back to article RIM stands, staggers, falls again

BlackBerry Messenger is down again, despite RIM's assurances that everything would be fine. It seems lots of people can't get connected and partners are receiving notifications about ongoing problems. Despite the fact that the Canadian company has replaced the failing core switch, the service fell down yet again, leaving many …

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  1. John Young 1
    Unhappy

    Still down...

    It's still down as of 12:41pm (Orange PAYG).

    Occasionally it will work for maybe 5 minutes, then drops for another 45 minutes or so..,,

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      If it makes you feel better

      Apple's MobileMe has come out in sympathy.

      Mail has been up and down like a whore's drawers all day.

      1. The Original Ash
        Happy

        Ahhhh, there there...

        At least my Android handset (tenuously linked to Google, for Market access only) is completely unaffected by service disconnections and downtime.

        Something about "eggs" and "baskets" spring to mind.

    2. miknik
      Big Brother

      Woefully inefficient

      I mean come on, how long does it take to install a back door for governments to eavesdrop through?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Genuine question here

    How is consumer BBM free? Does it ultimately count against your data allowance?

    1. Michael Downie

      BBM uses the blackberry network rather than the normal data network, because you pay the premium for the extra blackberry internet service

  3. scifidale
    Thumb Down

    This is an awful cock up on their part and shows how relient BB users are on one infrastructure set. I would still say that even bes express provides more granular control of a business device than an android/iphone or windows phone can with exchange active sync. I support both and I dont have to worry much about BB's where I worry all the time about active sync connected phones and there app happy end users.

    Unless RIM go horribly bust and everything dies I still dont see a more secure/controllable way of providing email/messaging to the business users.

    1. Turtle_Fan

      While i don't disagree entirely, i don't see active sync as the hole riddled mess you agonise about.

      Their policy tools allow enough granularity of control to be safe but most deployments i have seen go for the bare minimums for the sake of an elusive user-friendliness. (Eg why allow any as-capable phone to carry the data and not limit it to 2-3 types vetted by it?)

      In the end, both devices are equally susceptible to the greatest vulnurability of them all; user complacency.

      And even though it will make IT's life much harder, bb's are falling behind in ever increasing speeds. They're safe allright, but also underspecced to painful extremes and badly priced to boot.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge
        FAIL

        BES express needed a different server (well VS) all to itself as it moaned about the DC, moaned about exchange 2010, its also a resource hog too (to say it is an express version). Even after installing it and we had it running it couldnt work properly with exchange 2010. Imap is not a substitute no matter what the techies at RIM say. Anyway, after the service pack (a good 5 months later) it eventually worked but still drops out far more than activesync (which needs the odd reboot of devices maybe once a week)

        Activesync on our venerable windows 6.1 devices have worked flawlessly. Out 6.5 works fine and our sony x10 xperia work fine. All with exchange 2010 using activesync. Hell, even employees with iphones havent had an issue.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @scifidale

      "Unless RIM go horribly bust and everything dies I still dont see a more secure/controllable way of providing email/messaging to the business users."

      Have a look at Good for Enterprise from Good Technology for you "app happy" end users. It provides a encrypted, sandboxed environment for corporate email, secure intranet browser, contacts and calendar integration with Exchange and Domino on iOS, Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile. RIM actually paid Good $200m+ to license the architecture, so if you are familiar with the BES architecture, Good won't be a problem for you.

      You can kiss goodbye to active sync...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Good - not so good (from what I hear at least)

        Seriously, if you're not going with BB why would you want to recreate the 3rd-party hosted dependency of RIM's infrastructure?

        For ActiveSync capable devices the hot ticket these days seems to be MobileIron, Airwatch or Boxtone. I have seen a few clients go with Good, but the $/value just doesn't seem to be there for most.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        My company has deployed several Good Mobile servers, they seem to have problems staying up and running for any longer than a day and a half at a time.

        In fact we are having to manually bring them online and take them down several times a week now.

        Anon for a reason

      3. Combat Wombat
        Mushroom

        Used good...

        It's a fucking awful app.

        Sync is slow

        Introduces processing overhead to iphones... they become a slow responding POS with good installed.

        Administrating good when you swap a handset is a PITA.

        we tried good in our environment... it sucked.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Come on

    "jokes about three days of mourning for Steve Jobs and puns based around BlackBerry Crumble"

    Where are the jokes then ?

