Update: Skype Slowly Recovers

Internet telephony service Skype said that it has restored service for up to 10 million users after being totally offline for much of yesterday. That’s a huge improvement, but a far cry from average total of 25 million daily users. Here’s a roundup of additional analysis of what happened and how it affected Skype users:

Update From Skype CEO Tony Bates: From GigaOm: “We have a fair idea as to what happened, but we are going to do a full postmortem,” said Bates. A handful of Windows clients failed and set-off a chain reaction that brought down Skype. “One of the biggest lessons from this is how we do communications in the future,” he said.

Understanding Today’s Skype Outage: Explaining Supernodes – Insight on the outage from Dan York at Disruptive Telephony, who has graphics that provide a visual guide to how Skype works: “My guess would be that there might also have been ‘cascading failures’ in this scenario. If there was, say, a software update affecting some supernodes, as those supernodes dropped offline, the increased load of Skype clients trying to connect to online supernodes might have caused some of them to then drop offline.”

Skype down is bad news for film business – The Film Industry Network site highlights one of the verticals where Skype has become an important tool: “In recent years the film industry has discovered the wonders of using Skype as project collaboration tool in the post-production process. Not only did Skype change the way people communicate using the web, but it has created a go-to tool that other companies have had difficulty to implement themselves. The ‘share-screen’ function allows users to see what each other are doing on their computers allowing virtual editing suites to exist as people from different countries such as graphic designers and film editors can collaborate.”

Skype outage continues to affect enterprise users – ZDNet looks at supernodes: “Some Skype users are classed as ‘supernodes’, or directory nodes — users who hold a record of the online presence of other users. Skype uses supernodes to route data and provide addressing details for individual Skype applications. If a Skype application wants to find out how to call another computer or phone it will sometimes turn to a supernode for the addressing information, according to Skype.”

Skype still staggering after major blackout – From The Register: “The VoIP outfit said that the glitch mainly affected consumers. Enterprise products including Skype Connect and Skype Manager worked more or less normally, with the caveat that users may have hit delays in signing in because of the same supernode snafu that blighted communications for consumer users of the technology.”

Worldwide Skype outage highlights dependence on VoIP – From the Christian Science Monitor: “While businesses use the service to connect departments, individuals have come to depend on it for free or very cheap long distance voice and video calls. Message boards were flooded Wednesday with distressed comments from Skype users. Some were trying to connect with family overseas at the holidays, while one lamented on a lost day of profits for a business which depended on Skype for sales calls.”

For additional background on the Skype outage, see Skype’s Massive Service Outage.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.