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The Dangers of Cloud Hosting

One of my companies uses cloud hosting on ASMALLORANGE.com for 4 websites, three of which are high volume vBulletin sites: IGOTASUBARU.COM, IGOTAEVO.COM, IGOTASTI.COM, and IGOTACOMMUNITY.COM. All of them are offline as I write this piece. Although ASO is trying its best to recover from this disaster, it is costing us thousands of dollars in memberships and vendor fees, because not only will we be down for a couple of days with no explanation to our customers, but when the cloud crashed, it lost ALL of our data. Fortunately, we have full backups 5 days old, so our initial loss will be small, but our service and reputation will have been greatly harmed. We have lost some  of our customers and vendors, far more than we will get in recovery from our host company.  I will reprint our hosting company’s explanation below. I’d like to find out who their third-party cloud provider is so that I know never to use them.

This failure confirms my suspicions of using the cloud for stored data for its stability and security. If someone hacks the cloud, for example, everything you hold dear is in some off site, universally accessible open-ended cloud.

While ASO has been very apologetic and their tech is working to restore our sites, I am hoping their move to in-house servers will provide us a much safer and secure experience in the future. Another catastrophe like this and we’d have no choice but to find another provider or set up own rack servers.

Because all of our account information was lost, we were fortunate to have done a full backup from our cPanel for each of our vBulletin sites. It is actually easier to restore from scratch with a full backup than partial backups of the customary Home, MySql, and email scripts separately. Now on to the ASO explanation of this failure:

I want to apologize for the lack of updates on this issue – it has taken us a while to fully look at the situation before we had any information to release, much longer than would have hoped.

The cloud storage configuration, which is made up of a 16 disk SANarray, can tolerate one drive failure and continue to operate normally. This automatic failover provides the reliability that has made cloud platforms popular. In last night’s incident, however, the SAN array had two drive failures, which is beyond the tolerance fault level of the system.

Currently, attempts are being made to rebuild the array and regain access to the data, but this is a tedious process due to the nature of the failure and the methods of recovery. At this time, we have no definitive ETA for when this will be completed.

We will update you as soon as we have more definitive information regarding the state of the drives and the array.

█ Jen Lepp
█ Director of Operations
█ A Small Orange LLC
█ http://www.asmallorange.com
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4 comments on “The Dangers of Cloud Hosting

  1. Hello Jefferis, same here, have 5 sites down and great troubles with clients, have read your thoughts about cloud server and have just a question, are you going to confirm the service? I like clouds ’cause seem to be more fast then any other server but probably not so secure.
    thanks, futre

    • We are probably going to stay with ASO because the cost of moving, for the amount of service we need, would be much higher than we are currently paying for the places I have investigated. Plus we have a short time to get back up and running, and we can’t afford further delays…

  2. We found out that the hosting company that had the failure was ThePlanet.com. Their cloud hosting array was responsible for the loss of data. ASO, working with ThePlanet was finally able to recover the data, but it was too late for our purposes. We were already back up and running from our backups.

  3. After 3 months of testing, our sites on ASMALLORANGE are running smoothly and the issues that occurred during the transition seem to have subsided. There is automatic backup in place, and have only experienced lately some occasional glitches, most of which seemed to be related to our attempting to download large, full backups at busy times.

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