Wednesday, February 18, 2009

We Ain’t Gonna Get No Mail No More…

Or for the time being, at least.

The mailbox is bustedGates of Vienna can send out mail but we can’t receive any right now. Our ISP is up to its gluteus maximus in catastrophes and cataclysms; only heaven knows when things will be repaired.

Here’s the story from the ISP owner/manager, who calls himself the server monkey:

At approximately 5am this morning, the primary mailserver, which handles all inbound and outbound mail, spam/virus filtering, and master DNS service, suffered a catastrophic hardware failure. The severity of the failure also managed to wipe out the redundant system as well as rendering the identical system we had sitting nearby (mostly) useless.

Inbound email from the internet to all customers is currently down. At this moment, there is no ETA on the restoration of this service due to the severity of the underlying failure.

The main, critical server, was (in theory) well-protected against failure. Not only did all of its hard drives have redundant drives with automatic failover (RAID array) to ensure against data loss, but they maintained an identical server, unplugged, nearby in case of catastrophic failure.

As best as can be determined a faulty capacitor which controls the voltage regulation circuit for the PCI bus began shorting. This caused a power transistor to explode (quite literally) and incinerate several nearby components. This in turn caused a power surge on the PCI bus, which hit the cards plugged into it...notably, the dual-channel SCSI card which controls the hard drives. The SCSI card passed the surge onto the SCSI bus, which took out the entire RAID array.

The cold spare machine which was sitting in the closet works great,
however, for a rapid restoration of service, it needs just one of the
four hard drives from the failed server. Which means, our provider will be very busy trying to find out how fast they can build a high-volume mail server essentially from scratch.

I hope y'all can understand what server monkey said. As a way of cheering him up, I helpfully mentioned that it’s a darn good thing he wasn’t running all this on his own nuclear powered generator or he’d be glowing by now…

Anyhow, when things change and mail can be sent to us, I’ll update with a notice regarding the good news.

[post ends here]


Anonymous said...

Get an email address at
Once you get an account, in the setting you can activate smtp access. Once done you can send and receive mail with any email program without going through a browser window. Great as a backup email

darrinh said...

I hope your ISP takes this as a lesson and in the future uses a utility such as rsync to keep the spare server up to date as well as backing up the data elsewhere. You can never have enough redundancy! :)

Fjordman said...

You really should get somebody from Denmark to translate this newspaper essay, which argues that forcing immigrants to speak our languages is genocide! Yes, the authors do use that word:

Danmark er sunket til barbari

hank_F_M said...


I do understnad what you said.

Your provider has my sympathy.

RAID arrays are great, unless you lose the whole array.

Been there, done that, got lucky and restored array.

They need to have some other sort of back up.

Off subject. It looks like the Army is once again ready to fight the last war