RIM: Software Upgrade Caused BlackBerry Failure

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2007-04-20 Print this article Print

The company says the shutdown that stopped e-mail service to BlackBerry users resulted from a software upgrade that went awry.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion announced late April 19 that it has determined the apparent cause of the shutdown that stopped e-mail service to BlackBerry users throughout North America earlier in the week.

According to a statement from the Waterloo, Ontario-based company, the shutdown on April 17 was related to a software upgrade that went awry, followed by a failover process that also didn't work properly.

The BlackBerry blackout happened when the company introduced a new, noncritical system routine into its database, officials said. The routine, according to RIM, was designed to improve cache optimization but instead caused a series of interaction errors between the databases and the cache.

"After isolating the resulting database problem and unsuccessfully attempting to correct it, RIM began its failover process to a backup system," company officials said in a statement. Officials said that the company had repeatedly tested the failover process successfully, but this time something went wrong.

"The failover process did not fully perform to RIM's expectations in this situation and therefore caused further delay in restoring service and processing the resulting message queue," officials said in the statement.

The company's statement goes on to say that its analysis continues and that it has identified certain aspects of its testing, monitoring and recovery process that need to be fixed to prevent this from happening again. "RIM apologizes to customers for inconvenience resulting from the service interruption," company officials said in the statement.

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Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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