I really like the folk at Six Apart, purveyors of both Movable Type, the application that powers this very weblog, and Typepad, a nice hosted weblog option for entrepreneurs and small businesses. In fact, I’ve even written some articles for an as-yet unannounced SixApart online information center and have a discount code so my clients and students can receive a discount on the Typepad product.
On the other hand, I’m a businessman and I’ve also run startups and managed the hiring of executives post-funding, and I just don’t get what’s going on at Six Apart and why they’re still experiencing the effect of a badly managed infrastructure.
Today the Typepad system has been offline for hours and hours, and those Typepad weblogs that are limping along have had days worth of entries and comments vanish into the ether. (The company reports, however, that they will restore everything that seems to be lost right now, but many bloggers are skeptical)
This is very reminiscent of eBay‘s growing pains a few years ago where they’d suddenly go offline for an hour or two at a stretch in the middle of frenzied auction bidding. They grew beyond it and are now rock solid, able to handle a staggering traffic load.
If SixApart were still a little startup experiencing a huge surge in growth and traffic, it’d be easier to accept, but the company has raised significant capital and if it’s not using its millions to entice the best and brightest in the industry to join the team, if it’s not investing heavily in backend solutions, I have to wonder where it is being spent.
Hopefully there’s a light at the end of this tunnel, as word I get from inside SixApart is that “this downtime was related to one of the last steps in our move to a new data center, which is precisely for dealing with our past performance issues.”
I’m glad to hear that they’re moving to a new data center, and I can only hope that the company is going to get through the tough, but critical growth stage of replacing the neophyte startup entrepreneurs with seasoned executives who can help the firm grow big while retaining both investor and customer confidence.
Meanwhile, I’m glad to be hosting my SixApart-based weblogs on my own server, not theirs, and I strongly encourage people to have a serious look at the new Yahoo-hosted Movable Type business blogging solution, which looks like a sweet deal at less than $10/month. (more information)
(Om Malik and Jeremy Popper both have interesting perspectives on the Typepad outage too)