What happens when the services fail us

So as we careen into the informational age, it has always been a concern that we would become too dependant on the technology as a crutch. Well, crutch it is, and we’re leaning on it with all of our weight.

This hasn’t been made so apparent until recently. The biggest offenders include the ailing MobileMe upgrade Apple made for .Mac that promised so much. A service that is touted to be the end all connector between PC, Mac, and iPhone has been plagued with downages and deleted data from it’s online storage service. This is paired with Amazon’s S3 service, an online storage that was highly recommended on one of the TWIT casts just weeks prior to a major downage that knocked out parts of several other sites that depended on it, such as Twitter, for instance.

But just in this last week, we have had one or two minor downages of Gmail. A service many depend on for work. I, for instance, was in the process of relaying some motion title work when it went down. Effectively stopping that process. It was only a little bit, but you realize how much you do depend on Google, who has had a good track record, to get by everyday.

Now, another service I pride on being a part of, Netflix, is experiencing a system wide problem, halting DVD shipments from all of its’ shipping centers. A service that has seemed to run like clockwork for the year plus that I have subscribed.

In both Gmail and Netflix’s cases, they have been very upfront with the problem, giving a relatively (within reason) explanation as to why things happened, and assurances that the engineers are on it.

And more recently, and affecting me, we have had major problems with Windows Small Business Server that continue to frustrate our “IT guy”, who does a lot of amazing work keeping things glued together. But it has been a long exercise in frustration for all.

So basically, shit happens in the tech realm. And we just have to hope it’s not on an upper level that halts the services that so many are dependent on. But each of these instances brings to mind one question: “What’s the backup plan when these fail?”

Twitter’s not the only one with a “Fail Whale” anymore.

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