Learning from Navisite Failures

Because of Navisite, what was supposed to be a 14 hour over-night change for 5dollarhosting.com became a 34 day tragic comedy of errors, with 200,000+ sites besides mine down about 3x longer than expected. Not a big deal for me; I have my own email elsewhere and you all surviced fine without this web site available. But perhaps this was a good lesson from a bad example of communication and collaboration.

After repeated postponements Navisite still messed up royally on the relocation that was supposed to happen from 10pm Friday night to noon Saturday (Eastern time), instead starting late, encountering challenges, messing up on communication and taking from 10pm Friday until 2:30pm Sunday mid-morning Monday.

What was scheduled as 14 hours expanded to 41.5 60+ hours including the shift-off of Daylight Savings. Adding insult to injury Navsite was ill-prepared with IT security systems with a claimed DDoS attack happened early Sunday too. Oops. [In hindsight, reading the playback, I wonder if this ‘attack’ was actually just lots of traffic their own servers generated due to configuration issues]. Recurring missed deadlines, calls after-the-fact, and weak assurances after trust was lost didn’t help anyone. Read the saga at 5dollarbackup.com/blog if you like.

It’s an old lesson, and a good reminder for me- Trust is important. Be prepared. Make commitments you can keep. Communication is critical; stay in contact with your customers.

I am going to give 5dollarhosting a chance to treat customers like me better than the poor way that Navisite has treated them. That said, I do have calls in to AN Hosting, BlueHost, DreamHost and Host Gator. Maybe this will be an opportunity to switch off of Blogger to another blogging system, and maybe even try out Joomla or Ruby on Rails.

Let me know if you have feedback on hosting services, blogging systems (not clients though, I use ecto 3 and LOVE it), or Joomla and lightweight content-management systems. I think Mobilemind is due for an upgrade in late 2007 or early 2008.

UPDATE: Monday, 8am Pacific time– Internet technology resilience proved itself again yesterday. My blog was only online briefly Sunday, but feed readers picked up the RSS. Servers were online and offline sporadically for hours at a time. Even with the server down I was contacted via LinkedIN and twitter messages from friends and colleagues. Thanks to Aaron and others for their empathy and advice. I just got an email from a reporter in Boston who wants to talk to me. It is a very connected world.

UPDATE 3: Thursday, November 9– (Yes, that is update #3, update #2 got lost due to Blogger being unable to reach downed Navisite servers on Monday.) It is 6 days later and 16,000+ web sites are still down. Go Navisite. I’m just not saying where they can go. :-)