So the popular messaging service, Whatsapp had a worldwide outage last night and reports are coming in that the service is still not completely in full health.
Naturally, everyone under the sun went into an immediate panic mode and took to online social media to voice their concerns for what many (jokingly) referred to as the end of days.
Whilst all that was happening, we couldn’t help but think about how much we rely on connected technologies such as Whatsapp, more specifically, how much we rely on servers.
We’re not saying the result of the Whatsapp outage was due to server issues – nothing has been confirmed yet as the actual culprit. But it does bring up the topic of the network and infrastructure that glues such a service together.
Servers are one of those things that doesn’t really cross our minds on a daily basis – that’s understandable, but for something we depend on so much, it’s one of those things we don’t realise we need.
Last night’s outage has just demonstrated how connected our technologies are and what kind of impact it may have if it was taken down – and quite effectively too. The more we depend on services like these, the more we need services to remain up.
Whilst Whatsapp is purely a communication tool, the outage of a similar messaging app like WeChat would not fare as well.
WeChat, which is more popular in Asia, has started to grow beyond just a messaging app and now allows users to make payments with it. This has been widely adopted in China, where shops and businesses would happily take WeChat as a form of payment, just like you would with Paypal or Apple/Android pay. An outage of a couple of hours would literally financially hit some businesses.
As the dust settles on the Whatsapp outage, questions would be raised and topics would crop up. Why did it go down? What can we do better to stop this happening? How reliant are we? Can we expect more things like this? and what are doing to protect it all?