The list of affected newspapers reportedly includes Thanh Nien, Tien Phong, Sai Gon Giai Phong, Voice of Vietnam, Zing and Bao Moi, all popular mainstream news sites in Vietnam which use the ePi content management system hosted on VinaData, a data center owned by Vietnamese tech company VNG.
In addition to the news sites, VNG services such as music player application Zing MP3, messaging application Zalo, online television service Zing TV, payment gateway ZaloPay and VNG’s online games also became inaccessible at the same time.
According to an email VinaData issued to its customers, these service disruptions were due to a power cut at Quang Trung Software City (QTSC) in Ho Chi Minh City, where the data center is based.
After power supply was reconnected, affected online newspapers and Zing’s services came back on at around 4:30 p.m. Zalo, ZaloPay and VNG’s online games however were still inaccessible as of 11 p.m. on Sunday.
The issue has affected many internet users in Vietnam as VNG’s services are widely used for business and communication.
Speaking to the press on Sunday afternoon, Nguyen Tan Hung, head of public relations at Ho Chi Minh City Power Corporation, asserted that the fault lies with VNG as the scheduled power cut had already been announced to QTSC, who in turn informed affected businesses including VNG, five days in advance.
Hung said the incident occurred due to an issue with VNG’s backup power generator. The tech firm’s representative however refused to comment on this.
According to security expert Nguyen Hong Phuc, it is considered “unacceptable” for such issues to occur at a data center just from a power cut.
“Electricity, network and cooling system are the three basics of a data center and the reason customers use its service instead of hosting their servers at home,” he said.
“The time it takes to perform maintenance or resolve incidents such as power cuts shows the abilities and quality of a center. If the downtime is one minute then it’s normal, five minutes is a big issue and 30 minutes to 1 hour is unacceptable.”
The incident on Sunday is the second time this year that VNG has encountered a systemic problem, following an incident in April in which detailed personal information of over 163 million Zing ID account owners were leaked on an online forum.
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