These days we are constantly reminded (or at least when something goes wrong) about the importance of backing up your data, and while a flash drive isn’t seen as a long term storage option, the convenience of the two-inch rectangle is all too much the resist.
Now though, in 2013, we are drawn to the concept of saving and backing up all our information to the “cloud”, that magical place somewhere on the Internet where all our stuff is saved in midair and will always be safe and readily accessible.
Well this is normally true, but if you are Outlook.com, SkyDrive or just a general Microsoft cloud services subscriber, then the thought of 100 per cent security and accessibility was shattered last week.
It appears Microsoft had what they are calling at first a “small incident which only affected a small number of users”, but with amount of outrage expressed online we all knew it was much more than they were letting on.
In a statement released late on Wednesday (when the problem started) Microsoft said “Outlook.com experienced an incident that caused some users not to be able to access their account or share their SkyDrive files. We have restored web access for all users but some people might still see issues with their mobile devices. We are working to restore full mobile access as quickly as possible,” the company said.
For those of you who didn’t know, for some time now Microsoft has been working hard to more or less consolidate all of their email service into one neat package called Outlook.com, which although not being the smoothest, it does have the potential for a very effective system. With integration of SkyDrive to Windows 8, Office 2013 and Outlook.com you could work like you never left the office from practically anywhere.
After three days of hard work, they were finally able to resolve the problem and restore full service back to all of its subscribers. The final explanation for the outage was a simple domino effect caused by the failure of a caching service for Exchange ActiveSync. This started the ball rolling and after an overwhelming amount of reconnection attempts, the company’s servers just started to fail one by one.
The good news is though that after this incident, the tech giant is both upgrading its network capacity and implementing a more elegant error handling system. And for who are currently going on about Microsoft’s lack of infrastructure and policies, let’s not forget that even the almighty Google, experienced a major outage of its Google Drive earlier this year as well. Though it was much better contained and didn’t take three days to fix.
This just goes to show that the cloud services, although mostly reliable, can sometimes be very fragile, so having an extra external hard drive can’t hurt — because nothing is 100 per cent safe.