Alexa and Phillips Hue Crash Christmas Day
Before the holiday break, Liftr Cloud Insights predicted outages as Christmas approached, and outages there were indeed. Gift receivers wishing to set up their new Amazon Echo and Echo Dot devices, a popular Christmas gift this year, were met with connectivity issues beginning 10 A.M. Christmas Day. The issues were due to an outage most likely caused by the influx of new users at one time.
New users weren’t the only ones affected. Existing users were also unable to connect to their devices for regular tasks such as playing music or smart home controls. The outage was first reported by The Guardian followed by a tweet from Amazon in which they noted the issues were isolated to Europe saying, “Over the past two hours some Echo devices in Europe have had intermittent connections;” however the outage had been resolved by the time the account posted.
This isn’t the first European Alexa outage to occur. Customers experienced a similar outage in September of last year related to an AWS outage in Ireland; and the United States experienced one the following month. Amazon declined to offer details on what caused the outage or explain how the issue was resolved.
Phillips Hue also had an outage during Christmas day due to an influx of new users that lasted for multiple days. Users were not able to create new accounts, log in, or link to third-party applications. Many of their customers were frustrated not only by their connection issues but also by the lack of communication Phillips Hue provided at the time about the outage. The company failed to officially confirm the outage until two days after it began, only replying to individual tweets, which are not pushed to the general Twitter feed. The company also downplayed the issue, saying it only affected a “small percentage” of users.
These recent holiday outages were both consumer Internet of Things related. What does this mean for public cloud reliability during high profile consumer Internet of Things product launches and retail events? In all likelihood it means more outages, but Liftr Cloud Insights will be keeping an eye out.
AT&T Closes Sale for Data Center Colocation Operations
AT&T announced it has completed the sale of its data center colocation operations and assets to Brookfield Infrastructure and its institutional partners marking the beginning of their strategic alliance with the company. Customer contracts, employees supporting the colocation operations, fixed assets, leases, and specialized owned facilities have been transferred to Brookfield who has established a wholly owned company, Evoque Data Center Solutions to own and operate the assets.
Under the terms of the deal, AT&T has received $1.1 billion, which will support the company’s goal of reducing its net-debt-to-EBITDA-ratio (Ebit-ah) to the 2.5x ballpark by the end of 2019. Evoque joins AT&T’s global colocation ecosystem program, and its access to 350+ data centers around the world, where AT&T will offer Evoque’s colocation services to business customers.
Baidu and Sohu Suspend News Services by Mandate
China’s Cyberspace Administration has ordered Baidu Inc. And Sohu.com Ltd, two of China’s largest internet corporations, to suspend several news services for a week. This kicks off an online clean-up campaign recently announced by The Cyberspace Administration. The administration has planned a 6-month effort to eradicate “vulgar information” from a plethora of online media outlets, including messaging services and live-streaming platforms.
The Beijing Branch of the cyber-watchdog said it summoned executives from both firms and ordered several of Baidu’s and Sohu’s news and content feeds to suspend updates until January 10 while they snuff out undesirable content. Beijing has been drawing a hard line as the country’s ecosystem flourishes, instigating several crackdowns on video games and social media. Neither companies nor the regulator stipulated why they are being punished or what the companies need to do to resume operations. Though one week bans rarely make major impacts, the cease comes at a stressful time when consumers are spending less.
Microsoft’s Data Center in Qatar Approve
Qatar’s Cabinet has approved the establishment of a Microsoft Global Data Center, or GDC, in the small Gulf nation. Qatar’s GDC will be called “Azure Cloud Computing” derived from Microsoft Azure. This move echoes Azure’s previous announced plans last year to expand into the Middle East for the first time by setting up a data center in the neighboring United Arab Emirates.
The Cabinet also took the necessary measures to issue a draft law establishing a “Media City” after it reviewed the recommendation of the Shura Council. This “Media City” aims at managing and developing media activity and attracting international media, tech companies, research, and achieving economic and professional integration with the state’s various projects. The “Media City”, under the draft law, will have an independent budget and separate borders and coordinates determined by a Cabinet decision.
Upcoming in the Cloud
The first earnings calls of the new year are expected to be reported during the third week of January, starting with IBM who typically leads the pack. IBM’s report will be followed by Google’s parent company Alphabet and Amazon for AWS. Check back in to future editions Liftr Cloud Look Aheads to see what numbers these companies generate in the cloud and what Cloud Insights predicts these earnings to mean for them as the new year gets underway.