    1. Thomas 4

      In other news

      A wave of peace quiet has broken out across London today as rioters were unable to access the BBM network.

  5. HP Cynic

    Not happy with the biased phrase "making the iPhone an increasingly attractive alternative". Sure it might be, but I'm pretty sure that if RIM permanently pulled the plug tomorrow a lot of it's customers would move to Android or Windows too.

    Disclaimer: I don't yet have any SmartPhone nor a favourite among them. Still considering EITHER iPhone, Android 4 or the next wave of Nokia Windows phones or just..... not getting any :P

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Optional

    You know, for a while I'd been slating RIM constantly for the trash that is the torch, for their idiotic decisions regarding app dev for he PlayBook - they gave me the one I'm using for free - and for their general inability to be as awesome as they were when I got my first one six-odd years back.

    Now, though I have flip-flopped to an irrational loyalty. I mean, seriously, can't catch a break! So, their software doesn't make things scroll right, and their app world has as many games total as the iphone has backgammon clones, and their CEOs are insane, and their code signing tool will delete your whole hard drive if you put in 'C:\' instead of 'C:\bbkeys\. What company -doesn't- have a few of those problems?

    It's prejudice, I tell you. Prejudice.

  7. Ian Stephenson Silver badge
    Pint

    Apple increasingly attractive....

    Until I can get an iPhone free, on a cheapo contract - say £15/month over 2 years ot wont be that attractive.

    Saying that I may go 'droid when this curve 3g gives up the ghost or VM need to bribe me further not to take my viewing to sky (last year was the blackberry for £12 a month this year a V+ box for nowt).

    I'm not willing to pay more than a couple of cases of cider a month for any phone.

    I do like my iPod Touch as a toy/imdb viewer/ebook reader though.

    1. John 62

      free iPhone+contract?

      that'll be the 3GS, then

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        no ta

        an android xperia pro (not x10 - the new gingerbread 1ghz one) can be had for that money - I preordered one on Tmobile. Id much rather have that than an iphone 3gs tbh. Plays flash native too.

      2. Ian Stephenson Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        @John 62

        The missing word would be "cheap"

  8. Mage Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Single vendor

    A Cloudy service with a single operator? No thanks.

    I have various email with various providers.

    Is this the future of iThings and Azure/xbox etc?

    I can't see an iPhone being better in the LONG term...

    1. Mike 102
      WTF?

      and your email problem is?

      I have 5 email accounts all accessed via my iPhone. plus a couple of goggle calendars...

  9. DJ 2

    12 GMT it's back up again, I just got a slew of Emails, first in 4 hours.

  10. boombelly
    Windows

    "Like a drunk in denial, RIM keeps telling us it is absolutely fine, before staggering around for a bit and finally collapsing in an unresponsive heap"

    Presumably, RIM will soon release a statement telling us that they love us, that we are their best mate, before challenging us all to a fight and ending with a few rambling lines from 'We Are the Champions'.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not working

    I work for one of the big 4 and can confirm my Blackberry is not working/intermittent. Seems to be affecting email for around a third of users (based on colleagues) but BBM & internet is off for all.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm

    Are they using MS server software?

  13. iMess
    Facepalm

    So what did you do before..

    People survived well before this tech, why is it so difficult to adjust. Oh right thats it, jump on to the Apple Cloud. I'm waiting for that to trip as well.

    With my nokia 8210, i can make calls and receive them. I'm sure your blackberry can too. Just use that feature!

    Also great customer service.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      ahhhh...

      ...The "I don't want this product, therefore nobody should" gambit. How about, "I'm on an inssanely loud trade show floor, can't leave, and can't talk voice'? How about, "I'm in an insanely quiet library / car / etc and can't speak'? Or any other of a gadzillion reasons one might not want to 'just usethe voice feature'.

      Your requirements are not the same as others'. It is not a requirement for other people to act like you in order to be, well, whatever it is you want them to be. Deal with it.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wasn't affected during the first outage but I have been affected today. My company is a US company and I'm located in Europe. We have our own BES infrastructure in the US but I'm still experiencing the issue. Its my understanding that BES is still being routed via RIM.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Outage? What outage?

    Dunno what the fuss is all about - my BB has been functioning normally all week - including email. I heard about some apparent problems with RIM's infrastructure, so I've had webmail open in the background on my work PC, but the phone has continued to receive email sometimes even before webmail has noticed it.

