Failures of a hosting company can cause huge damage to businesses that use its services. The damage depends on the scale of the issues, but even the tiniest power outage or other failure may cause massive incidents. Here are a few recent well known failures experienced by the biggest web hosting companies.
OVH Data Center Flooding
On June 29th, 2017, the largest OVH’s data center in Europe experienced water leak due to a crack in a pipe in water-cooling system. Fluids entered the system and caused a massive shutdown of the server on the premises of the data center. The affected racks were storing shared hosting servers, and customers who use them are usually the most vulnerable ones, because they give all their data to the provider that manages these servers.
The downtime lasted more than 24 hours, causing many smaller businesses to stop their online activity completely.
Hotmail Servers Got Too Hot
In 2013 there was an interesting incident that affected the Hotmail and other servers. Ironical as it may sound, the cause of the incident was the overheating of servers that resulted in the shutdown of the access.
Updates, in general, are a very common procedure, which helps to keep your system new, secure and enables it to provide quality performance. Sometimes a person will not even notice that updates have been done. However, on one of such occasions during the firmware upgrade, the system reacted in an unexpected way, and the temperature rapidly increased to the point where it triggered the safeguards of the data center and prevented access to the services provided by the data center. The issue caused more than 16 hours downtime for Hotmail, Outlook and some SkyDrive users.
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A Single Incorrect Command of the Employee
In March 2017, Amazon Web Service failure caused an enormous outage. The whole situation was a result of a single wrong command, which was entered by an employee in order to perform a routine task. That time the typo was fatal and created some serious headache for the server administrators who had to restore everything back to normal. The original situation was intended to be resolved by simply rebooting the whole system, which had not been rebooted in years, and had grown a lot during that time, so everything wasn’t working as smoothly as expected.
Despite the issue being just a typo, it resulted in more than 4 hours downtime for more than 100 000 websites, including Medium platform, Business Insider and some of Wix websites.
A lightning Strike Took Down the Data Center
On September 4th, 2018, one of the Microsoft’s data centers felt the power of nature. A lightning strike hit near the actual data center located in Texas, causing a voltage increase, which affected the cooling systems. This put the data center into a critical situation, with the hardware shutting down for some time and Azure DevOps services becoming unavailable. The status page was hosted on the same data center, preventing the customers from being informed about the situation immediately.
There is no information of how many customers were affected, but knowing how big the Microsoft is, we can assume there was a lot of damage done.
Billing System Updates Caused Panic
A few years ago a company standing behind Hostens, Interneto Vizija, updated its billing system. During this update the disk space for all the servers was decreased, triggering the system monitoring tools. The result was massive notifications sent out to customers informing them that the disk space had been completely used up. The situation led to a short downtime, however, a bigger issue was the massive panic and turmoil that broke out among the customers. From that moment, an additional check was implemented for server resource modification.
These are just a few examples of hosting companies’ failures that caused a lot of issues for the businesses using their services. Although there are no estimates regarding the losses experienced by the affected businesses, it is reasonable to assume there was more than enough damage done at the time of every event.
Despite the fact that one can’t plan something like a lightning strike, certain steps preventing these issues could have been taken. In every case, the provider has learned the lesson and has taken additional security and prevention measures.
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