Oct 12 2011

Lessons learned from RIM failure in Europe

Published by at 7:16 pm under AHLTA,Networked theory of goodness

RIM Blackberry service crashed in Europe and around the world this week:  Global BlackBerry Outages Due To European Backup Failure, supposedly due to the failure of a central switch.

This is a great lesson to be learned in network design.  The Internet was designed NOT to have a single point of failure.  Each packet is routed independently.  If there is a failure, the network automatically “routes around the damage.”  If you are sending information from San Diego to New York, and Dallas goes now, the packet might just go through Chicago (or around the world the other way).

RIM’s network, on the other hand, was completely dependent on a single switch, apparently with a backup switch.  One failed, and then the other, then the whole network crashed.  This might have seemed to be cheaper, but it certainly wasn’t resilient.

Lesson learned: design networks to be resilient and adaptive, not brittle and based on single point of failures.

My first reaction to seeing the disastrous AHLTA system architecture was that DoD was creating a giant single point of failure.



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