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Alibaba Cloud suffers second service outage in a month

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows Alibaba Cloud service logo

BEIJING (Reuters) - Alibaba's cloud service said it suffered a near two-hour long disruption affecting customers in mainland China, Hong Kong and the United States on Monday, its second outage within a month.

The impact was mainly felt by several of Alibaba Cloud's database management products, including PostgreSQL, Redis and MySQL editions. Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Virginia in the U.S. were among eight regions affected.

"From 09:16 Beijing time (0116 GMT) on November 27, 2023, Alibaba Cloud monitoring detected abnormalities in console and OpenAPI access for database products," Alibaba Cloud said in a statement posted on its websites on Tuesday. The issue "was resolved at 10:58 on the same day."

Alibaba is China's largest cloud vendor, garnering 29.9% of the market share for the first half of 2023, followed by Huawei with 13.2% and China Telecom with 12.2%, according to data from industry research group IDC.

The latest issue comes after the company's customers suffered a service disruption on Nov. 12 that lasted over 3 hours and impacted a broader range of products, and affected a far more parts of the world.

Dozens of products impacted during that disruption included cloud-based database management systems and cloud communication systems, while the regions impacted ranged from East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East to North America.

The Nov. 12 disruption resulted in many of Alibaba's flagship application services briefly crashing - including shopping app Taobao and work collaboration tool service app DingTalk.

While Alibaba resolved the two outages, tech industy experts raised questions about the reliability of its cloud services.

"Such a high frequency of glitches is not reasonable," tech expert Feng Ruohang wrote in a WeChat blog post on Monday that garnered over 30,000 views. "This is hugely damaging to Alibaba Cloud's brand image as a reliable cloud service provider."

Alibaba this month announced that it was abandoning original plans to spin off its cloud business due to uncertainties created by U.S. export controls on chips used in artificial intelligence applications.

The e-commerce giant had initially announced plans to list the unit as part of a broad restructuring and analysts had estimated then that the cloud division could be worth $41-$60 billion.

(Reporting by Yelin Mo and Brenda Goh; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)