Feeds

Hundreds of websites go titsup in Prime Hosting disk meltdown

UK biz brought up servers using months-old backups

Business security measures using SSL

Hundreds of UK-hosted websites and email accounts fell offline when a disk array failed at web biz Prime Hosting. As many as 860 customers are still waiting for a fix more than 48 hours after the storage unit went titsup.

The downtime at the Manchester-based hosting reseller began at 5am on 31 July, and two days later some sites are still down.

James Smith, executive director at parent company M247, explained that the fault lay with the hardware: "The problems were caused by the failure of three hard drives in a RAID6 array, therefore losing parity."

After one blew, the rebuild process staggered into problems, he said:

Attempts were made to rebuild the array due to one failed drive, two other drives then started to exhibit a high rate of media errors during the array rebuild.

The rebuild process failed at 15 per cent complete, a few minutes after the rebuild failed a second hard drive went in to a “missing” state and would not rejoin the array.

At this point, the array was severely degraded and could not tolerate any further failures. Unfortunately the third drive with high media errors then also went in to a failed state during efforts to take a more recent replicated copy of data. The replication of data had 790GB of data to sync, it managed 150GB before failing.

Several customers were upset to find their restored websites had reverted to a backup that was months old. A Reg reader said his site, email and databases had slipped back to a version from three months ago.

Smith assured The Reg that data had not been lost, and this resurrection of old files was just part of the fix process. The outdated data was used to speed up efforts to bring the virtual machines hosting services back online, he explained:

Efforts then started to bring virtual machines online, initially using the outdated replicated data. Services were restored quickly with outdated replicated data from secondary storage area network.

Using the outdated replicated data enabled us to bring service online quicker than individual account restores from archived backups. More recent individual account backups are currently being restored to bring customer data completely up to date.

Outage at Prime Hosting tweets, credit screengrab Twitter

Prime Hosting report outage on Twitter: Reversions to backups from April were only temporary

Prime Hosting apologised to punters, and said that it has had a team working solidly for 36 hours without sleep in order to minimise the impact. It also promised to compensate all affected customers with one month's service credit.

Smith emphasised that although Prime Hosting operates under the M247 banner, the problem solely affected Prime Hosting customers and sprang from hardware managed by Prime Hosting. ®

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.