Skype Still Down for Millions

 http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2374681,00.asp

What can happen if you cloud provider goes down like Skype?  What is your disaster recovery plan if your critical business services provider fails for 1 day, 1 week or even 1 month?  Can your business still survive?

 

Comments
chanpangchi's picture

Apart from Skype, what other major cloud services went down this

chanpangchi | | Permalink

Facebook suffers second outage in as many dayshttp://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2374681,00.asp

Twitter Outage

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37595084/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_...

LinkedIn Outage

http://erictric.com/2010/05/12/linkedin-goes-down-network-blamed/

I didn't bother to look further but I guess you understand my message.

If you don't have a disaster recovery plan or haven't reviewed existing one for a while, then please use this winter vacation to plan for it.

-- Regards,

chan_a@algconsultings.com

http://ca.linkedin.com/in/alginc

http://www.algconsultings.com/

garyturner's picture

Predictably...

garyturner | | Permalink

....I would say that business critical functions, by definition, should not depend upon free services. If your business can't afford to be without a free service in the event of it failing, then you can probably afford to pay for one.

 

daveforbes's picture

How cloudy is skype ?

daveforbes | | Permalink

Facebook yes, but is skype really cloud ?

If you download software on to your computer and that is where most of the CPU cycles tick, even if it is highly dependent on the existence of the net, is it cloud ?

Is outlook cloud ?

Is all tax software that transmits to the HMRC cloud ?

David Forbes

www.forbes.co.uk

petersaxton's picture

Proportionality

petersaxton | | Permalink

If most of the use of a program is over the internet I would say it is cloud.

If you submit something over the internet for a few seconds after using the program for an hour then it's not cloud.

In my opinion anyway.

No ... no ... no...

JC | | Permalink

@petersaxton - cloud depends on where the applcation runs and where the data resides

On your local machine is not cloud - it has nothing to do with proportionality

Why oh why does everyone try to put their own interpretation on this ??

petersaxton's picture

HMRC online services

petersaxton | | Permalink

So if you use HMRC online services then that is cloud?

That seems to be unavailable and inefficient quite a lot.

carnmores's picture

what are good alternatives to Skype

carnmores | | Permalink

?

Possible Explanation ....

JC | | Permalink

Here is a possible explanation of the Skype outage

http://www.disruptivetelephony.com/2010/12/understanding-todays-skype-outage-explaining-supernodes.html

Mind you the Skype business model is quite neat in the way that you could become a supernode (depending upon circumstances).  So your machine does the 'donkey work', potentially eats up your bandwidth and yet Skype gets all the revenues - ideal scenario really, others do the work and you get the money .. brilliant

 

daveforbes's picture

@carnmores

daveforbes | | Permalink

We have used microsoft netmeeting in the past, but I don't know if it is still available

garyturner's picture

Netmeeting

garyturner | | Permalink

....died a while ago. Commercial VoIP is either Cisco, Microsoft Lync Server (formerly Communications Server) or consumer MSN chat, GoogleTalk or iChat on Mac.

anthonymellor's picture

I think paid or unpaid, one just needs backup systems

anthonymellor | | Permalink

I constantly switch systems, in use concurrently, voip (two of outgooing, numerous incoming), skype video/voice/chat, webex on trial for video conferencing and desktop sharing (like it so far), and if I didn't have a backup application, I'd have one in place in minutes - what's key are of course data and telephone numbers in the above - whatever I can't buy instantly.

Skype is down? I hadn't noticed, which says it all really (given I am now an active skype user).

We used to talk about off-site backups, now we need to talk about ON-site backups, ones that we can make use of if the cloud fails, for any reason at all whether it be their technical matters or our broadband access.

that's my thruppence worth.

Anthony

 

 

carnmores's picture

thanks

carnmores | | Permalink

will look at others

chanpangchi's picture

Google Voice and many others

chanpangchi | | Permalink

Microsoft Lync Online, WebEx and many local providers.

-- Regards,

chan_a@algconsultings.com

http://ca.linkedin.com/in/alginc

http://www.algconsultings.com/

chanpangchi's picture

No matter it is free or fee based

chanpangchi | | Permalink

What should we do if one of our critical business services providers go down?

 

-- Regards,

chan_a@algconsultings.com

http://ca.linkedin.com/in/alginc

http://www.algconsultings.com/

garyturner's picture

The same as what happens...

garyturner | | Permalink

...when you have no electricity. I'm missing the materiality of this entire discussion. Road closures, power cuts, tube delays, bad weather - we live in an imperfect world.

