From Sidekick to Gmail: A short history of cloud computing outages

A look at the cloud after recent high profile outages

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 fails…again:  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 down…and 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.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Salesforce.comMicrosoftcloud computing

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Network World staff

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?