‘Heartbreaking’ data loss as TVCentral goes blank

Tv_central_logo mumbrellaTelevision industry website TvCentral is considering its future after an attempt to migrate to a new server went wrong and all of its data was lost.

The disaster came about four months after editor Aaron Ryan took ownership of the site which gets around 200,000 page impressions per month.

TV Central was created in July 2010 following a relaunch of tvauscast.

Ryan issued a press release saying: “TvCentral will proceed with legal action against VentraIP for technical difficulties with the site that led to the complete loss of data and history of the website. Staff were dealt a heartbreaking blow when VentraIP informed TvCentral at 1:30pm yesterday that migration to a larger site had failed and all back up and history were lost.”

Ryan said: “Not since the death of my sister back in 1997 have I been dealt such a blow. The people that work on the site are so dedicated and I must admit that when I am not working my second job outside the television landscape I am either sleeping or working on the website. Every ounce of passion goes into the site and this is heartbreaking.”

TV_central_home_page mumbrella

How TV Central looked when it launched in 2010

He  that a statement would be released at the end of the week on the future of the site.

VentraIP’s chief executive Cheyne Jonstone told Mumbrella: “It’s not really something I can comment on. it’s a matter between us and the people involved.”

Update: Ventra IP has now issued the following press release:

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: VentraIP Group (Australia) Pty Ltd, one of Australia’s leading web site hosting and domain name registrars, has today released a statement to address allegations made in a recent press release by Mr. Aaron Ryan of website “TVCentral”.

Mr. Cheyne Jonstone, Chief Executive Officer of VentraIP Group, said:

“Today I’ve been made aware of a press release that has been published and distributed by Mr. Ryan which claims that VentraIP has caused loss of data to his website, TVCentral.

Whilst personal details of matter are of a strict confidential nature between Mr. Ryan and ourselves, as a reputable company with tens-of-thousands of Australian customers who rely on VentraIP to host their website and be the registrar of choice for their domain names each and every day, we feel that it is important to clarify our position since Mr. Ryan has made the decision to bring this matter in to the public domain.

As always, every story has two sides, and the unfortunate situation in this story is that it is simply a case of a client not taking appropriate action when prompted.

We do keep backups of our customers websites. On a daily basis we restore two to three accounts from our archives after a client has accidently deleted files or overwritten something they shouldn’t have, however in certain circumstances when the data volume reaches a certain size in a clients account, or the amount of server resources required to backup particular files such as video and audio reaches a limit, we inform customers in writing that due to this reason their account will no longer be part of our backup process, and that they should ensure that they have a copy of their data in the unlikely event of a server crash or if they need to restore files for any reason.

It is not a published fact, but our system will keep the clients data in the backup system for seven days after this notice has been issued, which gives the client time to reduce the amount of data being backed up so that we can resume backing up the data on behalf of the client, or make alternate arrangements.

Aside from this policy and our backups which take place, all clients should always keep their own backups of their website data, irrespective of the size or perceived value, and our Terms of Services very clearly states this.

Over the course of the previous twenty-four days, Mr. Ryan:

– Has been informed in writing that his website would no longer be part of our backup routine due to the abovementioned policy. Mr. Ryan has acknowledged that he received this email but did not question it at the time.

– Had a shared web hosting service suspended due to Excessive Resource Usage, where the recommended upgrade path was to a Virtual Private Server (VPS).

– Accepted the recommendation and purchased a Server Management Day Pass as the service is not managed.

© 2012 VentraIP Group (Australia) Pty Ltd Page 1 of 3 Doc Ref: VENTRAIP-PR-TVC1

Monday, 13 February 2012

– When asked by our staff whether he wanted us to secure his server, migrate his existing web site as-is, or both, he simply replied “Yes secure is fine. Please go ahead”.

– Ignored a written request from our technical staff, which was made after the server securing had taken place, that asked Mr. Ryan to contact our Level 1 Support team to let them know when he would like a migration of his existing web site to take place, during the timeframes which we allow for account migrations to occur. We ask all clients this question as a migration can cause down time of up to 24 hours due to DNS propagation, and depending on the client and their target audience, they may want it to occur at different times of the day or night.

– Submitted an online cancellation request for the shared web hosting service after obtaining a credit for the unused portion of the pre-paid service, before making any effort to ensure that his website was being served from his new VPS, which resulted in his shared web hosting service being cancelled the following day. Both our Billing staff and the cancellation page in our portal informed Mr. Ryan that cancellation would take place at 11:00AM the following day.

Unfortunately, since Mr. Ryan had not taken proper notice of the email sent to him on January 20, 2012, nor had he requested us to perform the migration as per our Level 2 Technicians clear instructions, it resulted in the loss of his web site data.

Since the issue was made known to our Management team, I instructed our Chief Technical Officer and our Senior Technical Officer (Level 2) to comb through our backup archives to see if there was any trace of Mr Ryan’s data, even if it was several months old, however there was not.

Both my staff and I attempted to explain the situation to Mr. Ryan both through email and over the phone, however he has refused to accept any responsibility for what has taken place. As a gesture of goodwill, I have offered Mr. Ryan six months free VPS service (a value of $299) in order for him to build his website back up as I personally felt very sorry for his unfortunate situation, which he has declined.

I will also be conducting a review of our internal policies and procedures in an effort to identify any changes that can possibly be made to help prevent this from happening again.

However, a statement made today by Mr. Ryan that likens the loss of his website data to the death of his sister in 1997, are, in my personal opinion, outrageously disrespectful and in very poor taste. As a highly compassionate person, I feel for Mr. Ryan’s situation and if I found that there had been any wrong doing by my staff at any stage throughout this event, I would be at his mercy. However, after a very thorough investigation and taking in to account all of the facts, I have found that our staff have acted in accordance with our tried and tested policies and procedures, and Mr. Ryan’s failure to act and respond to several written requests is ultimately the cause of this unfortunate event. It is also clear that Mr. Ryan never checked his VPS to ensure his data had been migrated, which could have been done at any time as he was furnished with the details required to login to it.

Mr. Ryan has since made many claims to us and threatened legal action both in private and now in public, and as such we will not make any further comment on the matter.

This situation is a timely reminder to anybody who hosts a website, that having a backup of your data is absolutely vital, and it should not be assumed to be the responsibility of your web hosting provider unless you have a specific Service Level Agreement (SLA) which clearly outlines the backup policy and routine, and you are satisfied with those policies and routines.”

No further media enquiries will be taken on this matter.



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