Worldwide Skype outage - updated

Worldwide Skype outage - updated

Summary: I've been unable to access Skype all day and it turns out it's not just me. User from around the world are reporting the service is down and impacting personal and business communications for potentially millions of people. There's not a lot of information available at this time. Here's what Skype posted on their blog earlier today...

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Update 2: Friday morning and Skype is down again. Fellow ZDNet blogger George Ou thinks there may be a DDOS attack in play based on a recent, publicly released exploit but Skype's official announcement refutes that. I had service most of the evening yesterday with intermittent outages but I'm not able to infer a lot from that.

Update: Service appears to be restored as 5:25 pm MDT.

I've been unable to access Skype all day and it turns out it's not just me. User from around the world are reporting the service is down and impacting personal and business communications for potentially millions of people. There's not a lot of information available at this time. Here's what Skype posted on their blog earlier today:

Some of you may be having problems logging into Skype. Our engineering team has determined that it’s a software issue. We expect this to be resolved within 12 to 24 hours. Meanwhile, you can simply leave your Skype client running and as soon as the issue is resolved, you will be logged in. We apologise for the inconvenience.

As of this writing – 10:40 am MDT (GMT -7), service is still not restored. Here's hoping whatever te cause is gets discovered and dealt with quickly. Skype has had performance stutters from time to time but this is the first global outage I can recall since I first began using the service and it's bound to undermine the confidence many people have had in their availability and viability as a replacement for a conventional land line.

Topics: Outage, Collaboration, Social Enterprise

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21 comments
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  • Well, obviously Marc...

    ... it must be a scalability problem cause by all of the new users generated by your recommendations.

    IOW, it's your fault. Such is the price of fame. :^)
    dave.leigh@...
    • Wow! Who knew?

      I had no idea I wielded such enormous power. ;)
      morchant
  • America Offline?

    I do remember one day back in the '90s when AOL was having servere problems with their network and we got to see how many people were relying in it for business e-mail (large numbers of them were dead in the water).

    There are great dangers in everyone relying on the same vendor for anything mission critical and it's silly not to have a backup.
    John L. Ries
  • A Good Example of Why Technology is A Tool

    Skype is great and very useful. But this problem underscores a potential problem with too much reliance on technology - particularly when a lot of it is out of the user's control.

    This, in conjunction with the server outage in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago, is a good reminder that users need redundancy if they are going to rely on web-based applications.

    The internet and internet apps are fairly young and prone to a number of things in different parts of the world that are beyond the end user's control (weather, power outages, etc.). Same kind of thing with web-based apps - if you lose your internet connection, you lose the ability to produce. There are any number of places where things can go wrong (user's power goes out, ISP loses power/servers, DOS attacks across the web backbone, etc.)

    While they are great resources and often work without a hitch, it's just not good business sense to rely on them as your sole means of communicating or producing work product. Nor good sense for anyone. If your only phone is Skype and Skype goes out, let's hope you don't have an emergency.

    It would be interesting to see a comparison of the infancy of the net vs. the infancy of the phone system. Similar hurdles for both: cover a large area, offer service to a large/diverse group of people, ensuring the service works in a variety of conditions, etc.
    DaffyDuck
    • Good comment - one nit

      Skype makes it very clear that because they do not provide access to emergency services you should not use the service as your only phone solution. Otherwise your points are well stated - thanks.

      Personally I've been getting by just fine with my cell phones today but I sure do hope they get things sorted out soon. It's bnow about 2:00 pm MDT and they're still down.
      morchant
    • Agreed

      This is one of the reasons I'm really skeptical about web applications. Too many things beyond your control.

      "If your only phone is Skype and Skype goes out, let's hope you don't have an emergency."

      It gets worse: Skype doesn't offer 911 service. Something I think the feds should've pushed harder to require for VoIP.
      CobraA1
      • Your wish came true

        The FCC required that all telephony REPLACEMENT services (such as Vonage, Broadvoice, VoiceWing) be required to offer and support E-911 by Feb of 2006 (i believe, not sure of the date.) But at any rate, Skype plainly states on their website they are NOT a telephony replacement service and you cannot make emergancy calls on there. Now I may be an advanced user but I can certainly hope that most people would be made aware of that fact.
        Skype is a tool to keep people connected -- such as IM, VoIP, video conferencing, chat, and any other internet based tool. Consumers need to be aware of what they are getting into (both free and fee based services), damn there's that personal responsibility popping back up , AGAIN!! :)
        JT82
        • IMHO any VoIP system that connects to a land line should be eligible

          IMHO any VoIP system that connects to a land line should be eligible, not just "replacement" services.
          CobraA1
    • A voice of reason...

