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The Internet Businesses

Jatol.com Disappears, Stranding Customers 179

Posted by kdawson
from the back-up-everything dept.
J Cardella writes "On August 31, Jatol.com — a hosting company that had operated for five years, providing excellent support and reasonable prices — disappeared, leaving hundreds, if not thousands of people without access to their Web content and email. There is speculation that Jatol may have stopped paying their host, Fastservers. The evidence is that Fastservers has been turning off the machines with Jatol's customers' content. Jatol had already collected September hosting fees from their customers (including myself). The story gets stranger. The owner of Jatol.com, Tim Tooley, has also disappeared. He was apparently very ill for some time, and speculation on the thread goes from his skipping the country to lying dead in his home. Fastservers apparently is unwilling to turn the machines back on, so people could get their content, without authorization from Tooley."
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Jatol.com Disappears, Stranding Customers

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  • FastServers policy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kflat (574936) on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:34PM (#20547563)
    If FastServers is telling customers that they can't put the box online without its owner's consent, then he's probably elected to just bring it offline. The SOP for billing disconnection for companies like this is to have customers 'contact their host' for help retrieving their accounts' content. The specificity means that this was probably not a billing issue.

    (If any of this guy's customers can post FastServers' reply, maybe they can prove me wrong :)
  • Similar story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:35PM (#20547571)
    Some company you probably never heard of went out of business affecting no one you know. It was really uneventful.
    • Re:Similar story (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Bryan Ischo (893) * on Monday September 10, 2007 @10:07PM (#20547823) Homepage
      There is nothing that anyone can do about kdawson and his lame non-story posts. I wrote to CmdrTaco personally about this yesterday and the response I received was basically that kdawson is doing a good job, especially given that we're in a slow news period. So basically, this is just how Slashdot is supposed to work and the people who run it see no problem.

      I get the feeling that kdawson's mandate from the Slashdot team is to keep the stories coming; he's the guy that has to step in and post useless stories on days when there isn't much news just to keep articles coming so that Slashdot can keep the page clicks up. Must not be a fun job, sifting through hundreds of completely lame articles just to filter it down to the least crappy ones, that we then get to enjoy.

      I can't think of any other way to explain the fact that his (kdawson's) stories are mostly fluff.
      • by evanbd (210358)
        That excuses the fluff (somewhat, but I've never really minded the "random geek does something irrelevant but neat" type of fluff), but it most assuredly does not excuse the rampant FUD and trolling.
        • Re:Similar story (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tinkertim (918832) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @07:23AM (#20551065) Homepage

          That excuses the fluff (somewhat, but I've never really minded the "random geek does something irrelevant but neat" type of fluff), but it most assuredly does not excuse the rampant FUD and trolling.

          I agree that there is quite a bit of rampant trolling. This is not a case of rampant trolling. This happens quite a bit, I was actually amazed to see it on /.

          There are a _lot_ of people who see the $15 - $20 that they pay a host as a hardship, for them it is. Many people in IT do not have jobs, trying to make money via (some kind of site) is a last ditch effort. Many hosts restrict external MySQL connections, backing up databases every 15 minutes must be done manually, this is problematic if you hope to sleep.

          Someone 'just vanishing' like this is a really below-the-belt blow to many people who have sunk quite a bit of time and effort into a project that hoped only to make a couple of bills go away.

          I can only say, you insensitive clods, not _everyone_ makes 80k a year for processing oxygen :)

          I'm glad to see /. run this, even if it only serves to convince the DC to open those servers to let poeple get their stuff and move on.

          There is something to it folks.. I'm in this industry and this happens far too often.
      • Re:Similar story (Score:5, Informative)

        by exley (221867) on Monday September 10, 2007 @10:27PM (#20547961) Homepage
        There is nothing that anyone can do about kdawson and his lame non-story posts.

        Sure we can... We can go to preferences->homepage and then under "Authors" uncheck kdawson :)
      • I can't think of any other way to explain the fact that his (kdawson's) stories are mostly fluff.

              Maybe fluff, but not useless. The bitching is sort of entertaining.

          rd
      • by TheLink (130905) on Monday September 10, 2007 @10:43PM (#20548093) Journal
        If you don't want any stories from kdawson just go to:

        http://slashdot.org/users.pl?op=edithome [slashdot.org]

        And uncheck kdawson.

