Digital Duncecap: 9 Memorable Cloud Fails


Cloud industry market leaders are incredibly successful in the category of failure. Here are some top trending #CloudFails from the technology’s brief history.

At Superb Internet, we consider almost ALL cloud providers to be fails because they’re overselling their services, leading to unnecessarily spotty performance. Before we get into why what we offer is vastly superior to the often disappointing speed and reliability of our competitors, let’s look at nine of the biggest historic cloud fails.

  1. Netflix Goes Down Thanks to Amazon

This year, AWS proudly let us know that its cloud computing division was worth almost $5 billion. For growth, they get a gold star. But as the dangers of eating contests reveal, bigger is not always better.

Netflix was one of the original mega-companies to try out Amazon Web Services (AWS). At first glance, it looked like a match made in heaven.

“On the one hand, there was Netflix, whose streaming services were growing far faster than the company could maintain with internal IT resources,” says Andrew Froehlich of InformationWeek, “[O]n the other, retail giant Amazon was on the bleeding edge of the cloud computing movement and ready to make a splash with its new venture.”

Sadly for anyone hoping to enjoy Christmas Eve with their families (really, that’s when this happened), watching Diehard and not having to deal with a technological migraine, Netflix went down. Happy Holidays from AWS, John McClane.

  1. Dropbox Leaves Down its Drawbridge

Sure, it’s great to have a moat and murder holes in your castle for dumping boiling oil on your enemies. But those defenses aren’t worth much when you forget you left the drawbridge down.

When Dropbox released a new update to its software, you could get into anyone’s account just by inputting their email. How long was the drawbridge down? Almost 4 hours. Any comments about this incident can be sent to

  1. Nearly 800,000 Sites Shot Down by CloudFlare

CloudFlare is a cloud tool that any site can use to enhance security and strengthen uptime for SEO – at least that’s the idea when it isn’t instead crippling your site.

“Such was the case when CloudFlare’s edge routers were upgraded simultaneously, which caused them all to crash,” says Froehlich. “As a result, approximately 785,000 customer websites were unavailable for about an hour.”

Only an hour, huh? For enterprises, Gartner says that little vacation costs more than $300,000.

  1. Apple Takes Off Jennifer Lawrence’s Clothes

Cloud hacks often aren’t titillating enough to get a lot of media attention. You know, a lot of data is boring. But some of it gets the blood pumping, like when actress Jennifer Lawrence trusted her iCloud account for pictures of her taking everything off and posing like a porn star. Other celebrities were exposed as well. Creepy men everywhere rejoiced, celebrating this iCloud vulnerability that Apple apparently had known existed for some time (per Gizmodo).

  1. Wait…Is it MS Office Almost 365?

Apparently (based on a quick search) no company has yet decided to use Twitter for 100% of its internal communications. Well, that would just be crazy. Use email, right? Not when the plug is pulled on email within Office 365.

That’s happened “several times since the service first launched,” says Froehlich. “It got so bad that the running joke was that the service should be called Office 360, since it’s not available five days out of the year.”

That’s actually a lame joke, because 360 sounds like 360°, an all-around view. A better title would be Office Almost 365.

  1. Microsoft’s Lack of Due Diligence Hurts its Customers

Hey, wait for me, said Microsoft four years after the launch of Amazon. Microsoft could have looked at the behaviors of Amazon and Google, using them as test cases of how to do cloud. Nah, why bother. Better to go down for 11 hours.

  1. Homer Simpson at Joyent Babies the Buttons

Have you ever had a baby slam down on your keyboard and ruin your day? Apparently, Joyent was neither childproof nor suddenly-rebooting-everyone-proof. In 2014, a systems administrator who took his eye off the ball rebooted all their servers at once with a faulty keystroke. Doh!

  1. LastPass Coughs Up the Name of Your Dog

LastPass has been widely adopted in enterprise IT to manage passwords and provide single sign-on for increasingly complex infrastructures. Early this summer, the email addresses and password reminders of users were stolen during a data breach.

“Although the passwords were encrypted, and there was no evidence of customer data being exposed,” Froehlich explains, “LastPass required all customers to change their master passwords the very next time they logged in.”

  1. Verizon Wears the Presidential Healthcare Duncecap was supposed to be President Obama’s crowning achievement. Its launch turned into a disaster, starting with repeated problems in the Verizon Terremark cloud.

Obama held a ceremony in the Rose Garden honoring them with the Presidential Healthcare Duncecap.

#CloudFails Standard Among Public Cloud Providers

Practically ALL cloud service providers are grossly overselling resources, causing highly variable peaks and valleys in performance. The resources you think you’ll get are actually a maximum that is often not met.

Why is Superb better? We do not do ANY overselling: your resources are ALWAYS guaranteed and are always available. (Want proof? Note this statement at the bottom of our cloud page: “Quantities are limited so once the servers are full, you can request to be added to a wait list until more servers are brought online.”)

By Kent Roberts

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