Enterprise customers have their mobile email interrupted for around an hour, due to network failover
Enterprise customers of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry service lost service for more than an hour this afternoon, over much of Europe, apparently because of a temporary failure in RIM’s network.
Hundreds of thousands of customers reportedly had their mobile email interrupted from about 1.30pm. While some customers were back online by 2.15pm, others were cut off until at least 3pm. This problem, with RIM’s enterprise customers, follows a larger outage amongst consumers, earlier in April.
RIM has not yet confirmed or explained the problem, but the trouble was in RIM’s own SRP (server relay protocol) network, according to Zenprise, a remote device management company, whose customers reported problems this afternoon. “A customer in the UK got an alert from Zenprise at 13:32 that the RIM SRP network went down,” said Ahmed Datoo, vice president of marketing at Zenprise.. “That network looked to be back up and running around 15:00. One of our US customers supports users in Europe and received an alert from Zenprise roughly the same time, but service for them was restored at 14:13.”
The Zenprise product carries out diagnostics, including a test of the RIM network, and it appears that one of RIM’s IP addresses went down, and there was a delay routing to the back-up IP address, according to Datoo: “The propagation of the DNS changes may have taken some time.”
We asked for confirmation of the trouble from RIM, but did not receive any by press time. Orange confirmed to other news sources that some customers were having problems.
“Hats off to RIM,” said Datoo. Following a much worse outage in 2007, the company has put in an architecture that includes failover. Some users lost service for more than an hour, but given the many millions of messages handled by RIM, that was a good result, he said.
However, third party monitoring of Blackberry services is useful, said Datoo. When users lose email, they call their IT manager, and it may take some time to work out whether the problem is with the carriers, the company’s email servers, or the Blackberry service: “Our customers could identify the problem, and send a message to their users, notifying them the moment the outage started.” These messages, sent by SMS, or left in recordings on the IT helpdesk, would have saved IT staff a lot of time, and left end users in a better frame of mind, he said.