back to article Fasthosts' week to forget: 4-day virtual server summer bummer

Fasthosts hasn’t exactly draped itself in glory during this week of the summer solstice, what with the four day blackout of its virtual private server service and a partial eclipse of webmail. The lights of the VPS went off on Monday evening as “system issues” with the storage platform on two VS clusters showed up and …

  1. Solarflare

    “At the moment we are concentrating on restoring services, it's not right to comment with our engineers undertaking a post-incident review.”

    If there are still issues with services, which requires you to concentrate on them...why are you diverting resources away to conduct a post incident review before said incident is dealt with?

  2. Dr Who

    Fasthosts - always pulling a fast one.

    Do a Google News search for Fasthosts, and be amazed that anyone is still using them.

  3. Alister Silver badge
    Trollface

    He told The Register the majority of customers had migrated to an alternative platform, and that “multiple desk failures” was the cause.

    Ah, the legs fell off?

    1. John Riddoch

      Either that, or the people at them weren't doing their jobs correctly...

  4. mrfantastic

    Good.

    This is another link to add to the pile I have already which I forward to the recruiters who persist in trying to get me to work at that place.

    There seems to be an inverse relationship between recruiter enthusiasm and the quality of the client. I've long since learned that the chirpy ones are invariably on about FH so I cut them off early and mail them the links of shame.

  5. Mark Dempster

    Having worked there myself for a while, as an Operations Manager, I too am surprised that anyone stays with them. I left because I couldn't live with myself in relation to the company's attitude toward customers - the system reimaging the customer servers to an 'as new' state happened all the time, and it's only then that most customers realised that backups weren't part of the service...

    I've never seen another company with a worse staff turnover problem. While it meant promotion could be quite quick for some, lack of experience was always an issue (they only pay well for certain VERY technical roles). The shift patterns for the 24/7 areas were unbearable. There was little or no training on their unique infrastructure. And management were very good at shifting blame onto those lower down the ladder, even if the reasons were very tenuous.

    I gained some useful experience of managing a very large infrastructure (20,000 physical & 40,000 virtual servers when I was there), but it's not a place I regret leaving...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heat?

    As we have just had the Great British Summer, I am not surprised there were not more outages.

    My local Bastard Telecom exchange used to fail quite regularly, normally on a bank holiday, when there was no support.

  7. steve.bradley@ctsltd.net

    As one of those customers affected the response has been woeful and that is not untypical for FH - fortunately only one of our virtual hosts was on that part of their service. I got a call yesterday asking if I wanted to get set up on their Cloud NX platform and they would throw in a month's free credit - errr no. thanks and really, they think £30 or so is adequate - how about all the time involved in setting up the new server let alone compensation for the client. I said we will wait for the server to be restored (by Monday I am told) to the super reliable platform we were promised in the sales blurb.

    And the Email, rarely a month or so goes by without some problem which usually lasts a number of hours, is right in the middle of the day and you get zero information to pass on to seriously hacked off clients.

    1. Steven 1

      If they're that shit, maybe move them to a different provider?

      Poor service provided = vote with your 1's and 0's and move them elsewhere.

    2. Nelbert Noggins

      So knowing how bad they are and how hacked off your clients get, why are you still using them and keep using them?

      From the sounds of it you would have made your clients happier if you'd moved their systems to a reliable provider who can actually provide services and support at the level you need. Admittedly that will probably increase the costs... but happy customer or knowingly providing a service that hacks off your clients... wonder which would be better

  8. batfastad
    FAIL

    Farcehosts

    ... still exist?!!

  9. mrperkins

    Poor crisis management/customer service

    I've been with Fasthosts for over 15 years migrating from the shared platform to VPS and have therefore suffered from the latest outage.

    In fairness during that time I have been very pleased with the service/pricing whilst acknowledging the firm has its critics. Until 19 June our VPS had run perfectly for nearly three years.

    We were amongst the last customers migrated after the crash and it was clear that there was an issue with the new installation and we couldn't access the control panel or import/export databases.

    Fasthosts now want £75 plus VAT to try a fix which may not be successful - after a hardware crash on their system! I am assuming that this outage has seriously affected many customers and many migrations have been similarly flawed. I assume also that their second/third level staff are pulled from pillar to post but to charge for THEIR cock-up is appalling.

    To their credit they offered an upgraded temporary solution for a month without cost but we just want to get back to normal with our original set-up

    I have not seen any statement from management which offers some explanation (and contrition) to customers and they seem to be still in fire-fighting mode (after nearly 2 weeks).

    This compares with Heart Internet who also experienced a major infrastructure issue a few years ago but at least they came clean, provided a high level explanation, and gave the impression they were learning from the experience.

    It begs the question - what exactly was the nature of the hardware failure and why - on an older VPS platform - risk wasn't mitigated especially if it relates to hard drives?

    I think Fasthosts see this as an opportunity to migrate all affected customers to their Cloud NX platform but that comes at a price premium.

    To counter earlier comments, Fasthosts Support IS patchy - some of the guys are very good, knowledgeable and helpful. Others seem to follow a company script and won't go the extra mile. This also applies to the account managers who seem now to be tied to corporate protocol rather than resolving things quickly.

    After 15 years, sadly perhaps, this has made me contact another major provider to discuss alternative options going forward.

    I will provide an update if anything with Fasthosts changes (for the better or worse)

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