“The edge cloud platform behind the best of the web,” is how Fastly describes itself. It’s fair to say that the claim hasn’t aged well, as they say on the internet. Even the most technologically backward of web users will, as of yesterday, be familiar with the now ironically-named web server company.
The better news that emerged from a day of catastrophic, and costly outages (including of The Independent’s website), is that the disruption was not, on this occasion, the work of sovereign entities or malicious players. Though on a mega-scale, it seems to be more like the kind of “server down” mishap that IT departments have to deal with all the time.
Even so, it was something of a shock to see how the failure of one link in the web could cause quite so much chaos quite so, well, “fastly”. Governments, companies, media companies and millions of individuals were caught up in the mess, and it soon became apparent that it was difficult for many of them to communicate en masse with their users, though social media and email were unaffected.