San Francisco experienced a power outage yesterday that caused the 365 Main data center to go down. DataCenter Knowledge has all the details about why the backup generators failed. Techmeme is flooded with blog posts about the failure that affected sites like CraigsList, Technorati, LiveJournal, TypePad, AdBrite, Second Life and Yelp. Millions of users were not able to use these services.
Business users demand 24 X 7 X 365 uptime. This is why Google and Microsoft are building massive data centers costing $500 million each all over the country. There are only a few companies in the world that have the financial resources to build multiple data centers, and that have the technical skills to keep them running efficiently.
Free services and social networks can get by with some power outages and a few data losses. Users will complain...but life goes on. Not so with business users. There are huge impacts, both financial and legal, when service is interrupted or data is lost.
Software is increasingly moving towards hosted services. Microsoft is working hard to deliver "Software + Services" to give users the best of both worlds. Keeping data synchronized on clients and servers, and delivering a great user experience while on-line and off, is a big challenge.
The San Francisco data center crash may make people stop and think about who they want to trust with their data and services. That is why Microsoft and Google are spending billions on data centers.