell uncritically (according to Forbes, by 6% – from $ 51.2 to $ 48.6). Stocks are now slightly more expensive than they were before the crash: $ 57.
Robots may have played a role. There was a wave of publications in the media mentioning Fastly and exchange algorithms could react and give a signal to buy, writes Forbes. Or maybe the company’s operational actions played a role, the Financial Times suggests. The company noticed the problems in a minute, after 19 minutes reported them on the site, and after about an hour, most sites returned to normal operation.