Ancestry.com has issued more information regarding the RootsWeb website outage. As many of you had assumed, it was a hardware failure. The message of the RootsWeb home page now reads:
We're currently experiencing a temporary website outage due to Rootsweb [sic] hardware failure. Rest assured, our development and web operations teams are busy working to securely restore the site as quickly as possible. Our initial expectation is to have the site back up and running on or around March 15, 2016.
We apologize for the disruption and thank-you for your patience.
We will provide other updates here as we have them.
It’s never a good sign when a website owner can’t capitalize the name of its own website.
To be fair, the current message was probably placed there by hardware guys scrambling to save the site, not to spell it correctly. Still, how can I pass up an opportunity that good to tease Ancestry. :-)
You may be wondering why Ancestry is thinking it will take two weeks to get the site back up and running. In this sort of situation, it’s dangerous to give any sort of date, as things always take longer than expected, especially under emergency situations. I imagine they have padded the date, thinking it will take less time, and that actually it will take more.
For your flagship product, you are constantly moving, improving, rewriting, and upgrading. The Ancestry.com website will have state of the art tape backup hardware and software. It would be too costly not to. RootsWeb will have been operating in MacGyver mode for some time. There was little money in operating it otherwise. It wouldn’t surprise me if the tape backup system used on RootsWeb will be so old and so slow that using it was a bit like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Perhaps it was taking a week or more to run a complete backup of the RootsWeb website and it will take a week to completely reload all the tapes. Up to one week of data will not have been backed up, and you may find you’ve lost days of work.
It may be not at all as dire as I’ve outlined. Keep your fingers crossed.