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11/8/2007
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Six Days Later, 90% Of Navisite Servers Back Up

Caused by a server migration that went spectacularly awry, the Navisite outage has kept tens of thousands of Web sites dark.

Web hosting company Navisite said that as of 3 p.m. EST Thursday 90% of the servers disabled in a massive six-day outage were back online and that the remaining Web sites affected by the disruption should be up before Friday.

"Our best estimate timeline for completion of the migration process remain unchanged and believe that all of the servers will be up and running by this evening," wrote Mark Clayman, Navisite's senior vice president of hosting services, in a message on the Navisite Web site.

Caused by a server migration on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2-3, that went spectacularly awry, the Navisite outage has kept tens of thousands of Web sites dark for the last six days. Most of the affected Web sites were hosted by Alabanza, a Web-hosting company acquired by Navisite in August. Alabanza sells services to multiple resellers that in turn host Web pages for small businesses.

The failure apparently started during the transfer of Alabanza's servers in Baltimore to Navisite's Andover, Mass. headquarters. While most of the traffic was due to be rerouted over the Internet to Andover, some 200 of Alabanza's 850 boxes were to be physically relocated. When the virtual transfer encountered problems, Navisite engineers decided to ship another 200 or so machines north. Then the real fun began.

Though the Web site hosts came up, the URLs did not, which left Navisite customers unable to access their Web sites using their URLs, according to Rathin Sinha, the company's chief marketing officer. The company's subsequent response left many customers unsatisfied to say the least.

When the problems first became widely known on Monday, Sinha indicated the problem would be solved by that night. Needless to say, that didn't happen. He didn't improve customer relations when he told The Boston Globe this week that the relocation process "got into some hiccups."

"This is outrageous and reckless behavior by this company," wrote one customer on the message board of Light Reading (like InformationWeek, Light Reading is owned by CMP Media.) "Customers are infuriated as many of them are small hosting providers with hundreds or thousands of their own clients, all of whom are being wiped out simultaneously with no recourse."

"It's Thursday morning, and I still can't reach some of the sites that went down Friday night" wrote David Underwood, a network specialist at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., in an e-mail. "Thousands of sites have been affected."

The Navisite outage is the second major Internet failure of the year. In July, San Francisco-based hosting company 365 Main, hit with power-supply fluctuations, suffered an outage that hit several popular Web 2.0 sites including Technorati and Craigslist.

Navisite's own business may have a harder time recovering than its customers'. The company stock, which had been falling all week, dropped another 3.3% in Thursday trading.

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