    Could be that I run my own email server though - I don't rely on an enterprise server - although it is still RIM's core service which pops the account on my mailserver and pushes to my phone...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing unexpected here

    At least in the UK they pay under the market price so I am not surprised that their staff is not up to scratch.

    I wasted my time on an interview with them only to be offered 20K under what is offered by other "Friendly bomb" region outfits.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Steve havent gone to haven.

    The iSteve ghost swapping the cable in BB data centre So people will switch to iCloud..

    Send the ghost busters team..... or Exorcist

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      It was very kind of RIM to hold a two day silence in honour of Steve Jobs

  18. CheesyTheClown
    Thumb Up

    And all 75 remaining users were really upset!

    Without these services, how would the last of their users support each other?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Having a BES doesn't make much difference, you still need to pass traffic via the RIM NOC.

    Guess what's swamped with the backlog of data.

  20. Stephen Channell
    WTF?

    IPhone ?

    The line "and making the iPhone appear an increasingly attractive alternative" is somewhat misplaced as the keyboard is such a big feature for Blackberry.. customers are more likely to switch to Android or even WinPhone7 rather than an Apple.

    Makes Microsoft's assertion "..we could be No3.." look prophetic

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Really?

      ...with such teeny, tiny keys? That's the reason why BB was defo out for me...and why would I want to lug around something where half the real estate is tied up with tiny little keys where trying to press one presses 5 or 6 around it?

      I'm no Apple-fanboi by any means but I do have to admit that their soft keyboard (portrait AND landscape) were pretty "key" for me (yeah, sorry).

      1. Darryl

        Thing is, those teeny tiny keys are pretty well designed and only take a few days to get used to. I replaced my old Curve a couple months ago with a Nexus S and I'm STILL having a hard time typing on it. Constantly backspacing and correcting

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I recently moved from BlackBerry to iPhone, and have been surprised at how little I miss the keyboard. It took a bit of getting used to, but I reckon I’m now every bit as quick at typing on the iPhone as I ever was on the BB, and I do a lot of email on the move.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        I dunno, I have a desireHD and an xperia pro, I miss the keyboard on the HD even with the bigger screen.

  21. John Young 1

    Update from RIM

    BlackBerry UK & Ireland

    In order to provide as much information as possible on service levels, we have created a single information source on our website - for the latest information please visit http://uk.blackberry.com/servi​ceupdate

    1. dubno
      FAIL

      gawd-- even that has fallen over...

      Service Temporarily Unavailable

      The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.

  22. Andrew Stubbs
    Childcatcher

    Won't someone think of the children!

    How are they going to organise their riots now?

    1. Shakje

      Hi Andrew

      Welcome to two days ago.

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sometimes it's a shame

      ...when the voice still works ; )

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Updates!

    http://uk.blackberry.com/serviceupdate/

  25. Neill Mitchell

    How long?

    Until we get the now standard "a small number of our customers were affected" press release.

  26. eddy balem

    Who did it

    Is it possible the problem is because blackberry is difficult to hack and monitor by intelligence agencies?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    errrrr hang on a second!

    "...leaving users disconnected and making the iPhone appear an increasingly attractive alternative".

    thank god there's just the one alternative to the blackberry...... if there had been more than one we might have gotten all confused as to which one to choose!

  28. Arse Face

    RIMmers

    And I only bought a blackberry a few weeks ago for work purposes as I was advised it was probably the best of the smartphones for dealing with my emails... It has been mostly good, until a few days ago... Sods law, I guess....

  29. Spotthelemon

    The Devils work

    "According to folklore legend, on the 10th October the Devil pees on the blackberries and they become unfit"

    - taken from Allotment Vegetable growing

    The BBC nature pages have a variant on it

    "On Old Michaelmas Day (10th Oct) the Devil puts his foot on blackberries"

    & monday when I believe all this started was the 10th October.

    Coincidence ?

    1. cloudgazer

      Unholy crap! I thought you were making this up, but this is really true! Satan has cursed blackberry! Switch to the iPhone now folks - the Jesus Mobe saves.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know what the problem is

    They must have followed the celebs advice "turn the server on and off again".