      I wish more people looked at different pieces of technology as tools. Seems like it rises to the status of religion way too much. One piece of software is a binary incarnation of God while another is the root# of evil.

      As for a comparison of the infancy of the net vs. the infancy of the phone system, that's not really a fair comparison. The phone system infrastruction was bought and paid for by the American taxpayer. The internet is trying to get there on the cheap, leveraging the existing infrastructure already bought and paid for. It's my belief that we're going to eventually need an entirely new infrastructure, and the taxpayer will again foot the bill. Business just won't pony up the amount of money it's going to take.
      jasonp@...
      • infrastructure...

        not infrastruction. Looked good though.
        jasonp@...
    • Closed system

      It also underscores why closed protocol, single vendor solutions are not the greatest either.

      If you were using a vendor neutral protocol, like SIP or IAX, you would at LEAST still be able to make outbound calls, as it's trivial to use multiple providers. If you have multiple inbound numbers at multiple providers, then you would still be reachable too. It would help to toss the ancient phone number system and use direct VoIP addressing rather than a phone number (SIP:biff.jones@example.com or some such thing.)

      The problem is exactly what you say - the technology in general is young. It just doesn't have the redundancies designed into it that are really needed, yet is still tied to legacy systems.
      waltmaine
    • That's what a cell phone is for

      That's what a cell phone is for these days. I also keep an analog land line at home too if I really need to call 911 fast.

      This actually does look like an on-going DoS attack.
      http://blogs.zdnet.com/Ou/?p=683
      georgeou
  • Mine has been down...

    ...for about 4 hours now. We use it a lot where I work for inter-office calling (we have offices on each side of the US). So now we just have to use the regular phone, except it cost a LOT more (skype is free).
    Stuka
  • What are you talking about? It's still down for me.

    What are you talking about? It's still down for me! I can't get it to go green.
    georgeou
  • Still Down Here Too

    And it's almost 1AM.
    itanalyst
  • Looks like a DoS attack is still going on Marc

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/Ou/?p=683
    Looks like a DoS attack is still going on Marc
    georgeou
  • Good point for land lines

    Just goes to show you what happens when we put all our eggs in one basket. Even the cost of VOIP is very tempting to switch my home phone to VOIP. I still pay a nominal fee to be able to use my home phone from a local telephone company (QWEST). In the event of a power failure and my computer and internet goes down, I still can call my friends and 911 if I need to. Use of Skype and any other VOIP service or your Cell Phone to make long distance calls for a cost savings is a great idea. However how are you going to emergency services when this situation like this one happens. Everyone needs to look again at good old MA Bell.
    drkar
  • Skype should not be considered indispensible

    It's a great service, and my wife and I take advantage of it all the time while she's overseas...but we also know how tenuous connectivity can be on *both ends,* and if the communication is critical, there's her AT&T card for backup. Yesterday or chat wasn't critical, and the interruptions--when we could connect--were just annoying. I know she's on the plane as I write this, and all is ok.
    Recall the Internet(work) itself was originally designed to survive a (ah...) "cataclysm," and to that end it works great. But any network is always subject to failures at the actual connect points.
    BTW, I long ago went to VoIP & cut the POTS at home...but not until I was confident my cellular service was reliable.
    Determine for yourself how reliable your communications must be, and act accordingly.
    kmp612
  • I am not a really big user of Skype but I do think it is just great!

    My Skype is a lifesaver because I can contact the whole country without extra charges. If it fails one day or even two it is so far ahead of my AT&Tyahoo for communication it can't be compared. What happened is a one time thing. I won't complain.
    Natalie2
  • Skype.. works for me

    My skype is up at 5:00pm EST. Since is more free than not I don't think we can be to hard on them. I will be deployed to Iraq in 6 weeks and plan on using it for communication with my wife. Thank you Skype for making it easy and inexpensive.
    gkoepfler