RIM: We May Boost Infrastructure for Blackberry

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It’s been a brutal week for users of Blackberry mobile devices, which were hit by several days of outages affecting five contents. Blackberry maker Research in Motion attributed the downtime to a failure in a core switch, and Thursday that its systems were recovering. How could a switch failure have cascaded into such a prolonged outage? Here’s a roundup of notable stories that examine how the outage may have happened, and why it took RIM’s network so long to recover:

  • BlackBerry-maker to look at setting up regional data centres – Speaking to Indian media via tele-conference, Mr Patrick Spence, Senior Vice-President and Managing Director, Global Sales & Regional Marketing, RIM, said, “Our immediate focus is on getting back the services to where we would like it to be. We will leave no stone unturned to make sure that this does not repeat. All options, including setting up network architecture with regional hubs, are on the table. If that makes sense, we will do it.” From the Hindu Business Line.
  • BlackBerry blackout: how it happened – From the Telegraph: “RIM’s investigation revealed the apparent cause of the outage to be a failed Cisco switch in its core network. Switches are basic components of Internet Protocol networks. They are specialised computers that direct communications within networks; in this case the emails, web browsing and instant messages of millions BlackBerry Internet Service users. On day three of the crisis, RIM publicly admitted it had suffered a “core switch failure”. If everything had worked to plan, the failure would not have mattered. A backup system also failed, however, for reasons that remain obscure and will surely be among the top priorities of RIM’s own post-mortem investigation.
  • RIM: No Network Changes Were Made – All ThingsD provided a liveblog of a call with RIM executives, who addressed a key question: “No recent changes were made. The system is provided by multiple vendors, and until the company has the root cause, it is not identifying those vendors.”
  • Why Android and iPhone won’t go down like BlackBerry – It would be technically impossible for all Android phones or iPhones to experience a global four-day outage like the one BlackBerry saw this week, according to mobile communications experts. Why? The answer is in the technical details of how Research in Motion — the company that makes BlackBerry smartphones, with their click-clacking keyboards and tie-wearing owners — handles e-mails and text messages. From CNN.com.
  • Slough: UK town where BlackBerry problems started – BlackBerry’s European hub is flanked by two pharmaceutical companies in near-identical buildings. It sits on a trading estate known to many Britons as the setting for the BBC comedy “The Office”. The series, starring Ricky Gervais as a hapless manager in a paper-making company, mocked the tedium of corporate life in a town known for its many roundabouts and concrete car parks. Slough is the butt of many jokes among Britons. For example, comedian Jimmy Carr said of his hometown: “I grew up in Slough in the 1970s. If you want to know what Slough was like in the 1970s, go there now.” From Reuters.

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.

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