Monday, February 11, 2008

I is a media whore

It's been a busy time around here mediawise because no one told the folks in the tech sector that they're supposed to hibernate in winter. Instead, they've cranked up the activity levels - to wit, the Microsoft-Yahoo buyout offer and the Motorola-Nortel joint venture talks. I feel as if I've got a front row seat to the best show in the house. Bonus points that Disney themes are nowhere to be seen.

My hatred of all things Mickey notwithstanding, here's quick rundown of some of the key places I've been popping up over the last little bit. No real need to share a comment unless this kind of thing really turns you on (if you really want to share a thought - and I hope you do - voting is still open for this week's Caption This. Click here to skip on over.)

I post these tech roundups to the blog mainly for future reference. Otherwise, I forget how much I really do talk about this stuff. Here are some of the notable recent hits:
But Carmi Levy, senior vice-president of strategic consulting at AR Communications, said service reliability is a serious concern for companies like RIM, because if problems become routine, they can turn customers and prospective buyers away.

"It's a big issue and it's a growing issue," he said, adding that huge outages can prove to be "a major Achilles' heel" for RIM.

"Any time you have an outage of this scale, that receives the headlines that it does, it certainly is a cause for concern," said Carmi Levy, senior vice-president of strategic consulting for AR Communications. "RIM has to figure out a way to avoid single-point-of-failure type of outages and minimize the impact."

Levy did commend RIM for informing corporate clients quickly.

Although RIM was quick to redeploy its service, the outage illustrates the company's vulnerability whenever an upgrade goes bad, said Carmi Levy, senior vice-president of strategic consulting with AR Communications Inc.

"This will happen when all of your traffic goes through a choke point in your network," Mr. Levy said.

[Snip]

"At some point, architecturally, it makes sense for RIM to move to a more distributed model like Google uses, where they have data centres all over the place," Mr. Levy said.

Technology consultant Carmi Levy said another crash could damage the BlackBerry brand with users.

"From the CEO all the way to IT managers and the average person walking into a wireless store at the mall, they are all going to ask the question," Levy said.

"Isn't that the device that's always going down? At some point, it is potentially damaging to the brand and RIM wants to squelch that now before it gets worse," said Levy, senior-vice president of strategic consulting at Toronto's AR Communications.

[Snip]

The concentration of RIM's BlackBerry service at a single network operation centre in the Ontario city of Waterloo, through which traffic such as e-mails are routed, exacerbates such problems and leaves it open to more crashes, said Levy.

"Clearly an architecture where all of your traffic is routed into a relatively small choke point is not sufficient when you are responsible for servicing tens of millions of customers," Levy said.

"Imagine if Google were suddenly unavailable - the hue and cry that would result from such an outage.

"It's not an apple-to-apple comparison because Google is a search engine and web services company and RIM is a wireless messaging company, but still imagine if Google were unavailable."

[Snip]

"RIM needs to look at distributing what is essentially a vulnerable, centralized architecture. It needs to decentralize that to reduce those vulnerabilities," said Levy.

He used the example of Google, which rose from obscure search engine to one of the hottest Internet companies in the world in just a few years.

Google's infrastructure is decentralized, with multiple so-called "server farms" located in different geographical areas. If the main system fails for whatever reason, traffic can simply be routed and processed at another server.

That would take longer than the nine or 10 months that have elapsed since the last outage in April, Levy added, and is also very expensive.
Reuters dug up an analyst Carmi Levy, senior vice-president of strategic consulting at AR Communications to warn that if problems like this become routine, they can turn customers and prospective buyers away.

He said that huge pendulous outages could be "a major Achilles' heel" for RIM.


4 comments:

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Ha. I saw the Media Bistro headlines about the Blackberry outage and wondered if anyone had contacted you for a quote or a thought.

I'm good...You're better.

Surcie said...

Carmi, you are so cool!

I must know. . .How can you hate Mickey? I get that he represents conspicuous consumption and all that. But Disney World is an awful lot of fun!

BTW, thanks for the comment. I've decided to move to Montreal. Now to convince my husband.

scrappintwinmom said...

I happened to be reading the article on the RIM outage via Reuters online, and lo and behold - I see my good friend Carmi is quoted! Thought I'd drop by and say hi!

Lissa said...

Reuters "dug you up"? Now, there's some interesting creative license!! No hi-tech references, huh? They could have "clicked on Carmi" or "linked to Levy" but dug you up...? This feels like a return to the Dark Ages!!