The Web’s Weakest Link

From Om Malik’s blog

Yesterday afternoon, I left my apartment, which also doubles as my part time office, in a mad rush, late for a meeting. As the elevator descended, the lights suddenly went out, and for a minute or two (it seemed like an eternity) I was suspended in a dark metal box. And then survival skills took over, as I pressed the emergency button.

And while on the phone, the lights came back on, and the elevator descended, and I rushed to my meeting, silently cursing the building owners for having shoddy infrastructure. It was only later in the day, I learned of massive power outages caused by snafus with at PG&E, our local power company. This resulted in a transformer blowing up, and causing even more disruptions, especially at 365 Main, one of the large co-lo/data center facilities situated in the SOMA area of San Francisco.

This resulted in massive outages at some of Web 2.0’s brand name companies – Six Apart, Facebook, Technorati and Yelp – knocking out their systems and web services out flat. Whatever the reasons behind the failure might be, yesterday was a rude reminder of how fragile our digital lives are.

The seemingly invincible web services (not to mention the notional wealth they signify) vanish within a blink of the eye. It was also a reminder, that all the hoopla around web services is just noise – for in the end the hardware, the plumbing, the pipes and more importantly, the power grid is the real show…