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Fasthosts martyrs relive email FAIL (again and again)

'We apologise unreservedly'

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Fasthosts email customers endured (yet another) outage this morning, thanks to a glitch in the company's BlueArc storage system.

The UK webhost - which has made a habit of such outages in recent months - says its network was plagued by a "performance issue" between 8:15am and 10:10am GMT.

One customer tells The Reg his email access returned at around 10:10. "For myself, it's a frustration with the regularity and the fallout (as a reseller customer) of spending time on the phone with no solid information to back me up with RE time to resolution," he says.

A second subscriber howls that his service was unavailable for at least four hours. "I am a business customer so loss of email is critical," he says. "I had submitted a technical support request via their support email address which was not responded to."

In an email statement sent to The Reg, Fasthosts says that a problem with its BlueArc storage solution "resulted in intermittent access for some of our customers." But both customers speaking with The Reg indicate the outage was complete - not intermittent.

"This morning we experienced a performance issue on our email platform which resulted in intermittent access for some of our customers," the company's statement reads. "The issue occurred around 8:15am GMT and lasted up to a maximum time of 10:10am GMT, though services were restored more quickly than this for most customers...

"We have added additional capacity and monitoring for our mail services since the last BlueArc related outage and we are awaiting the permanent firmware fixes from BlueArc."

On November 24, customers were without email access for the better part of a day, and in a subsequent email to customers, Fasthosts said the problems involved its BlueArc storage. "The issue with the BlueArc Storage system was escalated to BlueArc engineering immediately and root cause was identified as a previously unseen firmware bug," the email read.

The email went on to say that BlueArc was actively developing a "formal" patch for the bug "to ensure that this situation does not re-occur." According to the email, dated November 26, BlueArc was set to test and deploy the updated software "over the coming days."

The email also included an apology from a BlueArc senior VP.

As it did today, Fasthosts described the November 24 outage as "intermittent." But countless customers speaking with The Reg disputed that characterization.

"Whats going on with Fasthosts, Used to be reliable, now days completely unreliable, must have been down now 5 or 6 times in the last month!" one user told us in the midst of the November 24 outage. Another said he endured additional outages on November 2, 9, 10, and 16.

The Reg reported on a major weekend outage in early June, and multiple readers have complained of similar outages on August 26, October 12, and November 16.

"We are currently making significant investments in technology and services to ensure our new email platform has the highest levels of availability moving forward," reads today's Fasthosts statement. "We apologise unreservedly for any disruption to our customers in this period this morning. ®

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