At a time when cloud-based services are being touted as the answer to everyone’s IT processing needs comes a series of big name disruptions. Last Friday Google had an unprecedented outage that only lasted two minutes but had the effect of killing off 40 percent of the world’s internet traffic in that short time.
But two minutes is a long time without Google for die-hards, and the mere fact that it went down, despite all the hype about its brilliantly engineered fault tolerant systems, is a real concern. It’s not just the search engine but the loss of access to all those Google products like Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive that many companies rely on that multiplied the gravity of the situation.
This follows the highly publicized downing of Microsoft’s services earlier in the week that also caused headaches for millions of users. That outage didn’t last minutes it went on for three whole days and kept some people from accessing their email, People app and SkyDrive cloud storage. Microsoft was also forced to apologize for an Outlook.com outage just a few months ago, in March.
Then on Friday Amazon.com crashed and was unavailable for all users for approximately 40 minutes, according to web experts Apica. No explanation has yet been given by Amazon.com for the unresponsiveness of the site. The initial 20 minutes were totally unresponsive. After that basic server 503 error appeared, so the incident was more likely due to a total outage on a network/datacenter level, rather than some smaller server/application problem.
Much lower on the scale of concerns (for most of us) was the hacking of Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg’s profile who had his profile page hacked by an IT security researcher after the social network ignored his warnings that a glitch in the site allowed anyone to post on a stranger’s wall.
Although there is no obvious connection between all these occurrences, it hasn’t stopped the conspiracy theorists from getting into the act. One declared that “with the three largest cloud software companies in the U.S. all having glitches in the same week, you’ve got to wonder if the NSA is updating its routers or something.”
And seemingly unrelated was a promotional email for the upcoming GigaOM Structure: Europe event that hit my mailbox declaring one of the panel discussion topics – “Will PRISM kill the cloud”!
Who could argue the possibility that some ulterior force was not behind all four events, however unlikely? Of greater concern is the effect that such highly publicized events have on the burgeoning cloud services industry. Just at a time when we are starting to see mass-market acceptance of all things cloud, this type of disruption is not doing the industry any favors.
First published as The Insider at TM Forum.