The BlackBerry Crash: What Really Happened? - InformationWeek

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Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman

The BlackBerry Crash: What Really Happened?

What really happened last week when RIM's BlackBerry e-mail service went down? Daniel Taylor over at the Mobile Enterprise Blog has some suggestions.

What really happened last week when RIM's BlackBerry e-mail service went down? Daniel Taylor over at the Mobile Enterprise Blog has some suggestions.Last week RIM claimed the outage was caused by a new, untested feature. Taylor's readers, however, claim that the outage may have been caused by some rogue IT manager or a novice kid experimenting with features he or she didn't understand:

The rogue IT manager hypothesis is as likely as any other. My only caution is that it's easy to jump to one hypothesis while ruling out others. For example, could the outage have been caused by a security breech? Could it have been a larger architectural issue? Could it be with user provisioning? Could it be American Idol?

The point is that we just don't know what actually happened. And in light of RIM's [lack of] public response, it's reasonable to surmise that RIM's top management fears that this outage is the tip of the iceberg.

Why? If this outage was actually caused by a rogue, "cowboy" IT manager, then that person should have already been terminated and raised in effigy in front of RIM's corporate HQ. There's your public statement in a nutshell: we made a mistake, sorry for the inconvenience.

In short, RIM never really told us what happened or why it happened -- and it took a long time to tell us nothing. This lack of response should give everyone in enterprise IT some cause for concern.

Going further, since no one outside of RIM seems to know what really happened, how can anyone be assured that such an outage will not repeat itself? Or that the next outage will not be worse? Usually, when service providers suffer outages they are forced to explain not only what caused the outage, but how they plan to prevent future problems. So far, RIM has received little pushback from the IT community, the blogosphere, or the press at large.

What do you think? Is Taylor right? Did RIM not disclose the real reason for the outage? And regardless, should we expect more outages in the future?

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