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Skype: Two Nines of Reliability

Skype looks like it’s back this morning.  At least, we’re logged in here in Ottawa, although I don’t see anyone else logged in that I know.    The various explanations making the rounds this morning are interesting — everything ranging from a denial of service attack to the official Skype explanation (“it’s a bug”… how illuminating).

What conclusions can we draw from this?

  • The much vaunted peer-to-peer architecture really isn’t that peer, nor that secure.  Something has taken down the entire Skype network, and it seems to have been triggered by a software update to a login server controlled by Skype.
  • Five nines uptime matters.  Anyone who moved their landlines to Skype for business purposes got a nasty awakening yesterday.  Five nines reliability is less than five minutes of downtime per year.  What we all experienced yesterday was a little better than two nines — a twenty four hour outage.
  • Building quality software is harder than it looks.  The kids in Redmond take a lot of abuse for the quality of Windows, the number of patches they put out, and the lengthy periods of time between upgrades. Never have we seen every Windows PC stop operating globally for a twenty four hour period. 

Over and out.

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Martin Dufort August 17, 2007, 4:52 am

    I would argue that in the world of PCs, 2-nines is the Windows-based platform and 5-nines would go to the OSX platform.

    Here comes the flood – L8er – Martin

  • Joseph August 17, 2007, 9:22 am

    Bad comparison to Microsoft Windows. Windows is software, Skype is a service.

    And Windows is full of bugs that crash it very frequently.

  • Alec August 17, 2007, 6:29 pm

    of course, joseph, all services are built from software and Skype markets itself as peer to peer software… not a service.

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