DropBox Restores Service, Mum On Outage Cause

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

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

January 11, 2013

2 Min Read

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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.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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