Utility hosting

February 9, 2006

Utility… a word that brings ideas of convenience, ease of use and overall suitability….

Utility hosting however… a different story. Imagine this, building a new website for a client using all the whizzes and bangs that .Net gives to us and we need new servers before going live. So we deliver a desired spec to our IT guys 4 months before the expected live date. Said IT guys decide that they can get a good deal on some new fangled blades attached to a SAN (network storage device). Now I’d heard lots of horror stories about SAN’s and possible difficulties with .Net and IIS6, but assumed that our IT and infrastructure guys would check that out and ensure it was suitable.

So, launch day approached, the site was load tested (by IT) on the new platform and seemed fine. Site launches and half an hour later the event log is full with perfmon messages, CPU keeps maxing out and worker processes recycle continuously for no reason. So back to the old site as quick as we can…..

So we try all sorts of different load testing and manage to kill the new platform within 5 minutes. We try the same load testing against the same site on a normal server (non-utility) and it’s fine! Ok, so getting closer, it’s looking like the platform. I speak to one of the engineers at the hosts and they say they may have to rebuild the blades, but it’s too late now, confidence in that platform has disappeared.

So we’re now going back to the platform I’d requested in the first place (thank god). The moral of this story? Stick to your guns, if you know you’ve made a good choice don’t let others change that decision (even if they are best mates with a director….).

A lesson learned!

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