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DropBox Restores Service, Mum On Outage Cause

DropBox client synching and upload services disappeared mid-Thursday afternoon, came back Friday morning.

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DropBox announced Friday morning that it had fixed problems in its ability to serve clients storing images and files in their DropBox accounts, after a 15.5 hour outage.

At 7:09 a.m. Pacific, the team working on restoring the service tweeted, "Thanks all for your patience. We're happy to let you know that all issues have now been fixed!" at @DropBoxOps. The ability to upload or synch files had been out since 3:30 p.m. Pacific Thursday.

DropBox first acknowledged the problem in a tweet at 3:26 p.m. Thursday, saying, "Client Syncing, and Uploading via the website, will be affected for approximately the next hour. Thank you for your patience." The next hour turned into a long one for many DropBox users.

[ Want to learn more about how to use DropBox? See 8 Smart Ways To Use DropBox. ]

They were quick to post their complaints at @DropBoxOps and a newly created hash tag, #DropBoxDown.

"Dropbox is down. Users are wailing. Can't trust cloud 100%," posted Avadiax at 4:30 p.m. Pacific.

"I'm in a full flop sweat now that @Dropbox is down. Tried syncing lecture readings for the past half hour," said Michael Cohen at 6:26 p.m. Pacific.

A follow-up tweet from the beleaguered DropBox team stated: "Our engineers are still working on the issue. Your data is safe, syncing/ uploading from the webpage/desktop application are affected."

Customers weren't sure whether the loss of service was due to DropBox client services being out or an outage at Amazon Web Services Simple Storage Service. DropBox excrypts and stores customers' files on more than one location on S3, which ensures recoverability. It also gives users the ability to generate a link that shares a file with someone they designate, and synchronizes their DropBox files with a set somewhere else.

A query to DropBox on which set of systems, DropBox's or Amazon's, was the problem went unanswered. Amazon's most recent service outage affected its Elastic Load Balancing service on Dec. 24. But from all appearances, it was a DropBox issue. DropBox itself remained up and running. The initial DropBox tweet seemed to refer to a temporary problem or maintenance issue that grew into an outage far beyond the planned one hour. No other services on S3 complained of a loss of service.

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User Rank: Ninja
1/17/2013 | 9:17:25 AM
re: DropBox Restores Service, Mum On Outage Cause
Welcome to the cloud, the technology all businesses will bank on....ooops!
User Rank: Apprentice
1/21/2013 | 6:46:49 PM
re: DropBox Restores Service, Mum On Outage Cause
I did not even notice that the service was out for a period of time on Thursday. I on the other hand did not use Dropbox for any of my projects that day, or I would highly be upset. This is just one of the issues that you must take into consideration when selecting to use the cloud for all your services and to store your documents. If an occurrences can occur with a large company such as Dropbox then it can occur with any company. You as the individual must decide if the rick of loosing a days worth of work because you cannot access your files, into a make or break for you business. All in all this has taught a lesson, have backup of the backup plan!

Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor
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