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Cloudy emails up in smoke for FIVE days after fire knackers Giacom

Data centre offline, MessageStream dried up on Friday

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

UK cloudy firm Giacom's data centre has been knocked offline by a fire at a nearby electricity substation.

The firm supplies "over 1,000 resellers" with a hosted cloud email service, based on Microsoft's Exchange Server 2010, through its MessageStream network. This system fell down on Friday when the power went out at the data centre as it tried to switch between back-up generators and the National Grid.

MessageStream informed cloud providers via Twitter, and has been keeping them updated throughout the weekend and yesterday. Although services started resuming just an hour after the power outage occurred, not all customers' mailboxes came back online easily.

Early yesterday morning, MessageStream tweeted that the Exchange platform was "99 per cent working normally" in response to a user who still wasn't back up. And last night it said:

However, customers were still not impressed today, complaining that the firm had been saying for days that the service was back up.

They tweeted:

Giacom's managing director Nick Marshall told The Register that 95 per cent of customers were back online on Friday.

"For a small number of our clients bringing their mailboxes back online has taken a little longer, however we are working with them today to return full functionality," he said in an emailed statement.

Although MessageStream kept people reasonably updated through Twitter, users only got one email from vendor Giacom on Friday telling them about the outage.

Customers were also unhappy that there weren't enough failsafes in place to make sure their clients' emails kept coming. Nick Marshall said that what happened was very rare but the company would still look at its systems to ensure it didn't happen again.

"We are one of only a handful of hosting providers to maintain three synchronised copies across two sites of each Exchange mailbox, but in this case, switching to these alternatives was not an option due to the scale of the problem," he said. ®

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