Blog Post

Living On The Edge With Web Services

OutageLast weekend, the blogosphere was abuzz with news about GrandCentral, a service we’ve covered before, experienced an outage.  For a few hours on Sunday morning, calls to GrandCentral were not getting relayed to their users and GrandCentral’s website was down as well.

This event should encourage all those of us who work on the web to build redundancy into your web-centric work life.  It’s no secret that our internet and web infrastructures are vulnerable to many threats whether they be man-made or occurrences of nature.  Taking simple measures can help ensure you stay productive and in contact should some part of your work infrastructure go down.

For enterprises, allowing people to work from alternate locations (including home) is conducive to disaster recovery.  In the case of this GrandCentral outage, users of this service should simply give all important contacts an alternate number to reach them in case of GrandCentral being unavailable.

Regarding the GrandCentral outage, I don’t understand what all the disappointment and agony was about regarding this otherwise very useful web service.  First of all, this “outage” was on a Sunday morning for a few hours.  Secondly, GrandCentral is a free service that gives its users unmatched value every day.  Finally, this is a beta service and if you print your GrandCentral number on your business cards and use it as the lifeline of your business, you should have been forewarned that hiccups in the service will occur.  Granted, GrandCentral was acquired by Google and therefore people have an expectation of uptime and reliability, but please don’t forget this is a ‘beta’ service and just like Gmail or Google Documents, outages can occur.

My suggestion: reflect on your daily working life and see where you can build in a back-up plan.  Whether it’s storing your information in an offsite backup service or having an alternate way of getting online should your DSL go out, your business will likely depend on your ability to recover from future unknown outages.

(photo credit: Flickr User edkohler)

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