Daily Cuppa: outages cripple businesses, Surface tablet

It's only mid-week, but a lot of businesses will be wishing the weekend was here, having battled with outages and production problems overnight.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

As we catch you up on what happened overnight in this Wednesday issue of Technolatte, know that if you weren't able to sleep well, many businesses overseas wouldn't have even hit the hay.

Salesforce.com suffered global disruptions after a power outage hit just as our friends in the EU were heading into work, with the incident so bad that it initially took out the company's status page.

It wasn't the only one suffering from outages — in London, Level 3 Communications' datacentre also lost power, sending 50 businesses offline. Its 6.5-hour outage is a pretty big incident for a datacentre that is one of only six Tier 1 internet providers in the world. Sadly, it looks like all the money spent on power redundancy was for nothing — the datacentre's UPS system failed to work correctly.

Microsoft wasn't facing datacentre outages, but it may have an outage of a different kind if it doesn't figure out how to improve the manufacturing process responsible for creating the Surface tablet's chassis. It has been having trouble with poor yields from its current processes, which could spell disaster and a missed opportunity if it can't deliver on what already looks like promising market demand.

While it certainly didn't happen overnight, RIM's figures have spoken louder than its chief executive's suggestions that nothing is wrong — in the past 30 days, it has seen US$30 billion wiped from its market capitalisation, which is putting a few businesses on edge. They're wondering whether they need to begin looking at contingency plans, but ZDNet US's Zack Whittaker suggests that panic is illogical, given that RIM's data-network business will most likely be snapped up by Apple, Google or Microsoft, which are all seeking to complement their cloud services.

And speaking of cloud, Dropbox appears to be making itself more appealing for small business use. It is doubling the space for its Pro accounts at no cost, and adding a new 500GB, US$49.99/month package option for those that need more space. Larger enterprises appear to still be missing out on this, though. There are no changes to its 1TB "team plans".

Lastly, one of the best things about having greater access to our international partners since the launch of ZDNet Global is that while we slept, our UK correspondents have been able to bring us up close and personal with Richard Branson's SpaceShipTwo, which is currently on display in that part of the world. After completing glide tests, its first powered flight is expected to take place later this year. Hopefully it won't experience datacentre-style power outages mid-flight.

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