Kal Korff

BlackBerry Email Outage Continues
by Kal K. Korff
Internationally Syndicated Copyright © 2011 by Kal K. Korff - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Users of RIM's BlackBerry phones have been experiencing email and web browsing outages for the past few days as the Canadian-Based company struggles to fix the problems with their server and cluster networks. While customers everywhere in the world were not affected, millions of them in Europe, India, Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and the Middle East were. While RIM has not disclosed the causes of their widespread outage, the company has been forthcoming in admitting that there has been a global problem. RIM's Centric Architecture Achilles Heel BlackBerry users are accustomed to having to send their emails through RIM's proprietary servers. They count on them to be reliable, scalable and secure. RIM was once one of the pioneers in what is called "push notifications" which means that instead of always having to log on and "go fish" for emails, they automagically come to you. While this simple feature, so commonplace today on Google's Android and Apple's smartphones originally made BlackBerry a hit with customers, it has now come back to haunt them. When BlackBerry's servers crash, customers cannot communicate using their wholly RIM-dependent email software client. Although the exact nature and cause of RIM's unusual outage has not been disclosed by the company, it is obvious to anyone with knowledge of basic distributed computing architectures that if sufficient redundancies and back ups of their server farms were in place, combined with the proper routing schema, when one server or a series of them goes down, basic distributed load balancing would be able to handle things until the problems were fixed.

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This obviously did not happen, nor have such fail safe redundancies kicked in, otherwise RIM's problems would not have persisted for several days. Another inherent weakness is in the way that RIM deploys their online services and the proprietary method they use to handle surfing the Internet. The web, as a rule, is driven by open industry standards. By comparison, RIM's are proprietary, closed and use nonstandard protocols and methods. Millions of BlackBerry users were not only unable to retrieve their proprietary pushed emails, they were also unable to do basic web surfing, since the Internet browser that RIM forces customers to use is proprietary and is not based on open standards like Google's Chrome, Apple's Safari or Mozilla's Firefox browsers which are web kit based offerings. As with their proprietary email system, when BlackBerry's servers crash, so often does the web experience for their customers. Users of other smartphones do not have this deliberately contrived inherent weakness and choke point. People who own Google Android-based phones, Apple's iPhone or even Microsoft Windows 7 mobiles never need to worry if Google, Apple or Microsoft are having computing problems. Unlike RIM's browser, theirs "just works" and is not dependent on the company. From an industry open standards compliance viewpoint, this approach is far superior. RIM's mail server problems come at a very bad time for the company. During the past three years, it has seen its market share fall from 40% down to just 11% now. Some three years after Apple first released its industry leading multitouch iPhone, RIM finally started shipping it's first true multitouch device a few weeks ago in what many analysts and RIM watchers fear is too little, too late. BlackBerry customers can expect services to return to normal by Friday at the latest, according to RIM. 1.0v2 Oct 13, 2011 Kal K. Korff is an officially accredited internationally known author, columnist and investigative journalist.

Copyright © 2011 by Kal K. Korff - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this content may be reproduced in any form nor by any means without the express, written consent of Kal Korff. “Fair use,” does NOT apply. By reading this document, you willingly agree to be legally bound by its terms and conditions. Violators of this policy will have a felony DMCA Copyright infringement notice filed against them with law enforcement. First time offenders may be fined up to $500,000, imprisoned for five years, or both. For repeat offenders, the maximum penalty increases to a fine of $1,000,000, imprisonment for up to ten years, or both. This is a DMCA protected document, illegal copying and/or reproduction of its contents are tracked on the Internet and reported to law enforcement for felony prosecution.

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Copyright © 2011 by Kal K. Korff - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this content may be reproduced in any form nor by any means without the express, written consent of Kal Korff. “Fair use,” does NOT apply. By reading this document, you willingly agree to be legally bound by its terms and conditions. Violators of this policy will have a felony DMCA Copyright infringement notice filed against them with law enforcement. First time offenders may be fined up to $500,000, imprisoned for five years, or both. For repeat offenders, the maximum penalty increases to a fine of $1,000,000, imprisonment for up to ten years, or both. This is a DMCA protected document, illegal copying and/or reproduction of its contents are tracked on the Internet and reported to law enforcement for felony prosecution.

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