Infrastructure // Cloud Infrastructure
News
12/23/2013
11:40 AM
Susan Fogarty
Susan Fogarty
Slideshows
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

Deadly Downtime: The Worst Network Outages Of 2013

When the network is down, nobody is happy. Take a lesson from these major outages in 2013 so we won't see them repeated in the new year.
Previous
1 of 9
Next

The more we rely on technology, the more devastating it is when there's a network or systems failure. And no matter how many redundancies and failovers service providers and private businesses build into their backup plans, it's amazing how one small blip in the wire can still bring everything to a screeching halt.

Sometimes it's just an annoyance. Imagine my husband's extreme irritation when, three-quarters of the way through the season finale of Sons of Anarchy, our television screen suddenly displayed "Attention: Your Explorer settop is NOT AUTHORIZED for use. Please call: (800) 266-22XX."

More serious outages cause business disruptions, which can result in reduced productivity, damage to reputation, breaches in security, and lost revenue. According to network services company MegaPath, the average cost of downtime equates to $212,200 per hour -- a figure that can skyrocket for web- and network-based businesses. In August, the Amazon.com website went down for a period of 30 to 40 minutes, costing the company between $3 and $4 million.

In worst-case scenarios, crippled networks can render emergency services and public safety communications systems useless. The countrywide outage of Canada's Rogers Wireless in October left millions of customers without access to 911, with city officials advising people to use neighbors' landlines or phones at nearby stores in case of an emergency.

No company is immune, no matter how sophisticated its technology. In 2013, some of the largest and most well-known technology companies in the world experienced downtime because of network failures. Companies such as Google, NASA, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, and others all reported outages stemming from some problem in the network.

Whether downtime is caused by a faulty piece of hardware, a software bug, a configuration error, or a denial-of-service attack, it causes the same response in customers, employees, users, and the IT professionals responsible for that network: Sheer panic.

So don't sit idly by and wait for the next time a problem brings your network to its knees. Take a gander at the top network outages of 2013. Learn what you can from these companies' misfortunes and try to avoid the same fate.

Photo by Marcelo Graciolli.

Previous
1 of 9
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
samicksha
50%
50%
samicksha,
User Rank: Strategist
12/26/2013 | 2:59:38 AM
Re: Plan B
@J_Brandt: I understand your point, but i guess this increase your total IT expense as keeping data local and in the cloud will ask for good money in hand.
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
12/26/2013 | 12:42:58 AM
Re: Nothing Compares to Life
Alison, 

". . . whenever 911 or hospitals systems go black, people can actually die. And that cannot be measured on a balance sheet."

True. Unfortunately, it seems like the first worry most people have is about how much companies have lost in a thirty-minute outage. 

An outage in a hospital without a good emergency backup system might be used as a wake up call after they lose some patients for this. Saving money in not having a proper emergency system can be costly in human lives. 

-Susan 
aditshar
50%
50%
aditshar,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/25/2013 | 5:24:28 AM
Re: Plan B
I guess the Dad of worst outage 2013 was Healthcare.gov, wherein It wasn't just a matter of a single downtime incident, it was a series of hard outages and an ongoing soft outage in which the site was barely functional.
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
12/24/2013 | 3:54:19 PM
Re: Plan B
So, Amazon lost $30-40 million from being down 30-40 minutes? That means every ten minutes, the company makes $10 million. Or, roughly $1 million per minute. Can you imagine the cost that would be incurred if the site went down during the holiday season?

I wonder how many IT pros are on call during this time of year for Amazon. 
moarsauce123
50%
50%
moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
12/24/2013 | 1:12:49 PM
No network, no cloud
These are only the bigger network outages, there is plenty of others. Having entire businesses rely on cloud services does not sound like that good of an idea. While cloud services have merit, we enjoy a badly maintained infrastructure that lags behind compared to the networks available in Europe while paying way more for service. Maybe priorities need shift from quarterly numbers to long term gain, but I doubt that will ever happen.
Alison Diana
50%
50%
Alison Diana,
User Rank: Moderator
12/24/2013 | 11:32:02 AM
Nothing Compares to Life
When emergency services go down, we really recognize how invaluable and critical our networks are. Money is, of course, important. In addition to its face value, jobs rest on dollars, yen, pounds, and euros. But whenever 911 or hospitals systems go black, people can actually die. And that cannot be measured on a balance sheet. 
Marilyn Cohodas
50%
50%
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Author
12/24/2013 | 10:29:48 AM
Re: Plan B
That redundancy makes a lot of sense to me! Thanks.
J_Brandt
50%
50%
J_Brandt,
User Rank: Ninja
12/24/2013 | 10:28:33 AM
Re: Plan B
A combination of those two - depending on the type of data.
Marilyn Cohodas
50%
50%
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Author
12/24/2013 | 10:24:41 AM
Re: Plan B
J-Brandt -- Is your Plan B a local data option as a redundancy to cloud storage. Or are you saying you prefer keeping all data local? 
J_Brandt
50%
50%
J_Brandt,
User Rank: Ninja
12/24/2013 | 10:10:36 AM
Plan B
This is why I like my Plan B – local data.  There are so many advantages to cloud solutions, but only if you can always get there.  From the office you have little issue, from mobile devices, you are influenced by location, load, weather, and where you are in the building.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
2014 Private Cloud Survey
2014 Private Cloud Survey
Respondents are on a roll: 53% brought their private clouds from concept to production in less than one year, and 60% ­extend their clouds across multiple datacenters. But expertise is scarce, with 51% saying acquiring skilled employees is a roadblock.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Government, May 2014
NIST's cyber-security framework gives critical-infrastructure operators a new tool to assess readiness. But will operators put this voluntary framework to work?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.