Blackberry, and Why Single Points of Failure Suck

The thing that amazes me about all the current bleating with respect to the ongoing Blackberry network outage is why a) this doesn’t happen more often, and b) why people are surprised. I mean, c’mon, Blackberry devices run on a network overlay and proxies to facilitate the transmission of realtime messages. When the overlay or proxies go down, the Blackberry messaging network goes down. Boom.

It’s not that Blackberry network’s original engineering decision was wrong. It was perfect for a world of limited mobile bandwidth, smart-ish networks, and dumb-ish devices. The trouble is, of course, that’s no longer the current world. Instead we have more mobile bandwidth, dumb-ish networks and smart-ish devices. Pretty much the reverse of what was originally the case. The Blackberry overlay now looks misplaced: a single point of failure, a source of complexity and a barrier to application development on the platform.

blackberry-month.png[via Trendistic]

Adding insult to injury, of course, is that there is no decent realtime status page for the Blackberry network, so, as the above graph shows, users are left to whinge to one another about it on Twitter. Particularly amusing is that the company just relaunched an official blog, which readers are irritatedly reminding the company would have been better used to track status rather than flog products.

[Update] Here is a user’s-eye-view from Fred Wilson on the same subject.