Folks, the word is out on the official Skype Heartbeat Blog.
The outage that started on Thursday, August 16, 2007, was "triggered by a massive restart of [Skype users'] computers across the globe within a very short timeframe as they re-booted after receiving a routine set of patches through Windows Update."
It appears that the high number of restarts flooded Skype's network with log-in requests, aggravating the lack of peer-to-peer network resources. Ultimately, a chain reaction started that eventually prompted a "critical impact."
Excerpt from the blog entry:
Normally Skype’s peer-to-peer network has an inbuilt ability to self-heal, however, this event revealed a previously unseen software bug within the network resource allocation algorithm which prevented the self-healing function from working quickly.
Regrettably, as a result of this disruption, Skype was unavailable to the majority of its users for approximately two days.
The issue has now been identified explicitly within Skype. We can confirm categorically that no malicious activities were attributed or that our users’ security was not, at any point, at risk.
The entry went on to point out that though this disruption was unprecedented in its "impact and scope," very few technologies or communications network [for that matter] are guaranteed to operate without interruptions.
So, there you go. Now, it must be the first time that Windows Update has officially managed to bring down a peer-to-peer network, especially one as resilient and well-known as Skype. Perhaps Comcast might do well to take a leaf out from Microsoft's book rather than irritating its BitTorrent users to jump ship.
Anyway, the irony of it all aside, the golden question remains as to the state of users' confidence in Skype. Share with us how do you think the state of confidence in Skype now stands.
Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.