If it's mission critical to your business, try to mitigate the risks by doing your research on vendors and what if scenarios before using any service, but from time to time stuff breaks.

Going nowhere ....

JC | | Permalink

@garyturner - agreed thread going nowhere

Feels as though @chanpangchi is trying to drive traffic to his site !

daveforbes's picture

backlinks

daveforbes | | Permalink

To avoid the accusation why not just stop putting the links in the bottom of all your postings.

anthonymellor's picture

stuff breaks is no excuse, clients don't have much sympathy for

anthonymellor | | Permalink

I grant there is a question around matters of degree, meaning for how long the system is broken and when fixed whether all data is still present.

and I (if I may crow for a moment) survived two burglaries that removed all my equipment (2nd being six weeks after the first), by having live, working, offsite backups brought immediately in to use - and this was in about 1993. Actually they were copies rather than backups.. if that makes a difference to anyone - practically "mirrors" in modern terminology.

Seems to me we should be able to do the same the other way around from the cloud, so a local mirror perhaps.

Whether the cloud is willing to facilitate/allow this might be different of course - which is where I think an issues resides.

Anthony

 

and if some one wants to drive traffic, try google adwords.. all in the cloud :-)

Two burglaries in the space of 6 weeks

chatman | | Permalink

Sounds like your internal controls (specifically physical control over assets) need reviewing. 

david_terrar's picture

Agree with JC and Gary Turner

david_terrar | | Permalink

This all smacks of @chanpangchi just making a noise. We don't need Cloud getting a bad name over this kind of miss-information. Skype's a great service that I use every day, but hardly mission critical with loads of alternatives (like a land line) available as backup.

Looking forward to more productive threads of substance in 2011.

David Terrar

chanpangchi's picture

Is Skype a cloud service?

chanpangchi | | Permalink

Hi Gary,

If you Google "Skype Cloud Computing", then you would find a lot of web links refer Skype as cloud services.  I just picked one for your reference.

http://www.cio.com/article/501814/Cloud_Computing_Definitions_and_Solutions

Skype also offer fee based service to business so it is not free.

http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/business/

There are disasters that we cannot do anything to avoid and mitigate the risk.  Should we ignore all other disaster?

Hi David Forbes,

Microsft Lync Online is an online collaboration service that I am using and it requires a download and I believe Cisco WebEx required one as well when I used it 2 years ago.  Do you consider them as cloud computing?  Both Microsoft and Cisco considered they were cloud computing.  You can double check from Microsoft and Cisco website.

Hi JC,

I don't have to store my phone number on my PC, Skype keeps the data somewhere (cloud?)  If they keep the data (phone number) on the cloud, do you reconsider it as cloud computing?

Hi Anthony,

I did very similar to what you suggested.  I put all my business document on the cloud and sync back to my desktop every night, then backup to a removable hard drive.

Hi David Terrar,

Do you know how quick to switch Skype phone number back to a land line in UK?  During the time of transition, what should we do?  It may be very simple if we plan ahead.

YES, I wanted to create NOISE to make sure everyone understand cloud computing (free or fee based) can fail just like other critical business services.  Here are a few more example:

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2009/oct09/10-15sidekick.mspx

http://quickbase.intuit.com/blog/2010/06/17/a-letter-to-our-customers-from-brad-smith/

I love cloud computing and I encourage all my clients to move to cloud.  Thanks to online storage, when my computer failed recently, I just switched to another computer and I can continue my works in minutes.  I admitted I lost about 30 minutes of programming works but that is all.

However, "Head in the cloud, Feet on the ground", this is why I make the noise!

-- Regards, 

Andrew Chan

Happy 2011!

daveforbes's picture

definitions

daveforbes | | Permalink

Here are a few alternatives definitions of cloud software

1. software provides all the functions of a sophisticated traditional application, but through a Web browser, not a locally-installed application.

2. software that depends on the interent

3. software that uses the internet

4. software that uses the word "cloud" in sales material

The first and strongest comes from your first referenced article.  I like that web is has a capital 'W' ! . Despite the article going on to quote skype as an example of definition 1, I believe this incorrect as it is not browser based and does require to install software locally (skype.exe c. 13Mb). It would be clould by definitions 2 - 4.

carnmores's picture

we are generating a lot of heat some light

carnmores | | Permalink

and little sound !

guyletts's picture

Define by benefits rather than technology?

guyletts | | Permalink

Sometimes it's helpful to define these things by the benefits they deliver to a business rather than the intricacies of the underlying technology.  For example:

  • access from anywhere (allows remote & distributed working, assuming Internet access)
  • access from any device (flexibility and resilience)
  • zero deployment effort & cost (implies no client install)
  • lower IT admin costs: vendor takes care of housekeeping, backups, upgrades
  • simple disaster recovery: vendor takes care of redundant infrastructure
  • scalable (so cost is proportional to usage, and the system can accommodate organic & acquisition growth)

Not an exhaustive list, but it gives an alternative view of what we call Cloud - and surely Cloud is attractive in a given situation because of its benefits not because of its technology.  Defining by benefits also withstands a degree of technological evolution (for instance browers may be superseded by new operating systems, so I wouldn't tie the definition to being browser-based).

