North American Network Operators Group

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Re: aol

  • From: Alex.Bligh
  • Date: Fri Aug 09 03:31:51 1996

> >   I was waiting for someone to bring this up, but it didn't happen.
> > 
> >   The "19 hour" outage of AOL was attributed to a new network
> >   operating system update, by at least one media story I read.  I'm
> >   curious is there're any interesting lessons from this for the rest
> >   of us? 
> Perhaps: Always make sure you have that "UnInstall" option available
> to you? =-)
> I paused for a moment and considered how interesting it is that
> a problem with an online service is now headline news... on the same
> day NASA announced there is(was) probably other life in the universe.
So AOL != Alien Originated Life? :-)

I saw this - blames a s/w upgrade:

America Online Service Outage Hits 6 Million

NEW YORK (Reuter) - America Online Inc. suffered a service outage that left
its more than 6 million subscribers without access to the world's largest
computer online service for most of Wednesday, according to a spokeswoman.

The outage began at 4 a.m. EDT as part of regularly scheduled maintenance
and software installation at the Dulles, Va.-based online service, America
Online spokeswoman Pam McGraw said.

A technical problem in installing new computer host software extended the
outage, making the system unavailable to the more than 6 million people
around the world, most of them in the United States, who subscribe to AOL,
McGraw said.

Service was restored late Wednesday.

``Every possible resource is being brought to bear to restore the service,''
America Online President Steve Case said in a statement. ``We regret any
inconvenience this may have caused our customers and we will work to ensure
that the problem does not reoccur.''

In addition to subscribers -- many of whom pay $9.95 a month for five hours
online and $2.95 for each additional hour -- the outage affected major media
operations, including The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times and Marvel
Comics, which publish online versions on America Online.

Chicago Tribune online editor John Lux said he became aware of the problem
when the Tribune found itself unable to post its online edition to AOL in
the morning.

``We have a couple of hundred thousand members in our area, many of whom
depend on reading the paper in the morning in the Chicago Tribune online
area'' of AOL, Lux said by phone. ``This has certainly been a problem for

A New York Times spokesman said his paper posted its online version to AOL
before the outage struck. The Times publishes another version of the paper
on the Internet's World Wide Web.

Service outages have plagued online and Internet services in recent months.

On June 19, the Netcom On-Line Communications Inc. Internet service
experienced a 13-hour unplanned outage.

Three days later, Microsoft Corp. shut down its network intermittently for
10 hours. The software giant's online serrvice had been scheduled for a
major power-supply upgrade, but U S West Communications Group was unable to
perform the work. Microsoft is due to take its 1 million members offline
again this fall in order to complete the work.

``If this (outage) is a sign that AOL can't handle its growth, that's a very
bad message for the professionals that use it,'' said industry analyst Gary
Arlen, president of Arlen Communications.

Corporate customers, to which AOL has recently stepped up its efforts to
attract, will not put up with as much unreliability as consumers, Arlen
said. ``I don't think AOL will get a second chance,'' he said.

America Online's ANS unit, which offers Internet and other network
connections to corporate customers, also reported problems Wednesday, saying
their ``backbone'' -- or trunk line -- was out of service for about half an
hour. That outage affected about 25 corporate customers, a spokeswoman said.

America Online, a proprietary online service that also provides Internet
access, has been one of the major success stories of the burgeoning consumer
online service and Internet access businesses. It heavily promotes itself by
mailing computer disks to potential subscribers, including the disks with
numerous computer magazines and advertising on television and in magazines.

AOL's Case recently said he believes the service will surpass 10 million
members by mid-1997.

But AOL's stock has slipped in recent weeks, descending steadily from its
high of $70 per share on May 7 to bottom out at $26 per share July 24.

America Online shares rose 62.5 cents to $34.875 on Nasdaq Wednesday after
trading as low as $32.25 after news of the outage was released. Stock in
America Online's archrival, CompuServe Corp., rose $1.125 to $14.875 on

Reuters, 01:46 08Aug96

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