[LINK] 'A short history of cloud computing outages'

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Wed Oct 14 15:20:03 AEDT 2009

Some day I'll find time to do my homework on the (appropriately 
named) concept of 'cloud computing' - thin, wispy, tends to disappear 
into thin air as soon as you look the other way, or builds up into a 
storm, then drenches you, and terrifies the dogs and cats with 
thunder and lightning.

>A short history of cloud computing outages

[Oh come on, subbie, 'cloudbursts' surely!!]

>Can you really trust your data to distant servers? Here's a recap of 
>recent mishaps.
>by Network World Staff, Network World

Editor's Note: The following article is reprinted from Network World.

This past week's Microsoft-T-Mobile-Sidekick data loss mess is the 
latest in a string of high profile cloud computing outages that have 
grabbed headlines over the past couple of years. Inevitably, the 
coverage of the initial outage (as well as cloud security breaches) 
is followed by explanations of why the outage happened (human error, 
network equipment, hackers, etc.) and analysis stories pointing out 
the pitfalls of putting your faith in the cloud.

Here's a short history of cloud computing SNAFUs:

Microsoft Danger outage

Contacts, calendar entries, photographs and other personal 
information of T-Mobile Sidekick users looks to be lost for good 
following a service disruption at Sidekick provider Danger, a 
Microsoft subsidiary. The amount of data and number of users affected 
wasn't disclosed by Microsoft or T-Mobile, but Sidekick support 
forums were buzzing with pleas from users looking for tips on how to 
restore their devices or get their data back.

Google Gmail failsŠagain

When Google's Gmail faltered on Sept. 24, it wasn't down for more 
than a couple of hours, but it was the second outage during the month 
and the latest in a disturbing string of outages for Google's 
cloud-based offerings, including Google search, Google News and 
Google Apps over the past 18 months. Various explanations have been 
served up by the vendor, from routing errors to server maintenance 
issues. Some have come to Google's defense, saying that even though 
the company has had its share of outages, we are talking about mainly 
free services (you get what you pay for, in other words).

Twitter goes downŠand yes, that's news

While Twitter had been keeping its Fail Whale in hiding more often 
than not, a big Twitter outage that lasted throughout the morning and 
into early afternoon in early August had social networking types 
fuming. A denial-of-service attack was blamed for the problem.

eBay's PayPal crashes

The PayPal online payments system failed a couple of times in August, 
leaving millions of customers unable to complete transactions. A 
network hardware issue was fingered as the culprit for the outage, 
which lasted for between 1 and 4.5 hours, depending on how you look 
at it. It cost PayPal millions of dollars in lost business; it's 
unclear how much it cost merchants.

Rackspace pays up

Rackspace was forced to pay out between $2.5 million and $3.5 million 
in service credits to customers in the wake of a power outage that 
hit its Dallas data center in late June. Rackspace, which offers a 
variety of hosting and cloud services for enterprise customers, 
suffered power generator failures on June 29 that caused customer 
servers to go down for part of the day. More disruptions followed and 
Rackspace kept customers up to date via its blog.

Windows Azure test release goes down

Early adopters of Microsoft's cloud-computing network Windows Azure 
suffered an overnight outage over a weekend in mid-March during which 
their applications being hosted on the network weren't available. 
This was only a test release of Azure, so observers noted that this 
obviously wasn't as big a deal as a production service outage. 
Separately, Microsoft also suffered a Hotmail messaging system outage 
in March.

Salesforce.com kicks off the Year of the Cloud Outage

As CIO.com's Thomas Wailgum reported in January, Salesforce.com 
suffered a service disruption for about an hour on Jan. 6 due to a 
core network device failing because of memory allocation errors.

Amazon S3 storage service knocked out

We actually have to go back to summer of 2008 to find coverage of the 
last major Amazon S3 cloud network outage, which lasted for 7 to 8 
hours and followed another outage earlier last year caused by too 
many authentication requests.

IDG News Service contributed to this story.

Someone added:
MobileMe's embarrassingly awful launch in July 2008

Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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