NationBuilder apologizes for downtime

Via NationBuilder:

NationBuilder began experiencing a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack yesterday, resulting in intermittent service outages. Your data and financial information is secure, and we will not rest until service is fully restored for everyone.

We are reasonably certain the attack is directed at one of our customers for their political beliefs, and is meant to disrupt upcoming elections.

We know the impact is immeasurable, and we are very, very sorry. We are fiercely committed to serving all of our customers. Everyone has the right to organize – in fact, this is the very reason NationBuilder exists. We are grateful to all of you who have been communicating your support.

Several of my clients experienced downtime. Well, all of them, actually.  In the process of calming them down I explained a few simple truths about downtime.

I worked in a datacenter for 7 years. I know what an outage actually means: a handful of members of the company running around with their hair on fire, and everyone else holding their breath, looking at their ringing phone like it’s radioactive, and afraid to check their email.  So, as bad as it was for you, it was a thousand times worse for them.  Any one of them with clients were doubled over with anxiety, helplessness, and anger.

And remember: this was an outside attack. It’s not like someone left the door to the server closet closed and the equipment cooked all up, or someone tripped over the wrong optical cable, or someone spilled a coke on the wrong server; it was an ATTACK.

Another thing I explained to my clients is that all data centers (and their websites) go down from time to time. All of them. Every single one.  Ebay and Amazon go down all the time – however, their millions spent on redundant infrastructure prevent you from experiencing down time on your end, beyond the occasional spinning beach ball, a page that doesn’t load properly, or a some other odd behavior. If goes down from time to time, your is going to go down from time to time, as well.

So, yeah, hours of downtime is a big damn deal. But in the grand scheme of things, it ain’t a hill of beans.  A strong candidate should learn to roll with the punches.