The popular cloud computing network experienced an outage on June 2 that affected several Google-powered systems. While the issue was resolved, engineers said it took longer than expected to resolve the problem. The outage serves as a red flag to individuals and businesses alike that the cloud is not always reliable and to have more than one backup system.
Configuration Led to Congestion
The VP of engineering at Google explained that the issues began when a configuration change for a few groups of servers in a single region was mistakenly applied to a larger number of servers across many neighboring regions. The affected areas were then prevented from using over half of their available network capacity. Several services were affected including:
The impact of the error was more severe for programs with higher bandwidth while those with lower bandwidth only experienced a brief delay in operation. The regions that were attempting to access the services with limited capacity caused congestion within the network. While only one percent of active Gmail users had problems with their accounts, Google’s VP said that it still equals millions of users who could not access their email.
Responding to the Issues at Hand
The engineers were able to detect the issue in mere seconds, but the resolution took longer than the few minutes for which they were planning. The overall correction took almost four hours due to the service degradation that engineers had to work through.
The cloud services offered updates through their website saying, “We are experiencing high levels of network congestion in the eastern USA, affecting multiple services in Google Cloud, G Suite, and YouTube. Users may see slow performance or intermittent errors. We believe we have identified the root cause of the congestion and expect to return to normal service shortly.”
The company promised to give a detailed report of the incident after a thorough internal investigation. While the cloud is considered the king of backup software, the outage exposed its vulnerability.
An Umbrella Option in the Thunderstorm of Clouds
An executive at Uptime Institute claimed that the complex ways cloud-systems redirect traffic to avoid a failure or power outages result in the risk of a decrease in proper performance. According to an Uptime study, network failures are the second-leading cause of data entry failure.
To further the fear of using cloud storage, 75% of respondents in that same study said they are not putting their most critical applications into a public cloud because of the lack of transparency and accountability.
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