Rackspace Downtime: A Reminder That All Are Vulnerable

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rackspace37signals went down for about two hours tonight (twice), due to a cooling issue in one of the Rackspace data centers. A quick blog search turned up other applications, such as Syncplicity, that were also hosted at the Rackspace datacenter and were also down. Rackspace seem to be jinxed since being named the “most reliable” hosting service by NetCraft back in September of 2007.

They had a major outage only two months later in November, due to a car accident that killed power to the data center, and experienced several outages in January of this year – which also affected 37Signals and other large sites such as Tumblr. After that January incident, Tumblr switched to another provider, even after Rackspace offered an 80% discount. In response to the outages today, Rackspace said:

July 9th 2008 — At approximately 5:00 P.M. CDT, our DFW data center experienced a brief loss of utility power that caused a transfer over to generator as designed. During this transition, some of the chillers did not start up correctly and temperatures within certain areas of the DC began to rise to the 90’s. The issue has been isolated and temperatures are decreasing steadily. We are investigating this issue and will provide future updates as they come available.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you or your customers.

Rackspace has a solid reputation when it comes to uptime and efficiency – Fabio Torlini from Rackspace, ironically said in a blog post about the recent Facebook outages – “You wouldn’t expect any downtime from someone who makes their living from a website, during one of their prime times.”

As Rackspace build towards an eventual IPO after surviving a very harsh post-bubble period, the downtime that they face serve as a reminder of just how vulnerable even the top hosting companies are. In the past week we have seen problems at Rackspace, Google Docs, Facebook and many more. While there was also a time when internet connectivity to the home wasn’t reliable, with the increasing reliance on applications in the cloud, solving the reliability issue on that end is paramount.

  • NT

    We are Rackspace customers and whilst we don’t experience network downtime, we regularly have downtime due to their inefficiencies. Whatever you do don’t rely on their backups, they either can’t restore your data or take a day to do so. Fanatical?

    Can anyone recommend a decent ISP, is there such a thing?!?!?

  • NT friend

    NT, try gogrid.com

  • adf

    Fabio Torlini isn’t CEO of Rackspace. He’s marketing director/ business manager for Europe. Graham Weston is the CEO.

  • Jen

    Check out INetU – http://www.inetu.net.

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  • http://www.hostdisciple.com Ross


    Actually Grahm Weston is the Chairman, Lanham Napier is the CEO.


    Have you tried looking at nother managed providers such as datapipe or logicworks? You may also want to check out ThePlanet as they just launched their managed hosting line.

  • Jennifer

    we use liquid web and have been very pleased – as opposed to fanatical support- their support is ‘heroic’ and I would much rather have a hero than a fanatic on my side any day of the week.

  • http://www.colotraq.com COLOTRAQ

    Find a better provider through better research http://www.colotraq.com

  • Nag

    If you are big(multi million dollar ), then go with some big standard guys,


    Cheers, Nag

  • http://galaxyspectrum.com/ PR NY

    Downtime is the one factor that will prevent SAAS from reaching its full potential to be used by Mid sized businesses..

    Microsoft’s model is to use a hybrid model which will synch once online.

    That may work for Small businesses – but a medium sized firm would find the business productivity loss to be staggering if they were dependent on the SAAS model.

  • http://www.myreplicaz.com peter

    Nothing in the world is 100%, and this incident just confirms that even further. I have used rackspace at times for my customers where reliability and uptime was a major factor, but now reading this post, might as well use my regular provider ;)

  • http://datacenterjunkie.com/ Michael T. Halligan

    I’d have to double and triple @Jen’s recommendation for Inetu. I worked with their owner, Dev a decade ago at his previous company, and he runs one hell of a tight ship. Inetu is one of the best ISPs out there, with many postings in NetCraft to prove it : http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2008/06/12/inetu_is_the_most_reliable_hosting_company_site_in_may_2008.html

    They might not have the size that Rackspace has, but they also don’t have the Hubris.

  • Steve

    You might want to take a look at ViaWest. I’ve had a great experience with them so far.

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  • http://blog.expensify.com/2011/04/22/ceo-friday-why-you-need-at-least-three-datacenters/ CEO Friday: Why You Need *At Least* Three Datacenters « Expensify Blog

    […] 2nd time in 2 months.  Rackspace, the most reliable (and most expensive) has a long history of going down.  365 Main — perhaps the most prestigious host in the Bay Area — went down in a […]

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