Forum OpenACS Q&A: OT: what's happening to acornhosting?

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I have a couple of virtual servers hosted at acornhosting.net wich are down from about 12 hours, but what really worries me is that visiting www.acornhosting.net instead of their usual site brings to a page that apparently belongs to webinaminute.com.

Furthermore I don't succeed in contacting them via email from many days.

Perhaps someone in the community knows what's appening?

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Posted by Joel Aufrecht on
my web site hosted at acornhosting is up, but my email, which depended on joel.acornhosting.com being a valid alias, is broken.  The last contact I had from them was 7 Dec 2003.  Hopefully it's just a glitch involving dns for subdomains of acornhosting.net?
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Posted by Cathy Sarisky on
I wish it were something as simple as botched DNS.  (Although how a webinaminute.com page is coming up, i have NO clue.)

Yesterday, a dedicated server provider that I had 5 servers with went unexpectedly belly-up.  You can read the latest at http://www.acornhosting.net (if it is resolving to the new IP) or http://209.223.101.213 if it isn't.  It's shaping up into a pretty sordid tale, where this guy apparently decided that since the credit card company that does his billing hadn't released his money this month, he'd just silently go out of business?  Unbelievable.  I've had servers with this company for 1 1/2 years.

I had just enough warning that something *might* be amiss for a few hours of frantic rsyncing.  I did not get everyone.

Joel, I'm checking on your email right now.  ns1.acornhosting.net was on one of these servers.

Claudio, I think we had a routing issue and/or excessive firewalling.  The mailserver that had the problem is no more (it was with this provider), please email me again.  Your second vserver is ok, your first is not.  Let's discuss via email, if possible.

cathy -at- acornhosting.net is waiting on DNS, so use cathy -at- acorn2.acornhosting.net.

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Posted by Brad Duell on
Thanks Cathy for the fast response.

It's good to know that while hosting with you I can expect speedy solutions to unexpected problems.

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Posted by Claudio Pasolini on
Many thanks to Cathy for her cooperation and help, far beyond one can expect by an hosting service!
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Posted by mark dalrymple on
She's been doing a superlative job in a bad situation.  Many thanks to her for her hard work.
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Posted by Vinod Kurup on
Don't usually like to post 'me too' responses, but Cathy has been honest, forthcoming and most importantly, responsive. Thanks Cathy!
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Posted by David Cotter on
Agreed! Thanks Cathy for all your hard work.
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Posted by Cathy Sarisky on
Thank you everyone for the kind words!

It has been a hellish couple of weeks.  Configuring four new physical servers (and 40-ish customer vservers) in less than a week is seriously no fun.  Especially if you procrastinate on doing your Christmas shopping with the intent of doing it during the same week...

Tonight, I recovered the very last of customer data from the servers.  (Everyone but one customer was up a week ago, but one server with ONE customer without a backup somehow went AWOL when the server owner yanked them from the data center.)  I don't think I'll ever get the entire story on what posessed this guy to silently close up shop, walk into the data center, and remove all his hardware.  I'm just glad I was able to get him to plug servers into a DSL line for long enough to get everyone's data out.  WHY it came to that is beyond me, when I could have moved everyone's vserver out with 12 hours notice.

There are a few silver linings - most people are now hosted on much better hardware and on better bandwidth.  I got to do some kernel upgrades (I still have some to do).  There had been some problems with DDOS against that provider - I hope to see fewer problems.

I also have some thinking to do about directions for Acorn Hosting.  My TOS said that I don't do backups of customer data for a couple reasons, including difficulty of figuring out WHERE data is when everyone has root, but the biggest reason when I first started out was simply a price issue.  Well, hard drives are cheaper now, bandwidth is cheap, and there are some economies in having more servers.  I've also learned that people don't make backups, even when they know they should.  (You know who you are.)  So I'll be doing some thinking about my recovery plan for a disaster of the every-server-in-the-datacenter-suddenly-vanishes flavor.

I also have some thinking to do about how to better support my non-developer/hobbyist customers.  Recently I've had more and more folks hire someone to set up their openACS site, but some of those sites are ending up somewhat orphaned after the developer is done rolling out the site.  There's a reason that the *only* AcornHosting plan is called the "developer's deal" - there was an assumption that the customer could handle their own website maintenance.  It seems to be time for another plan choice, with some more support and clearer expectations included.

Well, I've gone on long enough - just wanted to update the thread a bit with what had gone on.

Happy new year, everyone!