Yahoo Mail Takes Big Hit In Cloud Outage

Yahoo on Thursday evening could not say how many users were impacted when its popular e-mail service was down for several hours. Yahoo acknowledged the outage on its Twitter feed.

"Yahoo Mail is currently inaccessible to some users. We are working to correct the issue and restore all functionality immediately. We know that this may have caused some inconvenience and we apologize to our users who might be affected," Yahoo said on Twitter.

The outage sparked a maelstrom of gripes from Yahoo Mail users on Twitter. The outrage ranged from the angry: "Still have yet to receive any mail today from my Yahoo mail … this is FRUSTRATING!!!" as one user wrote; to the lighthearted: "If I miss any good deal on Groupon, it's on you."

Yahoo has not said what caused the Mail outage that left some users without access to e-mail for more than six hours and was ongoing at press time.

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Yahoo Mail is among the world's largest cloud-based e-mail services. In late October, Yahoo estimated the number of Yahoo Mail users globally at 273 million.

Yahoo's cloud e-mail outage is the most recent in a string of high-profile outages that rocked Web e-mail users.

In late February, Google's cloud e-mail service Gmail was hit with a massive outage that wiped out thousands of Gmail inboxes. Gmail users awoke to find messages in their Google Gmail inbox, folders and other data vanished. At its peak, the outage affected roughly 150,000 Gmail users. In the days that followed, Google apologized for the outage, calling it a "scare." Google said a software bug that was introduced by a storage update had caused the downtime. Google Gmail was back to full service within a few days.

And in late December, Microsoft's Windows Live Hotmail cloud-based e-mail service suffered an outage that temporarily deleted user inboxes of more than 17,000 users. The outage continued for four days.

In that case of the Windows Live Hotmail outage, users said they logged into their accounts starting Dec. 30, 2010 and noticed that e-mails, folders and other data had vanished and could not be recovered. Microsoft said it had fixed the problem by January 2, but users reported issues for two days later. Microsoft blamed the Hotmail outage on a load balancing issue between Hotmail servers.

The Yahoo Mail outage also comes as cloud pioneer Amazon battles the after affect of a sweeping cloud outage that took down its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Relational Database Service (RDS) for several days and knocked a host of Amazon cloud customers off-line.