I, too, worked at UserLand and have seen the inards of a business that worked to host lots of people’s blogs. It’s not easy work. I watch the teams inside Microsoft work to keep things up. Hotmail, for instance, gets more than a billion spam messages a day (and those are the ones that it blocks from getting to users).
I’ve talked with Matt Mullenweg (the guy who runs WordPress) about this, and I’ve gotten to know the folks at F5 that make data center infrastructure equipment (we recently got a tour of F5 that’s pretty interesting). This stuff is not easy to keep up — even when you have the money.
I’ve been watching the commentary on how bad TypePad is. I know many of the folks there. They are working around the clock to get our sites back up and are doing the best they can.
Sorry, sometimes technology goes south even in the best-planned out systems.
How many of you have built systems that get hit with millions of visits per day? There aren’t many people who’ve done that in the world.
Yes, it’s frustrating when your business is down. I am feeling that frustration too (our book is launching in a few weeks and our traffic has been going up lately) but it doesn’t help to make ad hominem attacks that I’ve seen on some sites.
Plus, saying “I’m going somewhere else” isn’t real rational either. Why? Because who else has a professionally-run data center? Oh, you gonna host on your own servers? Yeah, let me know how that works when San Francisco is hit by the next big earthquake and you need your site to be up or let me know what happens when your server’s drive or networking card fails. Oh, you gonna put it on a cluster so that point of failure isn’t possible? Right. Got it. And when the box that your cluster is connected to goes down? Or when a crew digs up the fiber optic cables that go to your datacenter by accident (I’ve seen that happen, believe it or not).
Anyway, what we need is more transparency from the companies we’re betting our businesses and lives on. We need to know how many places our data is copied to. We need to know how redundant their systems are. And, in times of failures, we need more communication (especially with video and audio that’ll help let us know what’s going on). Although even here I loved getting TypePad’s updates. Made me feel better, even as I was nervous about our blog’s data.
This is one reason, though, that I’m happy having blogs on multiple services (my son’s is on Google’s Blogger, my wife’s is on MSN Spaces, mine here is on WordPress and I keep my Radio Userland blog around, and our book blog is on Six Apart’s TypePad).
None of these services is perfect, by the way. They all have their pros and cons. I’m still recommending TypePad to most businesses, though. I bet that they’ll get through this rough patch and go onto build a great business.
Oh, and to any of the technical folks, if you ever need help during such situations, don’t hesitate to contact me. We work with a ton of huge businesses (one of the largest Web sites in the world will annouce at www.mix06.com that they are switching to Windows, by the way). I know a few folks who keep Microsoft.com running and can martial technical help that can prove valuable in these situations.