BlackBerry Outage Caused By Untested New Feature - InformationWeek

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4/20/2007
09:49 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
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BlackBerry Outage Caused By Untested New Feature

Research in Motion is saying that a new storage feature led to the complete breakdown of its wireless email service in the Western Hemisphere earlier this week. RIM also stated that security and scalability issues did not play a role in the ou

Research in Motion is saying that a new storage feature led to the complete breakdown of its wireless email service in the Western Hemisphere earlier this week. RIM also stated that security and scalability issues did not play a role in the outage. Sure, blame it on a new feature that users weren't even aware of.RIM's email system crashed Tuesday evening and service was not fully restored until midday Wednesday. The system failure left 8 million BlackBerry users unable to send or receive emails and even led to the break-up of this relationship. No businesses have come forward to speak of lost deals or ruined business relationships because executives weren't able to satisfy their email fix for 12 whole hours.

The statement issued by RIM late Thursday blamed the system failure on a brand new feature for storing emails that was not fully tested with their systems. The new feature was supposed to make temporary storage on the BlackBerry devices themselves more efficient. I'd have to say that crashing the system doesn't sound terribly efficient. RIM said that the new feature caused unanticipated problems and eventually cascaded into a "compounding series of interaction errors between the system's operational database and cache." Um, yeah, that sounds bad.

RIM took care to exonerate its security systems, hardware and software infrastructure, lest the business community lose faith in the revered enabler of email addiction.

I think we do have to give RIM a little bit of credit, though. Sure, the system may have crashed for a few hours, and the company was perhaps a little slow to alert users that the system was down. But on the whole, how many issues have there really been with RIM's service? When was the last time it crashed?

We'll just have to hope that RIM more thoroughly tests new features of the system before implementing them.

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