Historically, Cloudflare has covered large-scale Internet outages with timely blog posts, such as those published for Iran, Sudan, Facebook, and Syria. While we still explore such outages on the Cloudflare blog, throughout 2022 we have ramped up our monitoring of Internet outages around the world, posting timely information about those outages to @CloudflareRadar on Twitter.
The new Cloudflare Radar Outage Center (CROC), launched today as part of Radar 2.0, is intended to be an archive of this information, organized by location, type, date, etc.
Furthermore, this initial release is also laying the groundwork for the CROC to become a first stop and key resource for civil society organizations, journalists/news media, and impacted parties to get information on, or corroboration of, reported or observed Internet outages.
What information does the CROC contain?
At launch, the CROC includes summary information about observed outage events. This information includes:
- Location: Where was the outage?
- ASN: What autonomous system experienced a disruption in connectivity?
- Type: How broad was the outage? Did connectivity fail nationwide, or at a sub-national level? Did just a single network provider have an outage?
- Scope: If it was a sub-national/regional outage, what state or city was impacted? If it was a network-level outage, which one?
- Cause: Insight into the likely cause of the outage, based on publicly available information. Historically, some have been government directed shutdowns, while others are caused by severe weather or natural disasters, or by infrastructure issues such as cable cuts, power outages, or filtering/blocking.
- Start time: When did the outage start?
- End time: When did the outage end?
Using the CROC
Radar pages, including the main landing page, include a card displaying information about the most recently observed outage, along with a link to the CROC. The CROC will also be linked from the left-side navigation bar
Within the CROC, we have tried to keep the interface simple and easily understandable. Based on the selected time period, the global map highlights locations where Internet outages have been observed, along with a tooltip showing the number of outages observed during that period. Similarly, the table includes information (as described above) about each observed outage, along with a link to more information. The linked information may be a Twitter post, a blog post, or a custom Radar graph.
As mentioned in the Radar 2.0 launch blog post, we launched an associated API alongside the new site. Outage information is available through this API as well — in fact, the CROC is built on top of this API. Interested parties, including civil society organizations, data journalists, or others, can use the API to integrate the available outage data with their own data sets, build their own related tools, or even develop a custom interface.
Information about the related API endpoint and how to access it can be found in the Cloudflare API documentation.
We recognize that some users may want to download the whole list of observed outages for local consumption and analysis. They can do so by clicking the “Download CSV” link below the table.
The status page the Internet needs (coming soon)
Today’s launch of the Cloudflare Radar Outage Center is just the beginning, as we plan to improve it over time. This includes increased automation of outage detection, enabling us to publish more timely information through both the API and the CROC tool, which is important for members of the community that track and respond to Internet outages. We are also exploring how we can use synthetic monitoring in combination with other network-level performance and availability information to detect outages of popular consumer and business applications/platforms.
And anyone who uses a cloud platform provider (such as AWS) will know that those companies' status pages take a surprisingly long time to update when there's an outage. It's very common to experience difficulty accessing a service, see hundreds of messages on Twitter and message boards about a service being down, only to go to the cloud platform provider's status page and see everything green and "All systems normal".
For the last few months we've been monitoring the performance of cloud platform providers to see if we can detect when they go down and provide our own, real time status page for them. We believe we can and Cloudflare Radar Outage Center will be extended to include cloud service providers and give the Internet the status page it needs.
If you have questions about the CROC, or suggestions for features that you would like to see, please reach out to us on Twitter at @CloudflareRadar.