06-Mar-2011 21:39

Cheap calls & hassle-free surfing;Vodafone&Google

Vodafone and Google, two of the world’s biggest names and largest technology companies, both very recently suffered problems.

Vodafone's problems started in the early hours when a gang armed with sledgehammers smashed their way into Vodafone offices in Basingstoke, Hampshire.
Their raid resulted in 100,000’s of Vodafone customers losing voice and data services for almost 12 working hours.

Now a 12 hour outage may have been acceptable in 2000, but in 2011, the massive usage of Social Media platforms and forums spread the information fairly immediately and consumer outrage grew exponentially within minutes.

Vodafone simply did not move fast enough to restore mobile telecoms and texting services and in the new 24/7 world where Twitter thrives with rumours, innuendo and complaints, any company under threat, especially a company as large and important as Vodafone, needs to move really fast...

Google suffered perhaps an even greater problem and certainly triggered very many rather red faces.

Gmail users - about 0.02% of them according to Google - awoke after the weekend to find their inboxes totally empty and all email-data apparently lost.

A Google blog advised that it was caused by a software bug accidentally introduced by the company itself during an upgrade of its service.

Users have naturally asked how these problems could possibly happen. The Google blog-post wrote, "we have multiple copies of your data in multiple data centers?” Google added that in rare instances, software bugs can affect multiple copies of data.

And, many Vodafone customers also rightly asked, "Why & how could Vodafone's network be so vulnerable to a single incident at one location? Don’t the people who run giant data-centres remind us about the principle of redundancy - that if one link in the chain fails, it should not be possible to bring the network down, because there will be back-up systems."

Vodafone were asked these questions and replied, "We have robust plans for dealing with network issues and traffic management, but this incident involved the physical theft of equipment which is a very rare occurrence."

Hey Vodafone guys… a theft or a break-in or an outage may be a very rare occurrence, but you would nevertheless think that a business the size of Vodafone would have preparations and plans in place to deal with exactly such events.

Worryingly, we are being encouraged to put our data into "clouds" belonging to just a few giant businesses - Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook & now Sky - with the promise that our data will be ‘more’ private and even ‘more’ secure.

Can we really trust the ‘cloud’ technology?

Would you transfer all your company data in to the ‘Cloud’?

Consumers are already suspicious of those ‘cloud’ promises after a number of disturbing incidents & every time a bug or a few sledgehammers disrupt customer service and interrupts connection to the online world, I fear that trust in these ‘clouds’ will diminish just that little bit more.

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