This month’s high profile cloud outage is brought to you by (rolls the dice) Apple’s Siri. Siri is the voice recognition feature of the new iPhone. Though the technology does not quite know everything (for instance, asking it “who did Alabama play last week” did not give me an answer), it is still eerily similar to Star Trek.

But as great as the technology is, it uses the internet to perform the voice recognition and answer users’ questions and so it is subject to the same problems we have seen from other cloud-based services.

Some of the other high profile cloud outages or interruptions we have seen include:

  • Google Apps and Gmail have suffered a number of outages over the years, most recently in February 2011. In September 2009, they had two separate outages, following other service outages in February 2009 and August 2008. Some of these outages affected only a small percentage of users (for example, .02% were affected by the 2011 outage) and Google reported that for 2010, they had 99.984% uptime, or an average of seven minutes of downtime per month.
  • Amazon’s EC2 cloud service suffered service interruptions in April 2011 and August 2011, affecting Netflix, Reddit, Twitter, and Foursquare, among others.
  • Microsoft’s new Office 365 service was disrupted for three hours in August 2011. Other Microsoft services suffered an outage in September.
  • Research in Motion, the maker of BlackBerry smartphones, suffered a global outage in October 2011, affecting millions of users.

Even if you have not intentionally set out to use a cloud service, more than likely, you own a device that uses one. What is your plan if you lose access to your hosted Exchange account? What is your plan if you lose access to your Google-based documents? The cloud is still a relatively new technology and failures will happen. The moral of this story is the Scout MottoBe Prepared.

Photo Credit: Andreas Jankowsky

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