    1. Ilgaz

      No, unplug the server and ups

      In Blackberry tradition and because how the OS/Network works, removing battery and re-plugging is a common "solution". You can bet a lot of BB users did today since to do anything related to BIS (e.g. activate subscription), operator instructs you to do so.

      Sad thing is, I sense another MS Winphone partner (!) soon.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "turn the server on and off again".

      Surely they mean turned off then on again? Just shows what celebs know eh?

      On another note, according to his update at 17:44 yesterday - http://www.rim.com/newsroom/service-update.shtml - the CIO wants to "connect with you directly"....

      .... We are RIM. Existence, as you know it, is over. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Resistance is futile.

  31. John Sanders
    FAIL

    My mouth is sore...

    Of saying that RIM lost the plot a while ago.

  32. Microphage

    Failing core switch?

    Why would a distributed messaging system route all its traffic through a core switch?

  33. AlexS
    Thumb Down

    Funny how...

    Funny how the people whose businesses are "serious effected" by this, somehow manage to find the time and technology to post on this site and the BBC sites of their outrage and inconvenience

    So it's down for 3 or 4 days.... so what - welcome to the world of modern technology where NOTHING is perfect. If it's superhypercritical then get some sort of back up, and then get over it.

  34. Timo

    I remember when RIM came out and everyone carried two phones

    When the first blackberries first came out everyone carried their blackberry for work, but then also carried around another phone for voice as the performance of the blackberries were completely terrible. That seemed to fade after a while, but now I'm noticing that people are carrying a Blackberry as well as an iPhone or Android phone. This time for access to the data and apps I bet.

    I'll bet that all it would take is some enterprise-grade iPhone controls and people would drop their Blackberry in a second. These guys have nowhere to go but farther down.

  35. Stuart Elliott
    Holmes

    Strokes Chin.. Hmm...

    "as Apple's competitor to BBM, iMessage, is being launched later today.", coincidence much?

    Muahahahahahaha.

  36. Ocular Sinister
    Black Helicopters

    Call me paranoid...

    ...but BBM goes on the blink six weeks after large scale riots are organised with the help of BBM. Having trouble with that government monitory software patch, are you RIM?

  37. TkH11

    My theory

    They've made an announcement that a core switch died, and the back-up also died.

    I just don't believe that. Both switches failed independtly of each other within 2 days of each other? I smell BS!

    if it is true, given the level of criticality these applications have for their users, and many of those users are business users! a redundancy of one device is no way sufficient. Idiots.

    If your primary fails you then switch over to your back up, that places you at high risk because you've got no futher backups, and it means your top priority has to get the primary device fixed as quickly as possible, incase your back-up also fails. So running off a single back-up, when that back-up is activated because your primary has failed, you're already running at a reduced level of service with an increased level of risk compared to the normally fully functioning state.

    I would be surprised if this is a hardware failure in both devices, my betting is they've hit a software bug within the switch and both primary and back-up switches are identical: identical hardware, identical software, one bug hits one and then is liable to hit the other as they're identical. Idiots.

  38. TkH11

    @Microphage

    Answer: because that's how the network and/or service designers designed the infrastructure.

    There's nothing wrong with having a large amount of traffic routed through one switch so long as it has the capacity to cope and there is sufficient redundancy which clearly there isn't.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Making the iPhone appear an increasingly attractive alternative.

    Or, in-fact, any other handset manufacturer.

    I know that for some, it's hard to grasp that there are handset manufacturers other than Apple, but trust me, they are out there.

  40. TkH11

    @AC, RIM NOC

    I disagree with your use of the word NOC. NOCs don't route traffic. The NOC technically is the processes, people and technology which enables the service provider to assure their services. And this will typically consist of fault management systems: the applications and infrastructure to support that, trouble ticketing systems, performance management systems and so on.

    Now some companies co-locate their NOC with operational network equipment in the same building, indeed the servers used to support the NOC can even be located in the same racks as the comms equipment but fundamentally the NOC does not route 'service' traffic.

    1. David Neil

      Fair enough, but that's what RIM have been calling it in update calls with Enterprise customers, sounds like they are calling their 'barely' functioning network location their Network Operations Centre (NOC)

    2. Bruce Grunewald
      Boffin

      RIM calls their data/routing centers a NOC

      I work for a managed services provider, and to us and most others in IT, the NOC monitors the health of the network, but RIM are Canadians.

