Over 1000 web sites go down after fire

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(Host) A Bellows Falls company says it’s still working on restoring over a thousand Websites that went down after a weekend fire.

The telephone and Internet service provider SoVerNet says the problem is partly due to inadequate backup of some data.

VPR’s Steve Zind reports:

(Zind) The blaze destroyed the building next door, but firefighters doused SoVerNet’s Bellows Falls headquarters in an effort to keep it from spreading.

SoVerNet’s telephone service wasn’t interrupted, but those who use the company’s email and Website hosting services were affected.

SoVerNet CEO Rich Kendall credits the fire department for saving the building, but he says waist deep water inundated the basement, where the servers for the company’s email and web hosting clients were kept.

(Kendall) “Some of our servers are soaking wet, literally dripping with water, and we have physically removed the hard drives from those and we’re restoring them. That data is crucial to us and we’re working hard to restore that data.”

(Zind) Kendall says the email system is now up and running, although SoVerNet is still working on retrieving emails which were sent or received during much of the day Sunday.

Most of the attention is focused on the websites hosted by SoVerNet. Fifteen hundred of the twenty-five hundred sites are still down.

Kendall says much of the problem is due to a backup system that didn’t work as well as expected. The system involved a single offsite server from which much of the data apparently can’t be retrieved. He says the fire has taught the company a lesson.

(Kendall) “Ultimately what’ we’ll take from this is that we need to have multiple backups, not a single backup, because you have back ups for a reason, to be able to pull data from quickly to be able to restore service. Clearly having one backup wasn’t enough.”

(Zind) Kendall says SoVerNet hopes to have all of its customer’s Websites back on line in a few days – but it’s too early to tell if all the stored data can be retrieved.

He’s encouraging clients whose Websites are down to provide SoVerNet with backup data if they have it so their sites can be restored more quickly.

One of the Websites affected is that of Governor Jim Douglas’ reelection campaign. It’s just over a month from the election and the height of the campaign season and Douglas campaign manager Dennise Casey says it’s a bad time for the website to be down.

Casey says the site is used to solicit campaign contributions, provide details on the Governor’s positions on issues and to get feedback from voters.

(Casey) “So it’s definitely frustrating and a little bit disappointing to not have this tool for use at this stage of the game.”

(Zind) Casey says SoVerNet has told her that the Douglas Website will be back up by Thursday.

SoVerNet’s own website is operational. It was able to restore it using backed up data.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.

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