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Bytemark failure illustrates value of Twitter

This site is hosted at Bytemark, which has a good track record for performance and service. On Sunday afternoon Bytemark and all its virtual servers became inaccessible. Seeking reassurance that this was a temporary problem and being worked on, I tried to get more information. This is a relatively small ISP and there is no 24-hr telephone support; there is an urgent email support address, but since this would be sent via Bytemark’s servers, which were down, I knew there was no point in using it.

I turned to Twitter search, where I found others tweeting about the problem, including MD Matthew Bloch:

is busy working out WTF is wrong with Bytemark’s core network, update on the forum as soon as it’s accessible again

re: Bytemark, both our Manchester core routers seem down, engineer is 20 mins away from data centre to help us with diagnosis.

tracking down enormous source of traffic on Bytemark network

wondering why the network is back up – still poring over switch configurations but things looking a little more useful.

and so on, with the directors demonstrating a degree of personal involvement that larger ISPs rarely display. The outage is still annoying of course; but knowing that it is being worked on with urgency along with a bit of information about the nature of the issue makes a huge difference.

When you need to search for the latest information, Twitter works well because it is rigorously sorted by time and date, which Google never is.

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