      I was surprised by initial reports that BES was unaffected, because every BES server must communicate with a NOC to exchange mail with the handsets. It is possible that RIM provides more back end services to BIS than BES, and that is why BIS is affected more. My recollection is that there were 2 or 3 NOCs that handle the entire world. It seems like a crazy architecture to me, being so centralized, but I assumed they had some really good backup/failover capability. I would have thought that RIM would have the ability to fail over to a backup NOC, but their architecture may make this difficult. Keep in mind that every handset is sending all data communication (web, email, BBM, IM, etc) through a NOC, The only exceptions are SMS (done by the voice network) and Internet access if you are using WiFi instead of the cellular network.

      I did work for a credit card authorization provider and they ran everything on Tandem or Stratus systems (built with lots of internal redundancy), and if they lost an entire machine they could bring up another one very quickly. They had redundant X.25 links from multiple providers, and an X.25 switch (my part, sigh) with a lot of built in redundancy. Those guys were serious about eliminating single points of failure. If they are still around, perhaps they can get some consulting work with RIM.

      Also, don't assume that when RIM says a "core switch" failed, they mean a Cisco 6509 or similar. They don't really tell partners anything about the internals of the NOC, but it wouldn't surprise me if a "core switch" is what we would call a server, or perhaps even a mainframe. Remember they are doing message switching, which is usually a store and forward setup like SMTP.mail servers.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you're fed up with RIM/Blackberry, and in an enterprise environment, then you could consider McAfee EMM - Works with iOS, droid, symbian, windows, heck, even BB. I've tried Good on an iPhone, and the McAfee product integrates much more nicely into the iPhone's natural way of doing things.

    Anonymous, because, well, I work for McAfee, and don't want to out myself.

  42. NX1977
    Childcatcher

    Hackers at work?

    No one has yet thought of hackers.

    Remember how pissed the script kiddies were that RIM was to hand over logs to the UK police investigating the recent rioting and how they promised to target them soon?

    I cant see a core switch being a) so hard to figure out, and b) taking so long to fix. There's more to this than meets the eye....

    But how long until RIM fess up? What was the target time-to-fess-up set by Sony over PSN again?

  43. James Anderson
    Pint

    Am I the only one thinking....

    .. a couple more of these high profile outages and no one will notice when our H/A and D/R collapse in a heap and leaving our customers without service.

  44. Ilgaz

    BES effected

    Just heard a large bank (not naming) had a total nightmare in communications today.

    As they must be running their own BES, can assume enterprise must be effected. Guys were really, really pissed.

    Anyway, I couldn't check for updates on a consumer BB just yesterday, from a computer. Their app was really acting very strange.

    This downtime, with their greedy network partners all over the continent making sure they will get the money from the 48+ hours of downtime will sure mark the day of BB's ultimate decline.

  45. Daniel B.
    FAIL

    Crash!

    Having been mostly unaffected by the Blackberry disservice ... today, we've been hit. HARD.

    Most of the day my BB icon has been showing ... but I haven't been able to actually SEND or RECEIVE messages. ARRRGH!!!

    RIM, Fix This Thing! I can't get others to buy into BB if the damn thing loses connectivity while convincing new people! :P

  46. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Happy

    Thank Christ for small mercies!

    As BB seems to be primarily used by teenagers to tell each other how pissed they got last night on White Lightning cider ( alright, de-icer with apple flavouring! ) I can't see that the BB network going down is any great loss!

    Yes it's used by businesses but only so managers can massage their egos and appear "on the ball" by checking their bloody emails every two seconds! With the BB being down it's given we underlings some peace and quiet to get on with our work, as the managers cannot keep nagging us while they're out and about on third-party vendor jollies!

    Just stay down until Friday afternoon, please!!!

  47. etabeta
    Thumb Down

    I object to the fact that everything (except voice) that a RIM phone sends or receives has to pass through RIM infrastructure. This makes the phone extremely dependent on the company that sells it, and if by chance they go bankrupt and cease operations, all RIM users will be left with a bunch of expensive toys, and be lucky if they can still make a regular phone call. I don't like being dependent on both RIM and the cellular network's infrastructure, too many things can go wrong without knowing who's fault it is.

  48. Tom Wood

    http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4414&Itemid=35

    Blackberries are owned by people who think they're incredibly important, whereas iPhones are owned by people who think iPhones are incredibly important and Android phones are owned by poor people who don't matter."

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