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Thread: Feedback, Suggestions and Dealing with Outages

  1. #1
    Verified Community Member
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    February 11, 2006
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    Default Feedback, Suggestions and Dealing with Outages

    I have used ASPnix for my varied customer sites since the beginning of 2006, my experience has been outstanding with regard to dedicated and VPS services and I commend Roma and his team for their efforts. With regard to the shared services and mail server I have seen good and bad times here and wanted to share some suggestions on this and the overall way ASPnix communicates online. Hoping you find this constructive and other users will come forward and make comment.

    SUGGESTIONS AND QUERIES

    1. Email Announcements

    With "Announcements" and specifically "Maintenance and Outages" at the Community Forum, it is essential that there is a method to subscribe to this with email updates that works 100%.

    Currently I have gone to the forums and subscribed to “Announcements” at the top level (shows unsubscribe to this forum in the top options). However when I go to my forum “settings” and click “list subscriptions” or “subscriptions”, nothing is shown. I thought maybe you have to subscribe to an individual thread within a forum so I subscribed to “Maintenance and Outage”. This still did not list under my subscriptions.

    Furthermore selecting daily updates pushes no email to me.

    It is vital that any Announcement, especially Maintenance & Outages can be pushed to my email from the forums AND an alternative non-ASPnix email address (in case the mail server is not working). Thus I can alert my users in advance to events rather than go into damage control when they happen.

    If the forum software is not capable of this then I suggest you make a special mailing list you can subscribe to for important outages and maintenance at ASPnix, this is a real must for resellers.

    I understand via Twitter we can get alerts but nothing is as good as a simple email and often I want a longer explanation.

    2. Quoting Schedules in GMT

    Forum comments such as “should only be a couple more hours before it has processed” or “This will be completed today as there is no reason for this to go past this afternoon.“ are useless as without logging into the forum we can’t get a definitive time zone from a post as a point of reference to our local time. Your afternoon could be our evening! Suggest being very clear with your support posts for instance: “Expected time of completion Sunday 13th August at 14:00 MST (UTC/GMT -8 hours).” The GMT variation is essential so we know what time zone you are quoting.

    3. More Frequent Forum Updates for Serious Problems

    During the recent email upgrade issues (6-8th of Nov 2010) reporting was sporadic. For instance we were updated with posts at the following intervals: 6 hours, 5 hours, 2 hours, 4 hours, 6 hours, 10 hours, 1 hour etc. For such a critical service to be down for two days a method of consistent reporting intervals is need at the forum. I would recommend either updating one status post every two or four hours or making more consistent and regular posts at defined intervals based on an event's circumstances.

    During the outage I noticed 20-30 users/guests were always watching the thread and this was the only real link to what was happening. As you can appreciate for those of us who are resellers we have had to take calls from disgruntled users so it is really important to be able to tell them something, even if it is the status has not changed and next report will be at a specific time. Whilst we appreciate your time is being spent concentrating on fixing the problem, reporting to your client base and setting expectations during an outage is essential.

    4. Splitting Upgrade Events

    If technically possible could upgrades to equipment or software be split over a number of sessions, grouping domains rather than taking down all services. For instance migration of domains letter by letter to a new service, rather than attempting the entire install base at once (hence major migration issues can be found out early). Obviously this may not be technically viable but would make sense to do so if possible.

    5. Multiple Passwords

    Would love the Billing/Support system to have the same Username and Password system as the Community Forums.

    6. Test your Community Forum Software

    A number of features don’t work at the forum, the forgotten password was fixed but I have noticed a number of other issues such as the subscription issue mentioned and then there are minor problems like Profile Photos are not able to be uploaded or referenced (says Invalid File even using an image that was validated in someone elses profile previously).

    7. Shared Hosting and .NET CMS

    For the CMS we use being "Sitefinity, it is not really viable using the shared service at ASPnix (VPS is the answer) as the performance of .net applications under this environment is slow with recompilation taking more than a minute in cases for standard installs. The same website .net production I might add compiled much faster at another ISP shared service, obviously this is dependent on application pools and resources available to a client base. I would suggest you let users who intending to use this CMS know that hosting it on the shared service is not recommended due to .net performance when the site is recompiled or make steps to improve this (maybe an option for users to purchase more performance power in the plan).

    8. Helm Control Panel

    As we have to lodge tickets to get full trust and sub domains properly configured it has been a long wait for the new service to be available and a number of promises. It would be very beneficial that you publish your schedule on this denoting what quarter in which year this is intended to happen, keeping it updated. We would also like to know from a .net perspective what IIS features will be available (see a competitor's options: IIS Settings) and if you will style a shared hosting package specifically to .net.

