Transmission

XMission's Company Journal

Blue Monday

XMission’s troubles started Sunday evening when an ethernet card servicing longtime UTOPIA customers on a Juniper ERX-700 began to fail.  It would run for about 20 minutes, then reboot, disconnecting everyone involved.  This wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t take a good 10 minutes to return to service.  For the last few years this Juniper ERX-700 has been the bane of our existence.  So much that we spent a considerable capital investment in buying a  new and powerful Juniper MX240 as a replacement.  The MX240 is a much more stable, powerful, and mature system than the ERX-700.  Nevertheless, in spite of our repeated reminders for customers to spend some time migrating their service to the new MX240 in a controlled manner, most people are busy, and as long as their Internet is working, it is understood that changing a technical aspect of it is low on their priority list.  Unfortunately that came to a point on Sunday night.

Being able to transparently migrate services to upgraded hardware and systems is always the ideal, and I made the call Sunday night to try and do this.  Unfortunately, we ran into some inconsistencies between how the old hardware handled connections and how the new hardware handled connections.  This left about 10% of our UTOPIA customers offline.  The change also had a routing side-effect which hit part of our networking fabric and took out our entire DSL service.  Some DSL connections restored immediately, others required some hand holding.

Moreover, the inconsistencies between old and new Juniper hardware was an enormous puzzle.  One that Juniper engineers failed to see a way out of for us.  It wasn’t until early Tuesday morning when inspiration struck and we found a workaround to fix the majority of the connections.

On behalf of XMission, and personally as well, I apologize for the service interruption that many of our customers experienced on Monday.  Since I started XMission, the motto has always been, “The service I would want as a customer.”  Yesterday, our system services fell short, and I am sorry for that.

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3 thoughts on “Blue Monday

  • Jeanette says:

    Thank you for the explanation. I am wondering however, when the information went out to have us migrate over to the new service. I do not recall receiving notification of that (and maybe I am forgetting the notification….)

    Our household relies on XMission to allow my husband and myself to work from home. We both lost a whole day due to this issue. I am grateful that part of the outage was on a Sunday. If we would have had a business day and a half without connectivity, it would have been much worse.

  • Pete Ashdown says:

    If you go to http://xmission.com/announcements and look at the 2011 archive, we sent out our first notification on July 19th. There were subsequent notifications after, usually in response to issues with the old service. Let us know if you’re not receiving these announcements. We’re also in the process of building a new notification system that will use Twitter and Facebook for cross-notification.

  • Maynard says:

    My first experience with xmission was when I was 14 years old and I took my computer down there to LAN quake2RA. Fast forward to now, 14 years later, and half of the reason I chose the house that I bought was the fact I knew I could get UTOPIA’s service with Xmisison.

    I have been a proud XMission/Utopia customer since 2008, and before that I convinced my parents to get the service since they were Murray residents.

    This is the 3rd post of information for this specific hardware problem that was found that I have recieved, and its the exact reason I continually boast about XMission to my nerd friends. While they see ping times on average of 60-80 with their services. Mine is 23. When their internet crashes it takes them 4 days to get a service man to the house (most likely to reset the router). They don’t get technical explanations on why the service they are paying for is having issues. And even better, they can’t call technical support and get instant acknowledgement that the problem isn’t on my end (because i’ve bricked a few routers in my day).

    So thank you XMisison. I couldn’t get my LoL on Sunday evening, I am one of those PPPoE customers, but I am one of those customers because after talking with tech support, letting them know I take latency and packet loss seriously, they did some custom configuring to my line to make it more suitable for my needs. That is customer support. Custom tailed internet to the home. But honestly not having internet for a few hours is worth it, compared to those horror stories I hear about from Comca$t or Qwe$t.

    I pay less, have better speeds, stronger customer support than any other service offered.

    Keep up the hard work.

    -Maynad (Gamer, Developer)