Apple's iCloud breaks

Apple’s ability to run an effective cloud system has been questioned after the entire edifice crashed for hours yesterday.

Apple’s iCloud faced a huge outage early Thursday, with services like iMessage, Photo Stream and Backup & Restore down for some.

According to Apple’s iCloud system status webpage, the downtime started at around 12:30 a.m. EDT and has continued for nearly 12 hours.

Apple lost its iCloud Documents, Photo Stream, iPhoto Journals, and Backup & Restore services. iMessage users saw some trouble and were unable to send or download attachments. There was a brief period in which users were unable to create an Apple ID.

The tame Apple press  rushed to defend the company, parroting the usual line that only a small percentage of users were affected by the outage. Apple typically says that any problem only affects a small number of users even when there have been a large number of complaints.

In this case, Apple said that only one percent of users had noticed any difference, but given that there are supposed to be 300 million members on the iCloud you are still talking about three million users, even if you believe the one percent figure.

This is the second time that Apple’s iCloud has been broken. In June more than 20 percent of users suffered from downtime.

Given that the cloud is supposed to grant immunity from downtime, there is something wrong with the way that Apple is doing it, particularly since it took so long to get up and running again.

Amazon and Google both had cloud outages recently but in those cases the services were down for minutes.