The “Cloud” has become the de facto method of delivering Internet services and apps. There are a small number of cloud providers around but the most popular have been Amazon and Google. Even Apple, which has its own cloud services, actually uses Google’s backend for some of those. While cloud computing has simplified the way software is delivered, the current state of business means that when one of the major cloud services goes down, it takes a lot of other services down with it as some users have found out this weekend.
The weekend started off normally enough until Internet users started reporting problems with a few of the world’s most popular Web sites and services. Specifically, Gmail and YouTube users were experiencing intermittent connections if they could even connect at all. Naturally, Google Cloud was discovered to be the cause.
According to Google’s G Suite Status Dashboard, the main cause of the issue was “high levels of network congestion in the eastern USA.” It didn’t go into detail but having localized the problem to a certain portion of the world is rather odd. It’s not like the USA suddenly got an influx of thousands of new Internet users connecting to those services all at the same time and for a prolonged duration. The services are now back up but the root cause remains unknown.
You might think that only Google’s own services would be affected by the outage but think again. Snapchat users have reported experiencing some forced downtime as well. Even Apple’s iMessage and iCloud services were disrupted because of it.
This incident could give Apple some motivation to reduce its reliance on external cloud providers, though it does use both Google and Amazon for that. And while it’s not exactly a damning case against this age of the cloud, it does serve a cautionary tale for putting everything into that cloud basket.