Widespread outages involving several Google services–including search, Google Docs, and Gmail–were caused by an upgrade gone awry inside of Google, according to engineers.
Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research for McAfee, said that Google this morning attempted to make changes to key Internet routing numbers–known as autonomous system numbers–as part of its ongoing transition from an older networking standard to a newer one called IPv6. An unknown “bug” inside Google’s network involving some sort of hardware failure or glitch prevented Internet service providers from finding Google’s new ASNs on the Internet–effectively sealing it off from many customers, he said
Not all Internet users were affected, but some that use larger providers–such as AT&T or Verizon–appeared to be disproportionately hurt because large ISPs “peer” with Google, or interconnect their networks with Google’s networks in order to improve speed and reduce bandwith costs, Alperovitch said. Not all customers at those providers were affected, and smaller ISPs that didn’t interconnect their networks were able to route around the problem. But just like when a bad car accident shuts down a key highway, the ripple effects were felt elsewhere.
This failure shows the critical difference between the cloud and locally-hosted services, but in reality SaaS system have proved a high level of security and redundancy but in some cases they are still not effective.
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