        I did this for Jon Katz. I think more than a few slashdotters did the same thing too.

        As long as kdawson's signal to noise ratio remains tolerable to me I won't be doing that to kdawson.

        After all, I think kdawson's story which showed that Miguel de Icaza thought "OOXML is a superb standard" was desirable - lot of people think Miguel is doing the right thing for OSS (heh including Microsoft in a way I suppose ;) ).

        If you think that kdawson's stories are mostly fluff you can just uncheck that box, if enough people do that, he might go the way of Jon Katz - after all they're not going to pay him to post stories that nobody will see :).
        • Actually I did uncheck Jon Katz back in the day.

          I also unchecked kdawson for a little while but then I got worried that I was going to miss something good. It's not that kdawson never posts something interesting. It's just that his signal-to-noise ratio is too low, and definitely the worst of any slashdot editors. That is what is so frustrating; if every story he posted was worthless I could easily just eliminate him from my view of slashdot. But because he sometimes posts good stuff, I have to wade thr
        • Except with Katz, they countered this by having other editors post his crap. If memory serves there was some rationalization about him being on the road and couldn't submit himself or some such thing but it certainly seemed like an end around the author check box.
      • by ShaunC (203807) *
        Would you rather they hire Roland Piquepaille as an editor?

        I notice you're a subscriber. That gives us a little more right to bitch, but on the other hand, it shows that we're okay with the way things are because we're more than happy to toss some money in the tip jar now and then. If you're really not that happy with how things are going anymore, pull your subscription. Me, I'm not going to renew mine once it's used up.
        • by Bryan Ischo (893) *
          My subscription is going to expire sometime pretty soon (I'm at like 9,800+ page views out of 10,000). What's amazing to me is how cheap Slashdot is. I think I put $100 into it back in 2001 or 2002, have read Slashdot almost daily, and often more than once per day, and I still haven't run out of page views (but I am close).

          Anyway, I am somewhat unhappy about the poor editing but overall I still feel that the site is worth it. I really just wish that Slashdot would dump kdawson and zonk, I feel like elimi
          • by Kadin2048 (468275) * <.slashdot.kadin. .at. .xoxy.net.> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @12:34AM (#20548879) Homepage Journal

            On the other hand, like I said before, I think that kdawson may just be fulfilling a specific mandate from the "management" at Slashdot, which is to ensure that articles keep being posted when none others are showing up. In which case, even if kdawson was canned they would just find someone else to do the same thing, making the problem more endemic in Slashdot as a whole and less with a particular editor.
            I agree, and I'm not honestly sure that it's such a bad thing. Yes, it raises the S/N ratio. But it's not like bad stories automatically equal bad discussions. And really, who reads Slashdot for the articles, anyway? Most days you can read 90% of what's on Slashdot's front page by reading the "Geek" section of Fark, or Digg, or any number of other sites. (Yes, Slashdot does get the occasional scoop. But that's not what keeps me reading daily, and I doubt it's what attracts most other readers, either.)

            If you don't have new topics up for discussion fairly frequently, then the discussions stagnate and die, and with it goes your readership. One of the reasons I don't comment as much on K5 as I used to, is that there are just too few articles (although we could argue for a while as to what the root cause of that is; the decline of K5 is fascinating in itself).

            I look at kdawson's "grist mill" stories, and click through to the discussion most of the time, because sometimes it's the really boring and/or trite stories that provoke the most interesting (usually offtopic) discussions.

            • Yep!

              After all, it's no work to "scroll by the Dawson story", is it?

              But I'd call these stories "narrow beam". Slashdot has a slightly broader audience than the mega-experts who can change a broken Vista box into Gentoo in 12 minutes.

              At my glacial pace of development I don't have problems with live data being lost. I have switched free host providers a couple times after each began going seriously south. (And this guy was a paid provider! The free hosts have even less barrier for new customers, and with a les
              • by Bryan Ischo (893) *
                Well, I've been browsing Slashdot almost daily for going on 10 years now. The more fluff stories there are, the more of my time is wasted skipping past them. I tend to read every editorial description of every story, and although it's not a whole lot of time, 10 seconds several times per day adds up eventually. And what's worse, the annoyance level of constantly reading the summary of news articles that are obviously completely worthless fluff, tends to rise over time out of proportion with the actual ti
              • by Chelloveck (14643)

                a broken Vista box
                Score: -1, Redundant
            • by sootman (158191)
              I look at kdawson's "grist mill" stories, and click through to the discussion most of the time, because sometimes it's the really boring and/or trite stories that provoke the most interesting (usually offtopic) discussions.

