October 24, 2005
Yesterday Verio, the company that hosts this website, had a massive failure bringing down with it the many thousands of websites they host. In my case it also took down my email. This happens. Computers and networks are unreliable. Annoying, but no big deal. But what was less forgivable was Verio's customer service. Calling in to the customer center the hapless customer would be routed through an hour long mechanized tree of options eventually ending in either a busy signal or an endless hold. No status page was posted on Verio's main site. There was no explanatory message on the phone message. Annoyed, did a bit of research and called the Verio corporate headquarters (303-645-1900 btw).
I didn't even have to explain.
The woman who answering the phone was tense. "All our servers are down. They're trying to get the backup system up, but it's not working."
"You know it would help if someone just left a recorded message or put up a message on your support page," I suggested.
"Well so many people were calling we just shut the phones off. Everybody's in a panic."
Indeed I could hear what sounded like panic in the background. Then the phone died.
Now my curiosity was peaked, what in the world was going on? A call to another office revealed that hurricane Wilma had struck the data center and knocked out the generators and the backup generators.
I don't fault Verio for getting hit by a hurricane. It happens, but knowing that a hurricane is coming don't you think it would be wise to at the very least have a couple of pre-recorded phone messages allowing for the possibility that things might go south?
Almost 18 hours later updates started appearing on the Verio home page and now of course all is back to normal. Me being in the dark for 18 hours is no big deal, but imagine if your company's ecommerce site had blinked out and you had no information about what was going on... Not good.