Death2Spam became death for email

Kiwi anti-spam company plans move to Amazon virtualised infrastructure

A hardware failure left Death2Spam customers without email for nearly 24 hours last Tuesday.

A server breakdown resulted in no incoming email from 10.30am Tuesday, disgruntled customers told Computerworld. By end of the day on Tuesday, the problem was still not solved.

“This has paralysed my business,” said one Death2Spam customer. “It is irresponsible for a company that is charging for a service not to take safeguards.”

Email started coming in again on Wednesday morning, he said.

Death2Spam founder, Richard Jowsey, says the company experienced a “catastrophic hardware failure” of a RAID (redundant array of independent drives) with four drives. The server breakdown affected around 250 customers, most of whom are in the US and Europe. He estimates around five clients, or 25 users, in New Zealand were affected.

The server is located in a datacentre in Texas and people were working there over night on Tuesday, getting new hardware installed and reconfiguring the RAID, says Jowsey.

In the meantime, Death2Spam routed the traffic for that domain to a backup server system, which is virtualised on Amazon’s web services fabric, he says.

However, customers would be experiencing propagation delays due to the DNS (domain name server), he says.

The server failure was only affecting one tenth of the traffic on Death2Spam’s grid, he adds.

The company has been planning for the last year to move to Amazon’s virtualised fabric-based cluster, and the failed server turned out to be the ideal opportunity to use it, says Jowsey.

The move to the virtualised and highly scalable cluster solution will take place within the next six months, and that will prevent failures like the one that happened on Tuesday, he says.

Chillisoft is Death2Spam’s distributor in New Zealand and Australia. None of Chillisoft’s customers were affected by the server failure, says Chillisoft spokesman Geoff Cossey.

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