              Yeah, except that those are mostly discussions about how much kdawson sucks, and those will eventually get old. :-)

              (Half-joking, half-serious.)

              Seriously, Slashdot can only do so much of that. Yeah, sometimes something is better than nothing, but it's like eating nothing but sugar--that wi
        • by tinkertim (918832)

          Would you rather they hire Roland Piquepaille as an editor?

          Roland would never agree, it would just be 'too obvious'.

      • by Bryan Ischo (893) *
        For what it's worth, I got some good replies from CmdrTaco that defended Slashdot's position very well. Apparently there are alot of people who get pissed off when there is not enough news being posted and write to ask for more. So I guess there is some pressure to just keep the articles coming, even if some (or many) of them are kind of weak, coming from the Slashdot readership itself.

        He said that they try to maintain a good balance, and I guess that on average I have to say that they are doing a good jo
      • If you don't like his stories, go to your user settings, then select 'home page' from the the navigation bar, scroll down, uncheck kdawson and the save your changes - enjoy :)
        • If you don't like his stories, go to your user settings, then select 'home page' from the the navigation bar, scroll down, uncheck kdawson and the save your changes - enjoy :)

          Just to correct myself it should be preferences -> home page.
  • by cerberusss (660701) on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:38PM (#20547609) Homepage Journal
    For the last few years, I've been reading forums like webhostingtalk.com and this happens more than you think. The webhosting business has been a real competitive arena for the last few years and people expect to get good service for as little as $1 per month. I'm not surprised when some business get their throat cut.
    • by gambolt (1146363) on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:49PM (#20547701)
      Now I never get hosting without finding out who their bandwidth provider is. The whole buisness of selling and reselling bandwidth reminds me of a cross between multi-level marketing and Enron. Right now I'm using a VPS that is way more host than I need just so I know I'm free from that game.

      Web hosting is so fucked up with people with no physical access to the servers and no idea how a web server even works selling accounts from control panels that it makes me nostalgic for my old free .edu hosting on a HP-UX box.
      • I operate a small hosting business and agree with you 100%, don't buy hosting from someone unless they have physical access to the box and know what they are doing.

        After hearing so many sob stories of resold hosting dropping off the face of the planet and customers left adrift I made the move from a VPS and colocated my business with a reputable provider downtown. In addition to the peace of mind it provides me and my customers I've also been free of the the service outages and "oops" moments that were f
        • I also operate a (very) small hosting business as part of a web design business (though it's a second job and really more of a hobby). My primary market is local charitable groups. My clients get a better service by using me to setup and manage their hosting. I insulate them from having to know anything about hosting, DNS, server configs, setting up email accounts and the like.

          I resell web hosting for a company based about 20km away. They colocate about 200km away and I've researched the parent company.

          If I
      • by pimpimpim (811140)
        Same here, I had too many bad experiences with freehosters and free urls in the end of the 90s that I would know even think about registering my domain at some 2 dollar per domain name host. In effect, you can logically expect the quality as with a free host, except that you pay for it this time. Say if you would have a good backup system, then still, what if it goes bust, how do you get your domain name back? Instead I registered a VPS with a local host that was probably a bit too expensive, but not a bad
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by JoelKatz (46478)
      I see a lot of posts on various forums from people who don't have copies of their own web sites, databases, email contacts lists, and so on. I feel bad for these people, but they really are victims of their own stupidity.

      I have this conversation regularly:

      Me: Sorry, the only solution to that is to restore from your latest backup.

      Someone: My latest what?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        I have this conversation regularly:

        I have it tattooed on the inside of my eyelids.
      • What? You're saying that don't have a local copy, a back up of that, and an off-site backup stored somewhere? Say it isn't so! (fwiw that's sarcasm)
        • by Knara (9377)
          Why sarcasm? Every time something like this happens, the number of people who are literally (and textually!) screaming, "everything is gone I need access to the server to get my stuff!" is depressingly large. I won't go into the silliness of thinking that shared hosting is appropriate for running a bona fide business (this is a constant bitch on the Dreamhost blogs; when a shared host with no SLAs in the contract is taken down for an hour for an upgrade or relocation, there's a steady stream of, "My clien
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by suv4x4 (956391)
      For the last few years, I've been reading forums like webhostingtalk.com and this happens more than you think. The webhosting business has been a real competitive arena for the last few years and people expect to get good service for as little as $1 per month. I'm not surprised when some business get their throat cut.

