Thursday, July 14, 2011

Charlie Foxtrot visits Tele2 in Latvia and the Baltics

As I understand it, you weren't supposed to use obscenity on US Army radios, so instead of saying that something was a clusterfuck, you said Charlie Foxtrot instead. Well, today, and to some extent, still, tonight (2100 local time, July 14), Charlie Foxtrot visited Swedish-owned Tele2 in Latvia and took a chunk out of Lithuania and Estonia as well, knocking a total of well over two million customers off the network (just over a million in Latvia, a million pre-paid users in Lithuania, and the undisclosed prepaid part of a total of 467 000 users in Estonia).
The problems started just after 1400 local time when, according to Tele2's official version, a disturbance in electricity supply took down a major switch. To me, this was an immediate, red-flag WTF?? because mission critical switches have, by default, big motherfuckers of UPS (uninterrupted power supplies) that will keep things going until utility power is restored or switched to emergency generators.
My theory is more that there was some kind of perfect storm event or someone stumbled across a power cable (between the UPS and the Mother of All Switches, if that is possible) causing enough of a power fluctuation to crash the switch at a software level and perhaps fuck up some vital hard disks. That is just my guess.
Business and post-paid customers in Lithuania were unaffected, and in Estonia, pre-paid customers were only down for around 20 minutes, or so the spokesperson said.
Whatever happened, it possibly showed the downside of Tele2  and possibly other operators rationalizing their networks by concentrating services in one switching center (for smaller countries like the Baltics). It appears that prepaid service (billing, switching) were run for all three Baltic countries on servers/switches in Riga. Given how mission critical (more mission critical than if the supporting device and software systems were distributed) the Riga switch is, one wonders how there could be any event involving electric power that could take it down. Some part of the truth may come out tommorrow (July 15).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And is this just me not seeing it, or there is no announcement of their website regarding the issue? CF invloved in that as well perhaps?