How A Broken API Led To Tesla’s Entire Network Going Down, Locked Out Customers From Their Cars, And Disrupted Company-wide Operations.


On the 23rd of September, early Wednesday, Tesla, the pioneering electric automaker, suffered one of its worst network outages that affected both internal and customer-facing operations.

Tesla’s vehicles rely on the Internet to function; owners use the web-based Tesla mobile app to unlock their vehicle, navigate, remotely control its temperature settings, etc. With the app going down because of the outage, owners could not access their vehicles electronically and had to use physical keys (which a lot of them didn’t possess).

The outage derailed internal operations, too; the staff were prevented from processing orders and deliveries as the company’s website remained inaccessible.

Early investigations revealed a broken network API (Application Programming Interface) to have caused the outage. APIs connect the mobile app to the vehicle’s sensors and help data flow to and from the network components. A break in the API breaks the communication chain between the sensors, applications, and the network, and causes a system-wide outage.

Tesla is no stranger to network outages – two similar outages have occurred in the past; one of them again due to a broken API. The aftermath was the same – inability to connect the app to the vehicles’ sensors, leaving owners stranded.

For a connected-vehicles manufacturer like Tesla, APIs are the linchpin to operational continuity. They’re the glue that connects one component to the next. Tesla extensively uses internet-based apps and IoT to provide a seamless driving experience, and each of those hundreds, or thousands, of devices and applications use APIs to communicate with one another. It’s easy to see why a single API going down can cause widespread network outages and hit almost every function of the company and its customers.

Related Articles:   How to Overcome Network Automation Challenges in 2019

Is there a way to prevent such outages? Yes, there is. Proper visibility into the API network and its management can predict and warn IT teams of a potential issue, while network automation can go a step further and proactively fix the issue before it blows up and starts affecting users.

In Tesla’s case, the network monitoring would have alerted the team of the API break, and automation would’ve enabled them to perform DR (Disaster Recovery), where they can isolate the problem, automatically switch the app traffic to a standby data center, and perform swift mitigation with continuous insights and intelligent remediation workflows.

AppViewX is one such platform that does end-to-end network management and automation combined with complete network infrastructure visibility and data intelligence. You can control the network from an app-centric perspective, get real-time insights on the health and performance of apps and other network objects, proactively detect and remediate incidents (like a broken API in this case), and orchestrate app traffic management.

The result? Higher-than-ever application availability, network reliability, and incredibly low incident resolution times.

Want to give AppViewX a try? Talk to our experts and book a guided platform tour, today.

About the Author

Nishevitha Ramamoorthy

Nishevitha Ramamoorthy

Product Marketing Manager - AppViewX AUTOMATION+

Nishevitha is the product marketer at AppViewX. She writes, does research, and builds strategies to communicate the product's value to prospective buyers.

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