I am typing something now for the general readership that I had to have typed (copied and pasted) to close to a thousand people on Tuesday and Wednesday. Unlike a lot of popular websites, We (mostly I) respond to every email that comes through here in some fashion. A lot of general questions about "where can I find slopeside lodging" gets auto-answered because that information is ON this website. However, questions like, "I need my SkiNC, can you tell us what’s going on?" will get answered…as will most non-general inquiries pertaining to skiing, the areas, the weather, etc.
So one-thousand-plus replies and emails later, I am now typing this explanation to the rest of you who wondered where the cameras went, where the weather was, where’s my SkiNC, where is the messageboard, and where’s the stuff I was reading on SkiSoutheast yesterday?
For the first time in ten season of doing all of these tourism websites, we had a massive server failure. This wasn’t an old machine either! So on Tuesday we had an AVALANCHE! Not from the heavens in the form of snow, but as in "the roof fell in" on SkiNC.com and SkiSoutheast.com…and our sister websites of www.HighCountryWebCams.com and www.HighCountryWeather.com.
Any of you who came to the website after about 10am or so on Tuesday will know that there was no SkiNC…or not much of one anyway! The portions of the site that are controlled by database programming were dead in the water. No slope conditions, no messageboard, no data, stats, etc.
I would joke and say we hadn’t payed our server fees, but WE are the host so we can’t use that excuse.
One possible culprit was a virus; one was that something in the redundant backups and/or raid drives corrupted the data…and one was that we had so much traffic on Monday and then Tuesday morning that the darn computer just said the heck with it and quit the job. While we received a ton of traffic on Monday and into Tuesday…the server that we have running SkiNC is equipped to handle much heavier loads than even WE get – so while the latter thought sounded cute…it wasn’t the case.
The bottom line is that even though we had the biggest, baddest, redundant backups etc, we are back up and running and basically have lost about two weeks worth of articles, two weeks worth of messageboard posts and two weeks worth of photos! It’s almost like that season of the old television show "Dallas" where everything that happened for a season after the character Bobby Ewing died. The following season opened with his wife Pam waking up only to see that the entire previous season was a dream. I remember being ticked off of how they basically were telling us that a season full of experiences was all erased.
Such is life. I’ve done enough hell raising in the last two-plus days to last me another five years and hopefully all of these kind of shananigans are behind us.
As I am writing this article at 5pm on Wednesday afternoon, our operating system has been restored for a third time in two days and our backups are restoring the data. I am writing this NOW, partly to keep me from dwelling on the fact that more than 120,000 visitors have hit our network of ski and weather related sites in the last two days and seen NOTHING. So you guys deal with my bit of therapy here. Thank You. I guess into every life a little rain must fall.
More than seven techies have had their collective minds involved with the fix, and nobody knows for certain what happened. However once the server gave up the ghost – enter the administrative gurus. These guys are good – but they are slow. Hours later we had a new server, new operating system and new redundant traffic handling, etc….but no SkiNC! …all on a machine that was SUPPOSED to be the biggest, baddest, backup protected system on the planet. I mean Thirty-one hours later (5pm) we’re back up and running.
It was kind of cool to see all of the email begin pouring in from regular users wanting their "SkiNC fix" for the day. As one of our regular visitors, On-Snow Reporter and messageboard member, Joe Harmon stated, "Hey mike, what’s up with the website? I’m dying over here! It’s my day off and I can’t even get on the best website on the net!"
Aw thanks Joe.
We’ve had people call us and email us that they were praying for us. How sweet is that?!
I guess if this was going to happen, it’s better now on a Tuesday/Wednesday in mid-December than during the peak season.
On Monday we had our biggest single day visitation, followed by two Dead-In-The-Water days. Go figure!
Anyway, if you’re reading this…we’re back up and hopefully all of that is behind us for some time to come.
Speaking of "where is SkiNC?", David Harrison, a news reporter friend in Orlando emailed me again today telling us, "…(just wanted to let you guys know I wore my SkiNC shirt and) people recognized it and asked me about it at Universal Studios! Many asked "is that the ski website?" I said yes."
That is VERY COOL. We love hearing stories like that. Everytime we see photos that you guys send us with SkiNC written in the snow, on windshields, in the fog, etc…it is very heart-warming. We just wanted to let all of you know that we appreciate YOU, perhaps even more than you appreciate SkiNC. It’s a great relationship we have with you guys, huh?
Anyway…sorry for downtime…and thanks again for making SkiNC important enough for your many emails. You guys rock!
Until Next time…
Be sure to visit www.SkiSoutheast.com for more stories and skiing in the Southeast!
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