When Akamai goes down, it takes the Internet with it

Updated. Major Internet sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Apple.com, (s AAPL) Best Buy.com (s BBY) and Buy.com saw an outage this afternoon, as content delivery network Akamai (s AKAM) faced DNS-related issues. For about an hour Monday, those issues slowed down some Akamai sites, while keeping users from accessing others altogether.

The issues, which sidelined customer sites from about 11:45 am PDT/2:45 pm EDT to 1:00 pm PDT/4:00 pm EDT, were widely reported on Twitter. Akamai confirmed that it was an issue related to DNS servers not being able to be resolved that was causing customer outages.

While Akamai is widely known as the 800-pound gorilla in the content delivery space, the outage shows the trouble that comes with a single-CDN strategy. That’s something that companies like 3Crowd and Conviva try to warn against. Those companies make it easier to either manage multiple CDNs or to allow publishers to roll their own.

Here’s a few graphs showing how the issues affected some of Akamai’s biggest clients, thanks to web monitoring firm Catchpoint:

Update: A spokesperson from Akamai writes: “Our data shows that it was approximately 0.3 percent of normal daily Akamai traffic that was not served as a result of this incident. Our customer’s sites we’re impacted for less than 30 minutes.” [Ed. note: email reprinted verbatim]