Ripples Felt From Outage at The Planet

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The Planet experienced network problems Tuesday and Wednesday that caused brief downtime for many customers, including several large web hosting providers. Tuesday’s incident started at about 4:45 pm Central time and lasted about 30 minutes, and affected two of the company’s Houston data centers (H1 and H2) as well as customers in its newest Dallas facility (D6). 

On Wednesday morning, the H1 and H2 data centers were offline from about 10:15 central time for about 25 minutes.

While both incidents were relatively brief, they were widely felt. The Tuesday outage caused downtime for the customers of HostGator and Site5, two large hosting companies that lease servers from The Planet.

During the downtime, the web sites and customer forums for both hosts were offline. The companies provided updates on their Twitter accounts (@site5 and  @hostgator), reinforcing the growing importance of the microblogging as a customer communication tool during hosting outages. The outage also disrupted service for the Tumblr microblogging service.

The Planet blamed the Tuesday outage on “an issue that caused a block of IP addresses shared by our H1, H2 and D6 data centers to not advertise correctly to the rest of the Internet.” The company later said the problem was a result of human error.

“We are evaluating the processes that would allow an employee to create such an error, and we will make the necessary changes to avoid this type of error ever happening again,” said Chairman and CEO Doug Erwin said in an audio message to customers.

Wednesday’s outage was shorter and affected fewer customers. Erwin said The Planet is still investigating Wednesday’s incident, but has concluded that it is totally unrelated to Tuesday’s event and likely caused by a software failure in several routers in Houston.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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