A colleague of mine is lately very busy. His colleagues/partners and him are closing quite  a few deals with media companies and stores to launch brand new photo-sharing platforms. He is heading a team of Columbia Business School MBA graduates launching Olapic, a NYC-based start up. From him I learned some news that took place yesterday and, given that right now (4/22/2011, 4:34pm) the website is not running, seems to be still happening.

A major Amazon data center located in northern Virginia started having problems yesterday, causing multiple East Coast-based start-ups to have connection problems or to simply be offline. Among the affected companies there was the aforementioned Olapic, as well as Reddit and Foursquare.

The Associated Press covered the news:

Amazon.com struggled Friday morning to restore computers used by other major websites such as Reddit as an outage stretched beyond 24 hours.

The problems began at an Amazon data center near Dulles Airport outside Washington early Thursday. On Friday morning, Amazon’s status page said the recovery effort was making progress, but it couldn’t say when all affected computers would be restored.

Most of the sites that were brought down by the outage on Thursday were back up on Friday, but news-sharing site Reddit was still in “emergency read-only mode,” and smaller sites were still reporting trouble.

Location-sharing social network Foursquare and HootSuite, which lets users monitor Twitter and other social networks more easily, appeared to have recovered.

Many other companies that use Amazon Web Services, like Netflix Inc. and Zynga Inc., which runs Facebook games, were unscathed by the outage. Amazon has at least one other major U.S. data center that stayed up, in California.