Today’s Internet “hiccups”

Today’s Internet “hiccups”

Some of our customers had difficulty reaching Moraware today. Here is an article explaining why.

This issue was like a mini Y2K … a key number was crossed today (the number of publicly visible IP addresses), and it caused a lot of the routers on the Internet to fail. In general, the Internet is quite resilient, but if enough routers fail between your office and our data center, then you won’t be able to reach Moraware.com or your data. Our servers and our data centers worked perfectly all day today … but the Internet itself was broken in several places.

UPDATE: our data center provider, Liquid Web, did not work perfectly today – they also have some of the routers that experienced issues around the Internet, so they were in fact part of the problem.

Internet providers around the country are working to address this particular issue, and it should be resolved “soon” (for several customers, access went up and down much of the day – this was the result of a router being taken offline, fixed; then another being taken offline, fixed, etc.). In the meantime, your best chance of working around these types of issues now and in the future is to have a backup Internet connection from a completely different provider (for example, if you use AT&T for your office, get a Verizon mifi or vice versa).

An incident like this reminds us how much we and our customers rely on the public Internet infrastructure. It’s an amazing creation, and it’s vanishingly cheap (by comparison, dedicated network lines between two points typically cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per year, not including the IT required to support them). But today was a reminder that much of that infrastructure is simply out of our control. We learned some things from today’s “hiccups,” and we will continue to work on ways that we can make our software adjust to the Internet itself and work around its weaknesses.

A site like Google was less affected by today’s problems, because they have data centers around the globe. We’ll never have as many as they do, but we’re working to have more than the one we currently have. It’s a surprisingly hard problem to make software like ours work from multiple data centers, but it can help on days like today when the Internet itself breaks. Today could have been much worse – less than 1% of our customers were affected at all – but if you depend on our software to run your business, even an hour without it is a burden. We’ll continue to work on ways to make sure you can always reach us.

For more information on this specific issue, follow this facebook post.

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