A couple of days ago, Skype suffered a global outage which made it to a couple of tech news websites and thus caught the attention of the nerd community for about a millisecond or so. Once service was restored, however, it wasn't even newsworthy to report. Global outage and nobody cares?
I use Skype quite regularly so I also noticed that the service was down and in the process trying to get it working again I managed that the Skype app threw away my super long super secure Skype password and I had to spend at least 5 minutes to get it back up working again. Couldn't have happened with a SIM card approach I thought.
But how come nobody really complained about an almost day-long global outage? That doesn't necessarily speak for Skype's popularity. I think the reaction would have been quite different if Facebook or WhatsApp would have been globally down for the same amount of time. That doesn't bode well for Skype's owner Microsoft…
The other thought I had was that in the 'good old days' the worst that could have happened and actually did happen very seldom were local outages of the communication system when a local exchange or the long distance link to it went down for some reason. But that was pretty much it, everything was distributed and even a failure of a long haul transport exchange wouldn't have brought down the network in a whole country, let alone cause a global outage. But these days are long gone, today systems are built for global service and despite of redundancy and fail-safe mechanisms occasionally fail massively on a global level.
Something is wrong with that approach, the Internet was build with survivability in mind, not for centralized services, control or management that cause global outages. But while a couple of decades ago, a whole building was necessary to house a local exchange, a couple of rows of server racks are now sufficient for central control of a nation's telephony system. Sure, that's a lot cheaper than owning, maintaining and powering buildings and equipment in each town to keep the telephone system running but in terms of reliability it is a nightmare. It's time to find a middle ground!