Millions of Blackberry owners across Europe, the Middle East and Africa have been left without services following a large server crash yesterday. The problem appears to have originated in a datacentre in Slough which handles Blackberry services for the affected regions. Unlike other smartphone services, BlackBerry phones rely on a centralised internet service provided by RIM - making it susceptible to non-carrier outages.
Users around the world had their work, business and social lives severely affected yesterday after the server crashed, as their phones were rendered dysfunctional. Blackberry have sold over 100 million handsets worldwide to date and RIM (blackberry’s manufacturer) claimed to have added 1 million subscribers in the EMEA region alone during the month of July. It’s believed the EMEA region was the area most affected by yesterday’s outage. This highlights the lack of control for businesses and their IT teams who were unable to fix the problem as the servers reside in the cloud and outside their remit. As most businesses need to consider their disaster recovery options I believe it would have come as a surprise to many as to how reliant they are on RIM to ensure the services work correctly. This also highlights other issues in terms of security and secrecy when it comes to email and RIMs ability to censor services to the request of any government. Ask most business people who have a Blackberry their reliance on it and I think most would say it has replaced their laptop and now their primary method of communication, definitely a concern for the IT department.
The timing of the outage couldn’t have come better for Blackberry’s rival Apple. The new iPhone 4S received a mixed reception when unveiled last week, but will be in prime position to benefit from any disgruntled, want away Blackberry customers.