WhatsApp, Spotify and Instagram outages highlight the danger of downtime

In light of the news that WhatsApp suffered downtime on a worldwide scale leaving millions of users without a connection, hours after similar outages su...

Tom Wadlow
|May 4|magazine6 min read

In light of the news that WhatsApp suffered downtime on a worldwide scale leaving millions of users without a connection, hours after similar outages suffered by both Spotify and Instagram, warnings have been made regarding the dangers of downtime to businesses.

Richard Agnew, VP NW EMEA, Veeam comments on the financial and reputational damage downtime can inflict on a business:

“Several of the world’s biggest, most popular consumer services have suffered downtime over the last few days, with Spotify, WhatsApp and Instagram outages sparking consumer rage via social media.

“Web-based businesses have an implicit – or, in many cases, explicit – obligation to be available 24.7.365, while their digital-savvy consumers increasingly demand constant access to their services. These real-time consumer apps in particular power countless businesses that rely on their digital platforms to deliver ad views and content to customers, and this sets the expectation of a service that will be always-on.

“While these outages may have been short-lived, they could still prove extremely costly – in both reputation and financial damage. Indeed, last week Veeam’s Availability Report revealed that unplanned outages cost UK businesses an average of £17.9m a year.

“This huge cost comes as nine in ten UK companies (90%) admitted to suffering an ‘Availability Gap’ between the level of service expected and what IT can actually deliver. It’s therefore clear that businesses are not realising the need to improve their data handling. Our findings are consistent with surveys from years past, in that nearly three quarters of respondents (72%) remain unable to protect their data frequently enough to ensure that their business units’ expectations against data loss are met.

“Instagram, WhatsApp and Spotify rely on highly scalable and resilient microservices to deliver their immediate services to customers, but these are not downtime proof. Indeed, these outages prove that even best-in-class IT systems run by the world’s biggest companies can suffer problems. Regardless of how scalable, resilient and distributed a system architecture is, anything that is software driven and underpinned by application logic has the potential to break and suffer downtime.

“With this in mind, it is imperative that businesses of all size and scale have an availability, protection and recoverability plan in place that remains separate to inbuilt logic. In today’s world, where consumers are enraged by downtime – as proved by the immediate complaints via Twitter – reputations are made or broken by ensuring services remain available around the clock.”