Photo/IllutrationThe website of Amazon Web Services posts a notice about computer problems at its cloud computing platform on Aug. 23. (Captured from the Amazon Web Services website)

Thousands of companies, ranging from Internet retailers to game providers, found their services plunged into the dark Aug. 23 following an equipment failure at a Japanese data center of Amazon Web Services (AWS), a cloud computing platform with the largest market share of its kind in Japan.

AWS is a subsidiary of U.S.-based Amazon. An official for AWS said that glitches in the company's computer cooling system led to overheating of some equipment, which triggered the stoppage of some services. The cooling malfunction was resolved about five hours after problems were first observed around 1 p.m. and the remaining issues took another four hours or so to bring under control. Service was fully restored around 10 p.m.

The service suspension was the largest of its kind to affect AWS in Japan.

The problems centered on the cloud computing platform that allows companies to provide their services even though they themselves may not have their own independent computer system.

AWS is the largest cloud computing service provider in the world with data centers in many nations. Hundreds of thousands of companies in Japan have signed up with AWS, giving it a much larger share of the market than Microsoft Co.

The computer problems on Aug. 23 left many of those companies unable to operate online until the problems were resolved. Internet retailers, smartphone payment services and online games were some of the services that became temporarily unusable due to the AWS computer problems.

AWS officials said the problems occurred at one of the four data centers the company operates in the Kanto region. Two computer systems were affected, with one used mainly to provide a virtual computing service to clients while the other was used to store and manage data.