A “large amount of traffic” is the apparent culprit in Rackspace’s most recent email outage. However, the company isn’t saying whether it was hit by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.
On Jan. 7, Rackspace’s status page confirmed the widespread reports of email and applications outages, which affected Rackspace’s Microsoft Exchange 2007, Exchange 2010, email, administrator tools, and apps.
The company subsequently sent a follow-up email to customers addressing the problem:
“At 8:10 am CST Rackspace experienced a large influx of traffic directed at the email infrastructure… During this time, our engineers redirected all inbound traffic destined for our email servers, which resolved the issue for a majority of the impacted customers. At 2:35 pm, our engineers were able to restore email services for the remaining impacted customers.”
The company’s hosted apps and services (including Exchange) resumed normal operation at about 11:26 AM. Email took more time to bring back online.
Rackspace had a good 2012, with the stock price rising some 87 percent over the course of the year. In recent months, it has added block and object storage options, and teamed with Cloudant on a Database-as-a-Service (DaaS) offering. It also joined up with HortonWorks to provide an enterprise-ready, OpenStack public cloud-based Hadoop service.
In November, Rackspace CTO John Engates told SlashBI that his company remained committed to OpenStack, an open-source Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) Platform it developed with NASA. It was essential, he said, that the cloud remains open, despite some companies’ efforts to lock customer data into proprietary systems.
“These companies have grown up in the era of enterprise software and they’re addicted to enterprise software margins, magnitudes more profitable than what we make as a hosting company,” Engates said at the time. “Now you have software companies embracing cloud computing and taking the same enterprise-software playbook they’ve had for years and trying to run it in the cloud.”
But moving to the cloud, as this week’s Rackspace outage demonstrated, does come with the inevitable risk of downtime.