Yahoo Mail was in the news last week due to a major email outage, which began last Monday and persisted through the notorious Friday the 13th.
After the week-long, round the clock ordeal, Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's CEO, provided an update last Friday with a general outline of what went wrong and what efforts were being made to fix the problem.
In the tumblr statement, Mayer indicated that the Yahoo mail engineering team was notified last Monday of a hardware outage in a storage system that served about 1% of Yahoo's email users. The mail team worked with the storage team to restore access and move to a backup system. A full recovery was estimated to be completed by early Tuesday afternoon.
However, as noted by Mayer, due to the problem being a "particularly rare one" and "since different users were impacted in different ways" the issue was more persistent than originally thought and not immediately corrected.
"Some of the affected users were unable to access their accounts, instead seeing an outdated "scheduled maintenance" page which was a confusing and incorrect message (this has since been corrected and updated). Further, messages sent to those accounts during this time were not delivered, but held in a queue," she stated.
Over the course of the week, the Yahoo team worked on restoring access and email messages to inboxes. As of Friday afternoon, the majority of users had access restored and the backlog of messages delivered. According to Mayer, the remaining issues related to restoring IMAP access for Outlook and Apple Mail users and fully restoring inbox state.
"For many of us, Yahoo Mail is a lifeline to our friends, family members and customers. This week, we experienced a major outage that not only interrupted that connection, but caused many of you a massive inconvenience -- that's unacceptable and it’s something we're taking very seriously. Unfortunately, the outage was much more complex than it seemed at first, which is why it's taking us several days to resolve the compounding issues," Mayer said.
Although these things happen, having a main line of communication cut around the holidays is never a happy event for either the user or the provider. That this went on for almost a week raises questions about Yahoo Mail's recovery strategy and why the problem was considered so unique and difficult to resolve. Although companies tend not to disclose specifics when something like this breaks, it would be interesting to know what the "rare" problem was that could take down the email giant for almost a week.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bill Oliver has been working in Healthcare for the past 30+ years in a variety of management roles including Material Management, Purchasing, Nurse Registry, and IT. In the past 12 years his focus has been on the business end of IT Contracts, Software Licensing and Purchasing.