      You know, people expect to get service for free as well, but it doesn't mean this should always meet reality. That separates smart buyers from dumb buyers. Dumb buyers will always exist, never
      • by multimed (189254)

        If Jatol.com dependent on a single guy, then most likely it didn't have plenty of customers, and most of those were quite cheap customers. They got what they paid for.

        I don't disagree entirely. But in many cases, how exactly is a customer to know whether a company is one guy or 100? To some extent, that's the blessing and the curse of the internet. And in this case, Jatol had a solid history of I think about 7 years and wasn't a one man shop. But one of the co-owners left in some sort of disagreement

    • by fm6 (162816) on Monday September 10, 2007 @10:46PM (#20548119) Homepage Journal
      Well, it doesn't happen more often than I think, not after my own brief tenure on the help desk of a colo provider. We would rent rack space to a "company" (often one or two people) who would turn around and rent it out to other folks. For all I know, they in turn also rented it out. (This is why spam blacklists are so useless: just knowing an IP address doesn't tell you which colo or hosting provider is actually giving network access to a spammer.) The guy in the middle goes out of business, and the guy at the end is hosed. And if the guy at the end is a shared hosting provider, his customers are hosed.

      Once I got a pleading phone call from a guy who had rented rack space from somebody who rented it from us. The guy in the middle had stopped paying his bills and got cut off. Policy was to seize the hardware in the defaulter's racks, even if it wasn't his, and hold it hostage against payment. The caller just wanted his hardware back, and if it'd been up to me he would have gotten it. We couldn't sell it, so it was just going to collect dust until the bill got paid — that is, forever. But nope, wasn't going to happen.

      Nor was the company I worked for totally trustworthy. Despite having thousands of racks in multiple locations, and its own network backbone, the company was basically the private property of one guy who had started the whole operation in his garage 10 years before. Now, AFAIK, this guy was 100% honest; he was certainly more than fair (well, most of the time) to his employees. But there was really nothing to prevent him from collecting all the bills up front, not paying his own bills, and skipping the country.

      And honest or not, this dude was not a great business executive. Because of poor planning and faulty procedures, we had endless network problems and even one highly avoidable power outage. (Caused by maintenance on the UPS!) Really, I think many of our customers would have ditched us in a moment, if they could have found a provider with any certainty of doing a better job than we were doing.

      What consumers need is some kind of a neutral audit service. Does the company have cash flow to stay in business? (Perhaps posting a bond to make sure their bills are paid?) Do they have "best practices" procedures in place to prevent stupid accidents like the one we had with the UPS? Hell, do they even have the facilities they claim to have? Then consumers could look at the audit and know what they're getting into.
      • Sounds like a typical lemon market [wikipedia.org]. There are a number of things clients need to keep track of when selecting a colocation host, but yeah in general you can severely be hosed.
      • by Alioth (221270)
        Sounds like you worked for EV1Servers (formerly Rackshack) - your description matches them almost exactly, including the power outage while working on a UPS.

        EV1Servers gained some notoriety a couple of years back by being hoodwinked by SCO into buying a "Linux license". They sold out to ThePlanet about a year ago.
        • by fm6 (162816)
          Amusing that my experience has such a direct parallel. But no, I was working at Hurricane Electric.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Just walk over with a USB key. It's a data center so they're open 24/7.
    • by rmadmin (532701)
      I've toured their facility. One does not simply walk into their DC. :(
  • Albeit my Earthlink hosting has had a few coughs recently on their web mail otherwise it's been a big dumb light switch for years and years. $50/month seems worth it, $1.65/day to not have to worry about it.
    • by fm6 (162816)
      "You get what you pay for?" Nonsense. Not paying for something is pretty much a guarantee that you won't get it. But paying for it is hardly a guarantee that you will!
  • I feel their pain (Score:5, Informative)

    by mcrbids (148650) on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:51PM (#20547713) Journal
    I got bit like this once. The hosting provider wholesaler I'd been using vanished. No phone calls, the colo wouldn't help me, and I was stranded with data that was 4 days old, (I had on-site backups, and weekly off-site backups) and some very, very pissed customers.

