Cloud storage undermines ‘fail-safe’ design of the internet

Outage highlights that, in the cloud, power is concentrated in a few at the top – as is risk

Fastly, which suffered an outage on Tuesday, manages 10 per cent of global website traffic. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Fastly, which suffered an outage on Tuesday, manages 10 per cent of global website traffic. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The internet was designed to not have any single point of failure.

Supposedly this was to ensure a communications network would survive a nuclear attack, a presumption that has since been cast into doubt. It’s certainly the case that down at the invisible-to-us level of the internet’s basic plumbing, its early engineers came up with an extraordinarily flexible structure that didn’t require the net’s data – be it a single email or all the information that produces a web page full of text, video and images – to be lumped together and sent down the same digital road.

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