    9. Server Status Page

    http://aspnix.com/status/ has not worked for some time, makes it difficult to see what is going on.

    Hope these comments can be helpful, they are not meant as criticism. Keep up the great work, we still highly recommend ASPnix and will continue to use your hosting services.

    Cheers
    Richard.
    Last edited by quokka; November 9th, 2010 at 08:40 PM.

  2. #2
    ASPnix Administration Chris's Avatar
    Join Date
    October 11, 2008
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    Default

    Richard, Awesome post!

    #1. There is a way already :). Select the forum you want to subscribe to and select "Forum Tools" then "subscribe to forum". From here you can enable instant email notification (this is something we have added).

    #2. This was already planned for future notifications.

    #3. We are working out a better system to surround our services in better notifications, uptime monitoring, status pages etc.

    #4. We are examining faster and more efficient ways of handling large data transfer for future migrations and moves.

    #5. I am already working on an "auto-setup" feature alongside our billing system to handle auto-creation of a forum account when you sign up with ASPnix.

    #6. If you find a bug or an issue report it. vBulletin is a huge piece of web software and we cannot possibly find everything. The issues / bugs we do find we fix and if it is related to something within vBulletin we address them for a fix or a bug report.

    #7. We run a many sitefinity powered sites that run great on our servers. (I don’t think I can give links without client permissions). But they run very well. We do not run weak servers, we only buy powerful and high-end equipment to run our shared hosting servers, database servers etc. Some servers are more taxed then others, but we do our best to keep them running tip-top. I do agree however that usually .Net applications are more resource intensive than other server-side based languages and yes on low traffic sitefinity sites the Application Pool will time-out and close resulting in longer wait times for initial requests.

    #8. Helm is no longer our default control panel. We have been running WebsitePanel for the last 30 or so days. However due to the extreme differences in this system and Helm there is no one click your migrated button. If you are interested in this, email me chris@aspnix.com. As far as Discount ASP, they are a huge company that operates several hundred thousand domains with a very large budget to develop their own completely custom system.

    #9. Yes we are working on this. We are not 100% sure why it stopped working, but we are addressing the issue.

    Thank you Richard for taking the time to write your thoughts and comments about us. We are listening and trying every day to improve our services!
    Christopher York
    ASPnix Administration Team
    www.aspnix.com

  3. #3
    Verified Community Member
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    Thanks for the response.

    1. I mentioned I had selected Forum Tools and it shows I am a subscriber but I get no email notifications on posts. Also on this very thread when you posted I received no email to notify me even though I selected for this to happen. There is something wrong with your email notifications on this forum and I will lodge a ticket with all the other issues I have found. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of it.

    3. Whilst I welcome new systems you do have an adequate system now, what you don't have is a company policy on how frequently you should update users with a status on an event. It is not about the technology that delivers it, it is about being consistant with response.

    7. I appreciate you buy quality gear but there is only so much resources available for so many sites (hence the reason we choose VPS or dedicated for the critical ones). Go and install the out of the box version of Sitefinity with the Emerald Blue theme (SQL 2008) on your shared servers and see how long it takes to compile. You might find your existing customers are happy because they test their site after a compile but given a period of inactivity see how long it takes for the site to come up. We are forced to constantly use Servers Alive to keep alive shared sites every minute to stop .net recompiling because it takes so long. Much of the problem is .net being hungry but I am forced to conclude that to get a decent response time to compile a site from scratch users of this CMS should steer clear of shared @ ASPnix and look to a VPS @ ASPnix where they have a dedicated amount of resources and ease of configuration.
    Last edited by quokka; November 9th, 2010 at 11:55 PM.

  4. #4
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    Forum Notifications working great now, also the new mail server upgrade is brilliant guys.

    Thanks for taking some of my suggestions on board. Sitefinity and ASPnix VPS = awesome.

  5. #5
    ASPnix Administration Roma's Avatar
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    June 27, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by quokka View Post
    Forum Notifications working great now, also the new mail server upgrade is brilliant guys.

    Thanks for taking some of my suggestions on board. Sitefinity and ASPnix VPS = awesome.
    Thanks for your email server feedback.

    I'm working on the SF+ASPNIX package and information. I will email you.
    Roma
    Friendly ASPnix Administrator


    https://www.aspnix.com
    roma@aspnix.com



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