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Ever had problems with your hosting when it’s just completely failed on you?

Derek Campbell Head of Technical Services (AsiaPac)

Ever had problems with your hosting when it’s just completely failed?

Well I have and I help run the hosting infrastructure for Precedent, and although extremely rare, frustratingly, when it does happen, more often than not the issue does not lie with the infrastructure but with the limitations of human beings.

Even when it does seem like the issue is hardware, it tends to be caused by people doing things they shouldn’t such as disconnecting cables and at times even cutting cables by accident.

However there are also those times when the dangers of the speed at which the Internet is growing can catch up with us and wreak havoc, and Tuesday the 12th of August around 8am UTC was one of those moments.

Let’s pretend that the Internet is easy to understand. Think about it as a global road infrastructure that connects the world and that to get to any location in the world there is a road that will get you there. Then add in your GPS system such as your TomTom and you can put in your postcode for anywhere the world and it will direct you there. But what happens when you run out of Postcodes?

Well this is effectively what happened this week. The traffic ran out of addresses and it caused a global car crash so to speak. The cause in the end wasn’t the hardware that failed to deliver, or someone unplugging a cable, but the software developers who had built in a default limit of 512,000 addresses and routes which eventually led to the car crash of the internet.

The Internet had essentially run out of a way of routing to some network ports. There were no routes left to take and the affect was colossal. For us it was about identifying and rectifying the situation as quickly as possible for our own clients and getting all of the facts, but it wasn’t, just us, it affected hundreds and thousands of businesses.

When sites like Amazon, Ebay and Linkedin go down, you know the problem is big, but it just goes to show what a weird and wonderful place the internet can be at times, and how the rapid growth and dependency on digital is in itself causing a new set of problems, we simply can’t keep up with ourselves!