    It was about 3 days of hell getting everything together and getting back up. I also had to eat an entire month's hosting revenue due to TOS violations, despite having picked the premiere hosting facility on the west coast. It cost me thousands of dollars. I vowed that this would NEVER happen again - not like that.

    It takes just once before you "get" just how bad it can be when your hosting provider goes south, or your server borks, or you accidentally run "rm -rf /." instead of "rm -rf ./" or......

    So today, I have automated, nightly, off-site backups at all times, and fully redundant hosting "hot" - ready for rollover at a moment's notice, on a different network, different hosting company, in a different city. It would take me about 2 hours to cut over - the only delay is DNS updates. I even test them from time to time, and once had to use it when primary hosting failed.
    • by jmauro (32523)
      It takes just once before you "get" just how bad it can be when your hosting provider goes south, or your server borks, or you accidentally run "rm -rf /." instead of "rm -rf ./" or......

      Do you know how much work I'll get done if someone accidently rm'ed slashdot.
    • Same here. For a personal site in college, I always had a feeling that what we had was a one or two man operation with a couple hundred boxes, but the price was right, and the service was definitely there.

      Then, one day, they vanished. Didn't respond to instant messages, emails, phone calls. Gone. Went back about 20 days to the last backup we had. Didn't lose much that couldn't be rebuilt outside the forums, thankfully.

      Later, my friend, who did the design for all the stuff and who was paying the hosting bi
    • by Micah (278)
      Me too. Several years ago I had a colo box in supposedly a good colo facility in western Canada (first mistake, should have used someone in my own country, the US). They were pretty good for almost two years. Then, out of the blue, I couldn't access the server. Couldn't access the host website. No phone calls answered. Really ticked customers who I couldn't tell anything of substance to. About 48 hours later, I finally figured out who had my server, and called them. (No one ever called me.) They pu
    • ...It would take me about 2 hours to cut over - the only delay is DNS updates. I even test them from time to time, and once had to use it when primary hosting failed.

      Just as a caution - I don't know who your customers are, but try cutting over the DNS and seeing how long it takes an AOL account to find you. I think their DNS caches are like 24 hours or so. Same thing with a few providers, from what I've heard. This is all unreliable second hand info, though. Just thought I'd say something since it's something that I'd overlook until the 'oops' moment; I always remember something important just then.

    • An old web host of mine was basically a friend of a friend running a hosting company from his house, but he was honest and good at what he did. Then one day he vanished, and I later found out he had passed away in his home. However, he had done the responsible thing and prepared for such an occurrence, arranging for a friend of his to take over the operation, contact his clients, and give them some time to make other arrangements.
  • I really should do this more often. I don't know what I'd do if this would happen to me.
  • That reminds me... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jmagar.com (67146) on Monday September 10, 2007 @10:06PM (#20547813) Homepage
    Time to backup my server.

    Seriously, why does this rate as news? Bad hosting companies fold all the time. And keeping a backup is, and has always been, your responsibility.

    I'll leave you with this simple piece of advice: Suck it up, Buttercup!

    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      I was thinking the exact same thing. I keep backups of my data. I actually mirror the website on a server at my office for development.
    • by fm6 (162816)

      Seriously, why does this rate as news? Bad hosting companies fold all the time.
      You'll notice that the editor is kdawson, who has shown signs of taking zonk as his mentor.
    • by ednopantz (467288)
      Or better yet, don't buy K-Mart web hosting.

      I have a client who spent $25K on his web app (cool if I say so myself), then wanted to host it with a 19.99/month provider.

  • by x_MeRLiN_x (935994) on Monday September 10, 2007 @10:08PM (#20547837) Homepage

    Fastservers apparently is unwilling to turn the machines back on, so people could get their content, without authorization from Tooley.

    This seems to imply that Fastservers are wrong to do so. I disagree. I'd be very angry if one of my suppliers started using their position as such to talk to my customers and make changes to the services I provide to them. It's not their place to investigate whether Tooley is doing anything untoward or is otherwise indisposed. As long as they offer the same amount of security when malicious people try to tamper with an account without permission, they've done exactly the right thing.

    If you don't regularly make a completely separate backup of your website files, you are choosing to risk this type of thing happening. What if your host doesn't make regular backups themselves and your server suffered a hard drive failure? Even if a host claimed they offered this service, nobody would find out until after a failure. Regarding data loss, these two situations are no different.