Means of transport ...

JC | | Permalink

Interesting logic

  • I am a means of transport
  • I have room for a passenger
  • I have 4 points of propulsion in touch with the road
  • My power output can ne measures in horsepower
  • I need fuel to keep me going
  • I produce emissions
  • I can be steered

I am actually a horse but but does that mean I can also be classed as a car?

 

david_terrar's picture

Still unsure about this thread but....

david_terrar | | Permalink

Andrew Chan,
Good to hear your motto.  Still unsure about how helpful discussing skype's outage is in the context of the business systems we usually discuss here,

daveforbes and guyletts,
A few years back I would have argued pure SaaS/Cloud must be browser based.  Now, though, I've seen too many good Cloud solutions implemented with a java client on Windows or a mobile app on an iPad/iPhone which are still good solutions, like WebEx or GoToMeeting or Newbase.  The user interface doesn't have to be browser only, but the deployment should be straightforward, quick and available from anywhere.  We need to get used to this style of Cloud app UI as the iPad, android, WebOS and the Playbook start to become regular access devices for Cloud services over the next few years.

JC,
Chuckle... makes me thing of correlation vs causation discussions I've been listening to on Twitter this week.

David Terrar

guyletts's picture

Clarification - Cloud has value only because it delivers benefi

guyletts | | Permalink

Sorry if I didn't explain clearly enough.  My point is that a lot of time can be wasted on pedantic and often sterile debates about technological definitions.  If we focus on a set of desirable business benefits as the test of what we're looking for, then it matters less what is the exact nature of the underlying technology.  Defining Cloud in overly precise technical criteria strikes me as having rather limited value since surely what we seek is the favourable outcomes over the means by which they are delivered. 

If we must define it, and there probably is a benefit in summing up those qualities with a useful handle, then I'm suggesting that a black box test can sometimes complement a white box test.  The choice of benefits is important though, otherwise I'm sure the sharp minds that this thread attracts could quickly categorise a horse or a car as Cloud too.

daveforbes's picture

@david terrar

daveforbes | | Permalink

If you relax your definition from "nothing to install" to "easy to install" and remove the need for running in a browser, I can wholeheartedly agree with the prediction that within a few years everything will be cloud !

 

garyturner's picture

Suggestion

garyturner | | Permalink

This forum should have some sticky posts which cover off the recurring themes of defining the cloud, it's benefits and any other helpful themes. These sticky posts should be moderated and authoritative and permanently visible at the top of the message list.

Otherwise they will constantly leak into every post, negating the value of the forum and it's ability to inform and help newcomers.

guyletts's picture

Seconded

guyletts | | Permalink

Good point, Gary. 

david_terrar's picture

Amen to that

david_terrar | | Permalink

Agree with Gary too.... and add that in to the discussion group explanation up front.

David Terrar

garyturner's picture

Browser

garyturner | | Permalink

Dave, our current collective understanding the browser is at an interesting stage. It started as an app for viewing HTML, now hosts apps inside it and soon Google's new Chrome OS (not the browser Chrome) is in effect a self contained operating system inside a permanently web connected browser construct, there is no concept of offline apps.

Our notions of what is an OS, what is an app and what is a browser are rooted in the now ageing pre browser (pre-web for that matter) Windows desktop paradigm. Whether something runs inside a browser or not in several years appears to be fast becoming a moot point.

daveforbes's picture

@gary re google chrome o/s

daveforbes | | Permalink

I am familiar with chrome os

From my experience Google chrome os is essentially google chrome browser running (full screen) and with enough of the (linux) operating system included so that it does not require any further o/s such as windows or unix. If my app runs entirely within the browser it should not matter whether that browser is safari, explorer or chrome running on top of OS/X, windows, linux or chrome o/s.

If people want have a go with chrome os - you can download it from http://getchrome.eu/download.php and save it onto a CD and boot your PC from it (without windows !).

