Skype Outage Caused by Windows Updates?

by Bruce Stewart

The latest news from Skype about their recent major outage is pointing the finger towards the autmatic Windows Update feature. Well, to be fair, they are actually blaming a "a previously unseen software bug within the network resource allocation algorithm which prevented the self-healing function from working quickly." But the latest post on the Skype blog indicates that the chain reaction was initiated when a large number of Skype clients were rebooted in the same timeframe, due to a routine Windows Update.

While it does seem plausible that a massive concurrent restart of Skype clients could cause some grief for Skype's network, that doesn't explain why it took 2 days to restore service. And I'm also left wondering why previous Windows Updates haven't caused similar problems. What do you think, is there more to this story?


2007-08-20 22:46:30

There is a clear explanation as to why the massive restart caused the grief for Skype network. They said it was a bug in their software. It is hard to blame MS when the reason is actually a bug in your software. Three days to find, fix and test a bug in a complex communication software and reinstall the update over all of many servers Skype has is pretty much a success.

Todd Ogasawara
2007-08-21 01:58:40
I dunno, Bruce. I'm having a hard time buying Skype's explanation. I guess it is possible, but somehow it doesn't seem probable. If it was a combo of a Skype bug and Patch Tuesday, wouldn't have we seen something similar in some other similar service like the various IM networks/clients that would restart on reboot (or near reboot)? And, many of these IM clients also have VoIP/VON capabilities (Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger, etc.). They can't all have perfect bug-free code. :-)