    Moral: If your data is that important to you, don't leave one single organisation in charge of its safety.
  • by deftcoder (1090261) on Monday September 10, 2007 @10:25PM (#20547945)
    http://www.tweakguides.com/Hosting.html [tweakguides.com]

    The company discussed here left a few friends of mine stranded as well.

    You get what you pay for.
  • Welcome to the real world.
  • Missing the point? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BillX (307153) on Monday September 10, 2007 @10:47PM (#20548127) Homepage
    "boo hoo, y'all shoulda had a nightly(/hourly/minutely) backup server running off of an OC-3 in your basement" - all of slashdot so far

    So wait...has nobody yet noticed the part in TFS where the guys took the money and ran? Yes, people should have local backups of all their files, databases and UGC, but that doesn't make it acceptable business practice to keep billing customers with no intention of paying your upstream, knowing that the company will not last the month but choosing to keep it a secret until after the servers can be unplugged. (Along with "shoulda backed up" UGC goes any email that arrived since each customer's last login, etc.) FWIW, "but other companies have done it" doesn't make it ethical or acceptable either.
    • Here [google.com]. Third on the left, getting a lapdance from that hot chick. I believe that's his private jet below.

    • Given that there is no actual evidence, are you not jumping to conclusions? How do you know the owner didn't merely die and automated billing continued? You don't.
  • by knownzero (571410) on Monday September 10, 2007 @11:45PM (#20548543)
    For the most part, they were a decent host. Never had a lot of problems, and service requests were always handled very quickly. Very small company, with el cheapo prices. Yes, I had very recent backups, but that apparently didn't occur to most of the customers using Jatol considering the freaking out on the webhostingtalk forums. I don't think Fastservers is liable at all in this and while I understand that the people who were left hanging want them to do something about it, it's not going to happen, nor should they. The *only* reason this may be an interesting story (and it's not) is that the guy just plain disappeared. Even that doesn't really even warrant this level of attention. Now, if his Enzo is found in a bunch of pieces on the side of a highway, then this might get interesting.
  • I spend a lot of my time bouncing data between laptops and low-quality web servers. Every day of my life is filled with anxiety attacks and extended periods of denial. I burn through laptops like a hooker and underpants. Long story short: my data is in peril.

    What is the single best product I can buy and configure at my home office to hold a "safety copy" of my data? Should I simply RAID a few drives in an old *NIX box? Is there a pre-configured-in-a-shiny-box product worth the price? Educate me, please educ
    • No fluff, no hype, just the best product and best service I have ever had, in any sphere.

      If this doesn't convince you:

      http://www.rsync.net/philosophy.html [rsync.net]

      this will:

      http://www.rsync.net/resources/notices/canary.txt [rsync.net]

      and as I have been a customer of their parent co-location company, JohnCompanies, for _seven_ years now, I feel very good about their longevity and commitment to customers.
    • What is the single best product I can buy and configure at my home office to hold a "safety copy" of my data? Should I simply RAID a few drives in an old *NIX box? Is there a pre-configured-in-a-shiny-box product worth the price? Educate me, please educate me. I still hear the clicking of a crashed MacBook HD, even as I type this.

      Disclaimer, I have a couple on my shelf, but no other affilliation. The box does nice raid with a couple external USB drives. Simple and works well. Uses much less power than a
    • by dbIII (701233)
      I depends on how much stuff and for how long. Anything over 2TB is a pain, tapes are expensive, and hard drives used like tapes are not necessarily going to work in five years time let alone twenty.

      If it's not a huge amount of stuff and it's temporary there are firewire RAID boxes you can connect to a mac without having the hassle of a real fileserver.

    • by GiMP (10923)
      If you don't mind running it on OSX or Windows, you can get a Drobo [drobo.com]. It handles building rebuilding and the arrays for you automatically, even with disks of different sizes. The only problem is that it requires an HFS+ or NTFS filesystem -- no ext2/3/4, reiserfs, xfs, jfs, etc.

      Another possibly for local storage is a standard disk array and manage your own raid.
    • What's important in backup is that whatever system you use meets your needs. My needs are I want full automated snapshots of important filesystems taken at regular intervals (code, /etc, and the like), and I need offsite backups for important, but not necessarily often-changing files (credit card/bank statements as PDF, trade confirmations, my journal, papers from college, etc.) I stress "automated", because I would never remember to do backups on my own.

