Heart Internet, one of the most popular providers of domain, hosting and email services for businesses across the UK, suffered a serious outage which led to sustained disruption for customers on Wednesday 10th February.
The company which claims to have one of the “most efficient and resilient data centres in Europe” instigated a process to rectify a fault code on a voltage monitor. Somewhere between the data centre team and the expert dispatched by the manufacturer to put it right, the ball was dropped; somehow “a safety mechanism in the device triggered incorrectly,” taking down the power supply to a data centre hall, a press release said.
Heart has suffered significant criticism from customers and IT industry website The Register. Early reports said the outage was due to a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, where webservers become overloaded with requests as part of an attack strategy by hackers.
Heart Internet has distanced itself from these reports. The Register – strap line “Biting the hand that feeds IT” – has something of a reputation for irreverence. It stated the outage was in fact due to a ‘Total Inability To Support Usual Performance’ or TITSUP incident.
As the focal point for inbound marketing, websites occupy a central position for many businesses. There can be little doubt that many may have missed out on lead generation as a result of the outage. For many more, email may be even more critical as it underpins operations, by enabling communication and workflow management with prospects, customers, suppliers and employees.
Many would agree that the business-critical nature of email means that there is a need for infrastructure platforms and email services that are truly resilient. Heart Internet is likely to bleed customers as a result of this outage. In effect, many years of solid operational reliability and customer trust has been undone in the space of just 9 short minutes.
Microsoft Office 365 and its Exchange hosted business-class email solutions are run from the truly resilient infrastructure of one of the biggest technology companies in the world, and the one that many would say was instrumental in transforming the meaning of work and productivity by popularising computers in the business environment.
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