It is not an entirely new idea - http://users.rcn.com/crfriend/museum/machines/IBM-X130.html !

If you don't like the term browser you could always call it a "cloud terminal" instead. 

Maybe the definition of a piece of software being "clould" is if and only if you can use it from a computer running only chrome os.

chanpangchi's picture

Define by examples

chanpangchi | | Permalink

 

I like to share my cloud experience and hope some of the examples can illustrate what cloud computing really is.

Exchange Online

When I check my email from my iPad browser, I guess no one would argue if Exchange Online is a cloud computing or not.  It is a cloud application.  But what happen when I check email from my Outlook 2010?  Is Exchange Online still a cloud application?

SharePoint Online

If my clients use Office Web Apps to open a document that is stored on my SharePoint Online library, again everyone would agree it is a cloud application.  But when I use Excel / Word / PowerPoint to save documents to my SharePoint Online library, is SharePoint Online a cloud application?

TV / Movie / Music

If I watch TV series / movie on my iPad browser, a lot of people would agree it is cloud application but what about Apple TV?  Or When I steam movie to my Xbox from Netflix?  How about when I use my iPhone to steam music from my local phone provider?

Newspaper / Magazine

I subscribed to a lot of newspaper and magazine and I can read from my browser as well as Windows Client / Mobile Apps which provides extra features.  Same argument!  Should we only consider them as cloud applications when we use internet browser?

Database

Has anyone used SQL Azure?  It is a cloud database service offered by Microsoft.  Recently, my client said his 8 years old SQL server has a lot of problems but he can’t afford to replace it with new hardware / software.  I suggest him to migrate it to SQL Azure but he didn’t have the need / budget to migrate the associated desktop application to web application.  So all I did was to help him to migrate his data to SQL Azure and changed his database connection to the new location, i.e. on the cloud.  Is this a cloud application?

Market Data System

How about Reuters, Bloomberg and other market data services provider?  They need heavy clients and sometime even special hardware but massive data is coming via internet.

I can go on and on but the reality is a lot of cloud applications can be accessed from browser as well as Windows client / Mobile Apps or even game console.  I can order pizza from my PS3, is this cloud application?

 

What is your definition of cloud computing?

-- Regards, 

Andrew Chan.

chanpangchi's picture

What is miss-information?

chanpangchi | | Permalink

If WebEx and GoToMeeting are considered to be good cloud solution, then Skype is also a cloud application.  I don’t understand why the outage of a cloud application that failed millions of its users is a miss-information on a cloud computing discussion forum.

Did I try to put a bad name on cloud?  That was not my intent!  Cloud is great; especially for SMB.  It provides enterprise grade software to SMB in a cost effective manner.  And I would also say it is more secure and reliable than most SMB can achieve in their office.

How many SMB can meet just one of the following security standards:

  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001
  • Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) 70 Type I and Type II
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • Title 21 CFR Part 11 of the Code of Federal Regulations
  • Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2
  • Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) compliance

But more secure / reliable do not mean it would not fail us.  Google Apps / Gmail had more than half a dozen major outage in a single year and Microsoft lost its Sidekick service for over a week.

My message was very simple.  “What can happen if you cloud provider goes down like Skype?  What is your disaster recovery plan if your critical business services provider fails for 1 day, 1 week or even 1 month?  Can your business still survive?”  Be prepared!

As a professional IT consultant, I always disclose the pros and cons to my clients!  It is not ethical if I just tell them the good side of the solution!

Head in the cloud, Feet on the ground!

Wish everyone has a disaster recovery plan / business continuity plan in 2011!

-- Regards,

Andrew Chan.

chan_a@algconsultings.com 

daveforbes's picture

what is skype ?

daveforbes | | Permalink

1) Once a connection is established, if I am chatting to you using skype, a program that I have downloaded and installed on my PC is converting audio into ip packets and transmitting them over a network (local or internet) to a similar program downloaded and running on your PC. It is a point to point connection between two programs downloaded and running on 2 PCs.

2)  On top of this (and the bit that went wrong) is not everyone has a fixed ip address and they are not particularly easy to remember so skype includes a directory service (a bit like the phone book or yellow pages but constantly updating due to dynamic socket addresses). This information is distributed redundantly over the participating computers (i.e. yours and mine unless firewalls prevent it) as a peer to peer network. Each participating computer has an (overlapping) bit of this big database. There are no servers involved just people with skype installed on their computers.

daveforbes's picture

yes - a bug

daveforbes | | Permalink

Yes a bug, a bug in the skype software downloaded onto peoples PCs that caused 2) above to stop working.

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