12-01-09 | Blog Post

Has Rackspace Become a Fallen Hero?

Blog Posts

A few months back, we wrote about the lessons learned from Rackspace’s second power outage and subsequent downtime. We learned that Rackspace does a nice job with transparency and controlling the message in the social media realm. We saw the full effect of that as we got blasted by unhappy fanatical rackers that have the need to defend the mothership.

However, when a market leader like Rackspace fails a third time since June, it hurts the hosting industry as a whole. People start to wonder why one of the largest players in dedicated servers has had so many failures –  it starts to erode the years of hard-earned trust in the hosting industry.

One has to question if Rackspace has grown so big that it can’t take care of its customers the way it did pre-IPO (Initial Public Offering).

It’s almost embarrassing to see Rackspace’s CEO point at outages at IBM, Microsoft and Google in an attempt to justify the Rackspace outages in his guest blog at CNBC avoiding any discussion of the third outage that occurred before the blog was posted.

He tries to downplay his company’s array of outages by saying, “The issue here isn’t outages. These things happen. They don’t happen often.” Three outages, all creating downtime for the end user, in less that 6 months makes us wonder how many outages are necessary to realize what their issue is.

He then goes on to praise his “fanatical support” by saying,

“In each case, our company’s character was put to the test, and we were determined to pass that test. We owned the problem. We immediately shared the bad news, directly with each customer and also with the world. We called in all of our employees, including top executives, to reach out to individual customers. We went so far as post videos about the outages on YouTube. Once we had restored service, we gave the affected customers millions of dollars in service credits.”

Unfortunately for Rackspace, customer’s in the last outage did not feel that they “owned the problem” and had this to say about their communication with them.

“I was not greatly affected by 90 minutes of downtime, but was significantly bothered by the lack of information.”

-Bryan Henderson

“I too was down for 1 hour, 12 minutes. I was never made aware there was going to be maintenance nor was I aware that my slice went down (besides my external Nagios monitoring).

I should have been warned…all of us should have been. A followup email should have been sent to the “affected” customers with an RFO. This is disappointing.”



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