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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    31

    Alabanza Horror Stories

    My hosting company takes on a lot of subcontracting work- webdesign companies pay us to run their servers and deal with their hosting customer support and billing, for instance.

    One of those clients has a server as alabanza, and I have to say its disgusting how horrible they are.

    A few weeks ago Alabanza updated their "DSM" program, which is what manages their webhosting accounts. After this, we went to delete a single account. For some reason, the program glitched and erased about a dozen.

    Okay, no problem. As their site says, every server package comes with, and I quote:

    "Managed Backup: Weekly full, daily incremental (changes since last full) backup of all data in /home and /usr/local/mysql/data on server. Includes one full restoration per month per server."

    So I called them, and they restored the accounts.

    Well, mostly.

    Last week I noticed that none of the restored accounts were working properly. See, they're all ecommerce sites, and as such have a bit of programming in them. For some reason, none of them could connect to their databases.

    Upon looking further, it turns out the databases weren't restored. I call up the help line, and they tell me I need to put a ticket into their helpdesk system.

    A day goes by, and I ask how its going. I'm told to wait.
    Another day. Then another.

    Today I wake up to this:

    Hello,

    Unfortunately, we do not have any backups for the requested databases:

    ####
    ####
    ####

    We regret the inconvenience caused.

    Regards,
    Vincent Brooks
    Alabanza Emergency Support



    My level of anger and disgust with this company grows almost daily when having to deal with them.

    Take this as a warning- never use these guys. Ever. And if any of you guys have advice on how to deal with this situation, let me know.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,029
    Well, you learn your lesson and from now you should move on and start do backups by yourself.

    I sough a lot of "full-backup" providers - in reality they almost never 100% has everything in backups.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    31
    Unfortunetly we haven't been dealing with this server for more than a few months, and its supposed to be a managed server, so we didn't do our own constant backups. Obviously, this is something that will have to be changed, but for the time being I'm horribly pissed off at alabanza.

  4. #4
    Thanks for the warning.

    Regards.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    CA, USA
    Posts
    140
    You should call them up and demand a supervisor. Once oy get him or her demand to know what they are going to do for you, the paying customer. If they don't have an answer or try to ask you to make a support ticket then ask for their supervisor...if they are unavailable ask when they are, what their name is etc.. The trick is to wear them down. If you can't get db's restored askf or copensation that you can pass onto your customers. Thanks for the heads up. I always try to get a backup restored every so often with managed backed outfits so I don't end up into the many of thousands of situations like this.

    Regards,
    Robert Davis

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    315
    Thanks for sharing your poor experience with us and warning.

  7. #7
    Sorry to hear that, but it's recommended to clients to back up their files as well to be on the safe side.

  8. #8
    I understand your frustration but I want everyone to understand that all the information was not provided in what happened.

    A domain was trying to be deleted which happened to be the Reseller for the others that where deleted. When you delete the reseller all the resold domains are deleted that the same time. This is what caused the domains to be removed. And when you remove a domain the database that goes with it is removed at the same time.

    This all occurred on 12-06-2006. They where restored through the DSM Interface. When the Support Tech working with you asked to make sure they where all working he was told they where and that was the end of the situation as far as we knew.

    Then on Jan 5th you requested a backup of 3 Databases you said where not restored. Now we do keep backups for up to 21 days. And since the domains where accidentally deleted and the databases with them were never checked to make sure that everything was working correctly. The database restore was not brought to our attention until it was out of the time frame in which we keep backups for a server. And as a result there where no mysql backups present for the 3 domains in question.

    No company can keep backups indefinitely and after a certain threshold they are removed.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    31
    We don't have any resellers. We don't know why the domains were deleted, but we've never set up resellers, we've never used resellers, and we have no plans to use resellers.


    21 days? Thats longer than the week you told me on the phone today. Glad to see you're improving.

    In September we had a similiar issue with backups, when we requested one for a site and you gave us a three month old database file. Three months old. When we asked for a newer one, you said that do to some error you didn't have one. So, we asked you in a ticket what your backup times where, and we recieved the following email:

    ~~~~~~~

    Hello Jason,

    I assume that your issue got resolved. I am closing this ticket. In case you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.


    Regards,
    Nile Scranton,
    Alabanza Technical Support

    ~~~~~~~~

    That did not answer the question, and when we asked further we were still not given an answer. This is the first time I was told the backups are only for 21 days, and the only reason I got that answer out of you was because you're trying to save face in front of "potential" clients, as opposed to taking care of the clients you already have.


    Moving back to the issue discussed:

    We did not tell you the databases were working those weeks ago. When I called you, I was out of state and no where near a computer, and you (as in your company) said that they were fully restored. You did not restore the databases, like you told us you did, and you cost us money. I specifically asked them to check the sites, as I was no where near a computer, and your technician said it was fine.

    On top of that, your service has been horrible. Lets just go through a typical Alabanza day, today for instance-

    Your DSM software broke today, meaning we couldn't log in to any of the control panels for the sites.

    The email server went down, and the wonderful people managing it didn't notice.

    The server load went up, for some unknown reason, and you still didn't notice until we called, and even then it tooks you hours to fix it.


    For a managed service, you may want to consider managing the server. You charge over $800 a month for this box, and have done nothing but cost us money and aggrevation. If it was my choice, we would have left long ago- fortunetly for you, I'm the lead programmer, and not the owner of this company. Even still, if there aren't improvements made, well, you get the idea.

  10. #10
    If they are that bad then why are you still using them?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    31
    We've gotten too much work lately, and while all of our new sites are with a new datacenter, it has given us little time to move sites off of that server. However, this is something we're working on, and we hope to be away from them in the next month.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    315
    Quote Originally Posted by tedivm
    We've gotten too much work lately, and while all of our new sites are with a new datacenter, it has given us little time to move sites off of that server. However, this is something we're working on, and we hope to be away from them in the next month.
    Have you already chosen the new host?

  13. #13
    Best to stay away then

    Thanks for the warning

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    31
    Yes, we plan on moving to Sago Networks. We already have a pair of servers with them, and while there have been a couple of incidents which left me less than pleased, the responses to those situations by Sago's team has made me a fan of them. Hopefully they'll continue that trend.

  15. #15
    tedivm,

    I have a couple of suggestions moving forward with backups.

    1. Once backups have been set up and running, perform a test restore to make sure that everything is working correctly. This will verify that there are no server, client, backup medium errors and the company is backing up the correct directories.

    2. For your databases, perform a daily dump to files to be backed up. <snip>
    Last edited by bear; 01-22-2007 at 11:57 AM.

  16. #16
    I'm very familiar with the Ala DSM and tvargo is correct. If the sites were listed under one primary reseller/domain then if that domain/reseller was removed it would delete all of the accounts associated with it. Unfortunately they only agree to hold up to 21 days worth of backups so you're kinda screwed.

    I would suggest setting up your own backups that are synched with a cheap backup server. PM me if you need assistance in setting up some backup scripts. We've developed our own backup scripts and they've proven to be reliable.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    51
    Quote Originally Posted by theunknown
    I'm very familiar with the Ala DSM and tvargo is correct. If the sites were listed under one primary reseller/domain then if that domain/reseller was removed it would delete all of the accounts associated with it. Unfortunately they only agree to hold up to 21 days worth of backups so you're kinda screwed.

    I would suggest setting up your own backups that are synched with a cheap backup server. PM me if you need assistance in setting up some backup scripts. We've developed our own backup scripts and they've proven to be reliable.
    Good reminder to backup. Thanks for the info.

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