What Skype’s outage reminds us of…

What we're reading...
With Skype down last week, we rediscovered the joys of video iChat. Here we are sharing our reads…

The reason why Skype went down was funny but serious at the same time…

“The disruption was triggered by a massive restart of our users’ computers across the globe within a very short timeframe as they rebooted after receiving a routine set of patches through Windows Update,” Skype indicated on its blog.

So a timely Windows Update took out the network?
As highlighted by Ars Technica from Skype’s blog, “Normally Skype’s peer-to-peer network has an inbuilt ability to self-heal, however, this event revealed a previously unseen software bug within the network resource allocation algorithm which prevented the self-healing function from working quickly.”

Yup, we’re still vulnerable…
Just as we’ve discover how vulnerable the global Internet is (remember Taiwan’s earthquake disrupting Singapore’s connectivity?), here’s an instance of a Peer-to-Peer network falling apart when it theoretically shouldn’t.

If you’ve trouble visualizing this, a chat with Su Yuen makes it easy:
Su Yuen: Its like how in the Atlanta olympics…
Su Yuen: Everyone flushed the toilet simultaneously, causing the piping system to burst and leak
Kevin: That is an interesting analogy
Kevin: do you have the link source for that? URL?
Su Yuen: No, I heard it on the Sydney Olympic park tour
Su Yuen: The tour guide told us about it
Su Yuen: and that’s why he said for the Sydney Olympics, they had everyone flush simultaneously a few times to ensure the piping system would be able to manage it.

When the net goes down…
While Facebook might go down for a day, affecting the moods of (mostly) students everywhere, Skype’s outage would have not only amounted to lost business relations (benefiting some), but possibly long distance couples everywhere feeling the blues of being “unavailable”.

P.S. That’s where Gizmo Project, pfingo, Googletalk, and iChat all come in…

One thought on “What Skype’s outage reminds us of…

  1. Haha…. interesting analogy there by Su Yuen. Metaphors, even bathroom oriented ones, always enliven any description of hard to explain phenomena.

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