      I use a free tool called rsnapshot [rsnapshot.org] to make automati
  • There is speculation that Jatol may have stopped paying their host, Fastservers.

    Could it be a simple case that one of the sites they hosted on their 2 IP address was an anti-419 scammer page that got attacked. This could be a case where a target of a DOS attack took the host down. This outage is in the time frame that the anti-scam sites got nailed by a massive DOS attack. Does anybody know of any anti-scam stites on this host?
  • This is a situation like Cyberwings. In that case the owner ended up doing time in prison.

    http://www.dotjournal.com/web-hosting-down-cyberwings-story [dotjournal.com]
  • The summary implies that all of Jatol's hosted sites disappeared instantly. This isn't the case. Jatol may have stopped responding to queries on Aug 31, but at least some of their sites were still operational on Sep 5. See thread here [fmwriters.com] from one site who had forewarning that they would need to move.
  • Bah! (Score:4, Informative)

    by jalefkowit (101585) <jason@@@jasonlefkowitz...net> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @09:13AM (#20552041) Homepage

    This is nothing. If you want to read a story of true Epic Failure in Web Hosting, you should go read up on LeafyHost [arstechnica.com] -- the world's only web host to be founded and then completely melted down over the course of a 100-page Ars Technica discussion thread.

    There are so many laugh-out-loud moments in that thread I can't recommend it highly enough.

    (If the idea of reading a 100 page thread is daunting to you, you can read summaries of the LeafyHost debacle here [christopherhawkins.com] and here [zechariahs.org]. But really, do yourself a favor and read the thread.

    )
  • The owner of Jatol.com, Tim Tooley, has also disappeared. He was apparently very ill for some time, and speculation on the thread goes from his skipping the country to lying dead in his home. Fastservers apparently is unwilling to turn the machines back on, so people could get their content, without authorization from Tooley."

    Sounds like someone needs to find a hosting provider that has more than a single person running the whole company...

    • by Knara (9377)

      The owner of Jatol.com, Tim Tooley, has also disappeared. He was apparently very ill for some time, and speculation on the thread goes from his skipping the country to lying dead in his home. Fastservers apparently is unwilling to turn the machines back on, so people could get their content, without authorization from Tooley."

      Sounds like someone needs to find a hosting provider that has more than a single person running the whole company...

      QFT, as the youngins say

  • This happens often (Score:3, Informative)

    by Badmovies (182275) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @12:52PM (#20556237) Homepage
    A lot of hosts are fly-by-night and single person jobs that have only been around for a limited period. Those disappear all the time. Something to always remember when shopping for a host is "you get what you pay for." However, every so often, a larger and established host like this one disappears and lots of people are left in the lurch who weren't expecting it.

    The heartbreaking thing is that, quite often, the actual servers are are still there and the accounts are even on them, but the company that owns the servers (or the colocation facility) has them turned off, because their customer (the company that has disappeared) has not paid the bill. Now, everyone wants to look at the server owners or colo facility as the bad guys for not turning on the servers so that people can retrieve their data and migrate. The thing to remember is that they had no customer agreement with the end users. Their customer is the missing host. Quite often, the server owners/colo have no good POC's for those end users. Anybody could say, "Hey, I have 'this site' on 'this server.' Could you please give me access to get my data." It's a mess for anybody to sort out and do it right. Quite often, the server owner/colo is already out of pocket for the unpaid bills from the missing host. Now, everybody is asking for their servers to be turned on (and errors fixed, things managed) so they can get their data, thus incurring more costs to that unpaid server owner/colo.

    Want to know something amazing? I've seen those companies, that are already seeing a loss because somebody else didn't take care of their business, do just that. They sort through the mess and find a way to get customers into their accounts.

    Now, the best solution for someone is to keep backups. I use www.bqbackup.com [bqbackup.com] to make automatic nightly backups. At the very least, keep a local copy on your home computer or an external USB drive. If a website is that important, then part of managing it is to have a working (and tested now and then) backup system.
  • by TheMCP (121589)
    If people are really concerned that he's dead, figure out what town he lives in, call up his local police, tell them the story, and explain that you'd like them to do a "health and welfare check". They'll find him and see if he's alive and/or needs medical attention, or if he's dead. They might even tell you the result.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford

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