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Customers furious over days-long outage as A2 Hosting scores a D- in Windows uptime

A2HostingUserEnraged

I must say, I too feel wholeheartedly for the people on their support chat, the phone lines, and the operators who are trying to sort the mess out, yes, but the overall architecture of the setup at A2 has to be badly flawed if all of their data centres can fall victim to malware that hits one of them, Singapore in this case it seems.

That architecture should have been inspected and reviewed internally, and to some degree externally, and the flaws that have allowed a single burning dumpster to set the entire fleet alight could have been highlighted and resolved. I have no sympathy at all for the folk that should have been making sure that happened.

Similarly, with whatever lack of process or diligence left them with no unaffected backups more recent than 2 months old, it's hard to sympathise with whomever is responsible for that.

I would however, reserve my ire especially for whomever is making the decisions about how the progress updates are dribbled out.

Given that there are dozens of servers, and understandably every user wants to know when theirs will be restored, A2's approach of stone-walling all specific enquiries and just popping up every 6-16 hours saying 'server xwz-123 is restored and online' seems to be the optimum way to generate floods of vitriolic tickets, caustic twitter remarks, shouty phone calls and the like into every support channel they have; which are then fielded by the poor souls on the support desks who aren't allowed to tell the users anything more than 'please refer to the service status page'.

Somewhere in A2 Towers is a spreadsheet or the like with a list of servers, their current status and some idea of the order in which they will be attended to, perhaps with the date of the last known unencrypted backup, maybe even with a rough %age complete for the ones in progress. If this were published, even in a partly redacted form, users could make their own estimates at how long it will be before theirs would be complete and not have to constantly badger A2 for the information.

Admittedly, it would generate some argument from those whose machines are at the bottom, but if there were some rhyme and/or reason to the ordering, and that justification published with the table, then it's in some way fair enough and would at least only generate baleful squawks from the folk at the bottom of the list.

For example, if I knew my servers wouldn't have even been started on by now, which as far as I can tell they haven't; I would have gone out this past weekend, maybe watched the grand prix at a bar or got madly drunk, maybe both; and not sat at my desk watching my recurring ping batch file prodding at my ftp, db, web and email servers ready to grab whatever I could when one finally responds.

I could have told the business folk that it looked like it would be early week, not 'before the weekend' like their announcement on Thursday said, and they could have made decisions on that basis as to whether to wait, or to start re-keying orders and counting stock.

The whole approach of drip-feeding a server name at a time as they are completed and refusing to give any information on any others just causes huge inconvenience, a great deal of irritation and stops anybody making any vaguely informed business decisions about the way forward for their particular setup.

I suspect this approach, and the bad feeling and outright rage that this is causing; not the outage itself is what will kill A2.

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