IBM Cloud suffers major global outage

IBM building

IBM Cloud suffered a global outage last night, heavily impacting users who rely on the company’s cloud computing services such as Kubernetes and Red Hat.

Problems started to arise at around 10:30pm BST on Tuesday, when users reported unresponsive websites to DownDetector.

The company's own status page was impacted by the outage due to it being hosted on the IBM Cloud. Its internal server error page read: “Sorry, we've encountered an error on our end, and our developers are working on clearing this up. Please try reloading the page or following these links back”.

To the frustration of many users, IBM Cloud did not immediately address the outage. In the early hours of the morning, its Twitter account issued the following statement: “IBM Cloud services are being restored following a reported outage earlier today. We are focused on restoring full services as soon as possible.”

Jay Gilmore, customer success director at MODX Cloud, detailed his experience in reply to IBM Cloud’s tweet: “Communication in a customer crisis is a must. It was extra frustrating because the status page was unavailable, it took two hours for a single tweet about the issue and Notification Center wasn't available because IAM was down.”

At 2:54am BST, IBM Cloud announced that the entirety of their services had “now been restored”.

However, its users were not impressed. As one of them pointed out, IBM’s own IT Infrastructure page markets its IBM Z computer with the rhetorical question: “Can you afford even one hour of downtime?”

IBM Cloud’s outage lasted around four hours. At the time of writing, it is not known what caused the outage or how many people were affected by the downtime.

The outage came only hours after IBM decided to “sunset” its general-purpose facial recognition and analysis software suite over ethical concerns following a fortnight of Black Lives Matter protests. Despite putting a lot of efforts into developing its AI-powered tools, the cloud giant will no longer distribute these systems for fear that it could be used for purposes that go against the company’s principles of trust and transparency.

Sabina Weston

Having only graduated from City University in 2019, Sabina has already demonstrated her abilities as a keen writer and effective journalist. Currently a content writer for Drapers, Sabina spent a number of years writing for ITPro, specialising in networking and telecommunications, as well as charting the efforts of technology companies to improve their inclusion and diversity strategies, a topic close to her heart.

Sabina has also held a number of editorial roles at Harper's Bazaar, Cube Collective, and HighClouds.