In the event of outage, many questions are raised by the customers, an unsatisfying answer results in loss of the current and maybe even loyal customers. The event is magnified by the media which results in the decline of new users signing up. And depending upon the downtime the outage causes, the way a company responds to it, it may well be on its way losing its reputation.
So what according to you would happen if a company, who’s 23 Data Centers globally, goes down simultaneously? How many customers do you think it may stand to lose? CloudFlare is the company who just succeeded to come out of this problem. But contrary to what we believe, or we think we believe, the company says, it has lost very few customers, in fact, they still have 3,500 customers signing up every day.
What is CloudFlare?
CloudFlare is a Content Delivery Network or Content Distribution Network service provider. Basically, the company offers security for websites and helps in optimizing speed and performance of a website for each user. Apart from these services, it also provides Analytics data for your website, more than 25 apps you can use and benefit from and Alerts for threat control. It provides security from spammers and DDoS attacks.
The outage took place almost two weeks ago, which resulted in about 785,000 websites going down, some of them being Wikileaks, 4Chan and some U.S government sites as well. The outage lasted for nearly an hour and half. The outage was caused due to a bug in Juniper’s router software which took down all of CloudFlare’s 23 Data Centers. It took the company nearly 1hr 30mins to manually reset all the routers in 23 Data Centers globally.
CEO & co-founder of CloudFlare, Matthew Prince explained the reason of the outage in his blog, “The cause of the outage was a system-wide failure of our edge routers. CloudFlare currently runs 23 data centers worldwide. These data centers are connected to the rest of the Internet using routers. These routers announce the path that, from any point on the Internet, packets should use to reach our network. When a router goes down, the routes to the network that sits behind the router are withdrawn from the rest of the Internet.We regularly will shut down one or a small handful of routers when we are upgrading a facility. Because we use Anycast, traffic naturally fails to the next closest data center. However, this morning we encountered a bug that caused all of our routers to fail network wide.”
Where does it stand now?
Prince says, the outage notwithstanding, the company is still signing up 3,500 new customers each day. He told VentureBeat, “The [new customer] rate keeps growing and growing and growing”. Having acknowledged the customers inconvenience due to the issue in the blog, he further adds, “It was really painful, but sometimes an organization, in order to change and get better, has to experience pain”.
The users are in fact happy with the way CloudFlare handled the situation and responded to their queries, and also appreciated how the CloudFlare posted complete details of the outage on the company’s blog. Prince says that CloudFlare believes in transparency, “We were incredibly transparent with what happened. The next few days were enormously high sign-up days. And you read the comments on the blog with people saying, ‘We trust you more.” which is actually true, almost every alternate comment on the blog appreciated the company for disclosing the reasons honestly instead of playing blame game or distancing itself from giving reasons. The outage seems to have earned the trust of the existing customers and even helped them gaining new ones.
CloudFlare was funded by New Enterprise Associates for $20 million. It is one of the very few CDN services which offer free services as well. You can use basic features for free or sign up for premium plans, which include $20 per month for CloudFlare Pro, $200 per month for CloudFlare Business, $3000 per month for CloudFlare Enterprise. Others free CDN service include Incapsula and Coral Content Distribution Network.
Via – VentureBeat
Source – Cloudflare