SAN JOSE (KCBS/AP) – Scores of websites and Internet services like Foursquare and Reddit are down or have limited availability because of problems at a data center run by

The problems reveal widespread reliance on Amazon Web Services, which rents out computers and data storage on a self-service basis over the Internet.

AWS is generally considered reliable because it uses vast numbers of computers, spread out in different data centers, making Thursday’s failure unusual.

Cloud computing has less built-in redundancy than general Internet service, said KCBS technology analyst Larry Magid, but bottleneck disruptions are still fairly uncommon.

“Despite today’s problems, Amazon has a very robust system. So it’s a tradeoff,” Magid said, adding that companies that rely on their own servers often face a greater risk of an outage.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

“Sometimes there are bottlenecks. There are points at which, if something goes wrong, no one can access it,” he said.

Amazon says the trouble started early in the morning at a data center in Northern Virginia. The company has not indicated how long it would take to resolve the problem.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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