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IT Nightmares and Data Center Horror Stories


IT Nightmares and Data Center Horror Stories


Monsters under the bed, ghouls, zombies ... and human error! You've probably seen your share of IT horror stories. So with the dynamics and complexity of today's data centers, nothing can send a well-managed IT environment into a downward spiral faster than the very people that work on it. Whether it's a missed DLL file, a change in permissions, or even a re-indexed table made during routine maitenance, the IT routine is rarely boring. So with a knod to the frights of the Halloween season, we'll take a look a back at some of this year's IT nightmares and horror stories.

1. Configuration Glitch Sets Off Google Outage.

At the end of January, a broad outage rocked Gmail and a raft of other Google Web applications Friday afternoon, leading many affected users to flood Twitter, other social media sites and discussion forums with complaints.
Gmail, other Google services hit by outage on Friday

2. Another fail for Yahoo Mail.

In Februrary, Yahoo appeared to be experiencing technical difficulties across its network of sites, with outages occurring on the Yahoo homepage, Yahoo Weather, Yahoo Mail and Flickr.
Yahoo Mail Is Down – 02.04.2014

3. Major Outage at National Weather Service.

In May, the National Weather Service's warning dissemination system – critical to its mission of protecting life and property – failed during the peak of a severe thunderstorm outbreak affecting the D.C. area and much of the Northeast.
National Weather Service failed to warn part of D.C. area of dangerous thunderstorm

4. A Single User Error Causes Cloud-wide Failure at Joyent.

At the end of May, human error played a central role in bringing down Joyent's system, which ideally would have been built to withstand such errors. 
Admin Error Brings Down Joyent's Ashburn Data Center

5. Microsoft Outage.

Service outage left many without email access at the end of June. 
Microsoft Apologizes, Details Online Services Outage

6. Facebook Suffers a Worldwide Outage.

Site down worldwide for 31 minutes during longest outage in four years 
Facebook Outage Caused by Software System Update

7. Microsoft Discloses Another "full service interruption" for Azure.

Microsoft Azure was hit with what it called an "unusually high level of downtime" earlier this month and over the previous weekend affecting customers in Japan.
Cascade of Service Outages Plague Azure Cloud

8. Time Warner Cable Suffers a Major Internet Outage.

The widespread outage began while most were sleeping, but the scope is immense hitting both coasts. All services were down including their website, making it hard for customers to get information early on. Services are still in the process of being restored several hours later. 
Time Warner Suffers Widespread Outage

9. Infrastructure Change Brings Facebook Down.

Facebook experienced errors across the site, not allowing you to update your status, post comments, send messages or post photos. Users were also unable to Like posts. 
Facebook System Outage

10. Data Security Horror Stories.

In today's bring-your-own-device and cloud services enterprise, real-world stories of data loss abound. What's really horrifying: Things seem to be getting worse. 
Real-World Horror Stories Show Why Data Security Is So Hard

Your Turn
So what IT "horror movie" scenarios have you survived to talk about?

About the Author
Martin Perlin