Hostway Server Migration Leaves Clients in the Dark

A torrent of website postings to social networking site Digg, along with several quickly erected blogs, reflect a data center migration gone badly awry, leaving thousands of Hostway customer websites in the dark.

Hostway Web hosting customers have posted reports that their websites and back-office applications have been offline for as long as three days.

In April, Hostway joined with Affinity Internet to become one of the largest Web hosting providers in the world, according to the company's Web site, with 15 operation centers in 11 countries. Combined, the companies have 600,000 Web hosting customers. It's not clear exactly how many of those customers—or their customers—have been affected by the migration mishap.

The planned July 27 data center migration at ValueWeb, a Hostway company, involved moving more than 3,700 servers 270 miles, from Affinity's Miami hosting facility to a Hostway data center in Tampa, Fla., according to Rich Miller, reporter for Data Center Knowledge, in Lawrenceville, N.J.

The company notified customers in e-mails that the outage would last between 12 and 15 hours, with an estimated completion time of 7 p.m. on July 28. By July 30, customers posting to a discussion forum on Digg, titled How Not to Migrate a Data Center, said their sites were still down.

"Over 62 hours down," wrote one ValueWeb customer on July 30. "It's unconscionable that any group of people would treat a group of small business owners so cruelly. Sometime Saturday night someone should have made the call to do whatever it takes to get customers up—instead, they keep plodding along one or two servers at a time. At this rate it looks like Thursday or Friday is likely. Yes, a full week."

The issue to many of ValueWeb's customers—aside from a blackout in service—is the manner in which the company relayed, or didn't relay, information.

A blogger identified as John P. said, "Going on our third day of outage, the worst thing is that the people from Hostway—ValueWeb—have gone completely silent. They are not answering their technical support number, nor are they replying to e-mail. In addition to this, they are only sporadically updating their phone recordings—and they have not sent a single update e-mail during the entire event."

Officials at Hostway were not immediately available for comment.

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