NaviSite Outage Lingers On

With some Websites reportedly down for four days, hosting provider NaviSite is feeling customers' wrath

November 6, 2007

3 Min Read
NaviSite Outage Lingers On

Due to a server migration gone horribly wrong, more than 165,000 Websites riding on NaviSite (Nasdaq: NAVI) hosting services have been offline for days.

The outage, which customers say began Saturday, occurred as NaviSite attempted to migrate servers acquired in its purchases of Alabanza and Jupiter Hosting.

After the Alabanza acquisition, which occurred in August, NaviSite told customers of its plan to migrate the Alabanza servers from a site in Baltimore to NaviSite's data centers in Andover, Mass.

NaviSite chief marketing officer Rathin Sinha says Alabanza had 850 servers in Baltimore, so the company had a choice of moving all of those servers to Andover or moving the data virtually. NaviSite chose a mixed strategy, moving 200 servers physically while transferring the rest of the data over the Internet.

The migration was set to take place Saturday, but the company ran into problems Saturday night when it realized it was falling behind on the Internet transfer side of things.

"We realized that we would not be able to finish the server transfer over the Internet only. We were getting synchronization failures while the data was being transferred," Sinha says. As a result, on Saturday night, the company decided to change the composition of physical migration and virtual migration plans.

Since then, NaviSite has had to deal with two primary issues that arose from the migration. One was a name-server problem, where customers' Web URLs were not being recognized, although they could connect using IP addresses.

While NaviSite dealt with the name-server matter, network traffic kept climbing, which resulted in failed Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) requests.

The damage: Many Alabanza resellers and customers have gone without email access or Website connectivity for four days.

Sinha says he can't determine how many end customers' Websites were affected, but it's likely more than 165,000. That's how many sites Alabanza was supporting as of August, according to NaviSite's press release when it acquired the company.

Some customers reported being able to reconnect to their Websites early this morning, but many were still experiencing outages.

Barbara Delozier, president of Empower-U Enterprises Inc., which runs reseller, writes in an email that most of her sites had been restored as of this morning, but that some, including her main site, were inactive.

"Three and one-half days of down time is equating to huge asset losses, even for a small reseller company such as mine," Delozier writes. "The longer this problem takes to resolve, the more we are left hanging out to dry, as it were, leaving the door open to possible asset reduction lawsuits by those who have been negatively impacted."

NaviSite says it's going to do whatever it can to help regain customer trust. "Our goal will be not to lose a single customer," Sinha says. "This is a very important part of our customer space. This is a customer base that is vital to our growth, and we will do everything to make sure that we work this out."

Some customers' hearts might be lost already. Cynthia Brumfield, president of Emerging Media Dynamics and customer of one of Navisite's resellers, says she would have transfered to another Web host by now, if she could only access data that was backed up on Alabanza's servers.

"They should be made to answer for this," Brumfield says, pointing out that the majority of Websites affected are small businesses that are "taking a huge hit" in lost revenue.

"I mean, could you imagine if Light Reading were down for five days?" Brumfield asks. "That would be horrible!"

— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading

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