Streamload Upgrade Goes Very Wrong; Some Users Revolt

San Diego based storage service Streamload is having a hellish summer.

On June 22, more than a month ago, they began rolling out “significant improvements” to the service. Users were told in a blog post that some files would become temporarily unaccessible and to expect downtime of up to two weeks. “Please rest asssured [sic] that we are doing everything possible to minimize these service interruptions” they said.

Much of what happened since then is unclear, but things clearly didn’t go according to plan. On July 1 Streamload said they were back online. On July 2 they noted some issues affecting some users. Skip to July 21: another blog post noting issues. On July 24 another update, and users are welcomed to the “speedy new MediaMax database and user interface.”

Overall the blog posts don’t signal that much chaos was going on behind the scenes, but it is clear that things were not going as well as the Streamload blog suggested. Many customers complained in the comments to those posts about file deletions, outages and lack of customer service response to their questions. At some point Streamload turned off comments and deleted all existing ones, presumably to downplay the problems.

At least one user-created blog has popped up that reprints the blog posts, adds commentary suggesting that Streamload is hiding the facts, and allows users to comment. Some of the commenters are outraged at the alleged cover up:

Mediamax isn’t just hopelessly incompetent, its corrupt and borderline evil! It’s corrupt because its still taking money for a service that doesnt work. And its evil because it must be aware of the incredible stress this is causing to so many people but its doing nothing to ease that pain. Just a few honest words of understanding on their blog would help, instead of the BS and lies they are posting.

I’ve emailed Streamload for a response to get their side of things. I’ll update this post when I have more facts.

Disclosure: I am not an independent observer of these events – I am an investor and on the board of directors of Omnidrive, which is also in the online storage space and can be considered a competitor to Streamload. If people notice other coverage of this, please leave a comment and I’ll link to it here. Until now I have only heard excellent things about the Streamload service, and I am anxious to hear their side of things.

Update: Streamload responds via email:

Hi Michael,

We appreciate your willingness to hear Streamload’s feedback. Yes, Streamload has had a tough several weeks due to two serious issues on our part.

On June 15, Streamload had a major storage problem that has caused many of our customer files to become inaccessible. They are not gone forever, but it is taking a very long time to recover all the data because of the extraordinary amount of data stored. With our current recovery infrastructure, we can “only” recover about 10 terabytes per day, but we are adding more hardware to speed this process.

Combined with that, we had another project underway to move our entire infrastructure to a new datacenter with the goal of making it more efficient and cost effective for customers. The move did not go as planned since it took longer than we anticipated and there was much more customer impact than originally estimated.

With the new data center, MediaMax is backed with an all new technical infrastructure, which is fully redundant, has more capacity, and is faster. This new transition, as challenging as it has been, will ultimately allow us to provide better service and support more customers in the future.

On that note, your reader comments are right – a better job should have been done to communicate with affected customers. Though we may not have communicated quickly or with much detail, we are attempting to actively address concerns, and are exploring ways to address this issue and improve our customer service.

Having said that, three weeks ago I took over as CEO again and will be able to monitor the service and customer needs more closely and hopefully bring back the customer satisfaction that was built since I started the company 9 years ago.

-Steve Iverson