Bing Travel goes up in flames

Posted on July 9, 2009


After getting into hot water last week when the similarities between Bing and Kayak were made all too apparent, Bing has gone from the frying pan into the fire, literally. The data centre in Seattle caught fire on Thursday, taking down Microsoft’s very impressive and very familiar looking travel search engine, Bing Travel.

Bing Travel was down for two days from Thursday through to Saturday, begging the question of why didn’t Microsoft have a back-up? Surely the biggest computer company in the world had a backup of Bing Travel?

This is very embarrassing for Microsoft right now as they’re about to launch their new product, Azure, which is all about backing your data up and storing it in the ‘cloud’. But as Microsoft can’t even keep their own Bing Travel website safe from disaster, who would trust them with their websites?

Microsoft gave the following excuse for Bing Travel’s downtime:

Bing Travel is a complex system of servers, databases and networking hardware that runs at massive scale. It takes a bit of time after an interruption of power such as this one to bring it back online. Given power was restored at 2 a.m. Saturday, we feel we had the service back up as quickly as was possible.

As part of the continued integration of Farecast (the company) into Microsoft, we have been (prior to this weekend’s incident) hard at work moving Bing Travel to the Microsoft Cloud Computing Platform. But again, given the complexity of this service and our desire to do this in a way that is invisible to customers, this process takes time and must be done carefully. We expect to have the move completed by early fall.

We at StuckOn think we’ll keep to using our own backups for now and consider Microsoft only when they’ve ironed out the kinks.

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