Dedicated Server Blues
December 12, 2006 4:30pm CST
Hi all, Got a nice little story to tell you all about the current situation I am in with my collocation provider. Because legal action is being taken I am withholding the names of the companies in concerning until my companies hardware is released. The companies in question will appear as "Company A” and "Company Z". “Company A” is my collocation provider (the person I pay for collocation, receive support etc) and "Company Z" is the company which "Company A" uses as there provider for racks and bandwidth. As soon as the hardware is released I will name “Company A” as they are a complete joke of a collocation provider. It all started in May 2006 when our old provider (RapidSwitch) increased costs for the Red Bus price hikes. The new quote which was given to us by RapidSwitch had risen by 3 folds for just half a rack (hitting £700 per month with 1000gb bandwidth). As a growing game server provider with no more than half rack this was well above budget of what we could afford so moving was the only option available to us, so the hunt for a new collocation provider started. With a lot of companies not willing to give out quotes due to their Red Bus renewal was soon and where unsure of their new prices, moving to a new data centre which wasn’t Red Bus looked like a good option. One of the quotes received was from “Company A” at IP House. With our renewal for Rapid Switch due a matter of a month away, we had to move quickly. One constraint of moving into IP House was “Company A’s” network wouldn’t be installed into IP House for a week and we would be on temporary transit until there network was installed. They were also doing a migration from Red Bus to IP House from RapidSwitch also. The move was quick and reasonably painless (apart from major issues of Sat Nav, Black Wall tunnel and finding IP House) . The major issues and problems started was when the temporary bandwidth wasn’t holding our servers too well with high ping spikes, high lag etc. We let these problems go due to the fact we were told that the network would be installed a week later and the fact they saved us from a dark place. The bandwidth and the rack was provided and owned by “Company Z” but “Company A” was our provider (still with me?) 2 weeks past and we were reasonably happy to be out of Red Bus, no more overheating issues, no £60 per hour charges to visit our own hardware but we were still on this temporary bandwidth. As time passed we needed our collocation provider to do little bits of maintenance for us such as when our reboot racks wouldn’t bring a server back up. We thought we had hit gold when our provider turned around and yes no problem, no charge!. But it didn’t, with deadlines given to us, we found they were never even met. We were told that there would be someone to do our maintenance for us on a night which would only fall through. Out of 20 requests for help from them and us being given a time when a person was there to look at it, only twice out of 6 months + of service did someone actually look at it (or so im told). The funny thing is, when the person “looked at it” we just got a reply from Company A saying it gets to the login screen and that is it, they didn’t repair the fault or diagnose it. Because we couldn’t rely on them to do anything I would travel the 100 miles plus to IP House to do the repairs myself. Gets to the login screen? My a*rse, they both had fried motherboards which didn’t post anything. We were just passed off with a load of rubbish. Now I have no real problem in visiting the data centre to do the work but another one of those great problems we have had with this provider is getting access into IP House. The last 3 times I have visited we have had issues of access, first instance was getting access for myself and my business partner. We had told our provider that we would be visiting on X date and Y time with a week notice with constant reminder emails during the week that we were going. When I arrived at 1am after picking my partner up from Gatwick airport, I was told that we were nowhere to be found on the list. As I am sure you can imagine the poor bloke outside IP House got a shouting via his intercom ? He couldn’t do much more than give us a managers number and wait. Luckily enough we managed to blag our way in after 2hrs of phone calls. A few weeks later I had to perform some upgrades to our servers, this time I went on my own and from the situation I had last time I gave a week notice. Guess what? Same thing happened again but this time I was waiting outside IP House for 8 hours! The contact number for Company A couldn’t “give a sh*t” and was either impossible to contact , just hung up on me or told me to wait it out. As I am sure you would be.. I was fuming. Sitting outside IP House on a Friday night isn’t nice! Luckily enough one of the techs in IP House felt sorry for me (after 8 hours) and contacted the rack owner to get me access. This is where I found out that Company A was renting from Company Z. Company Z gave me access for the night. After 3 weeks of pushing I got an apology letter but nothing out of it.. Now for the last 3 months we have had major network issues with the temp. transit which Company A not admitting fault and blaming it on NTL and other people. Because it wasn’t going to get sorted by itself we gave them an option to either move us to the new network or we move out. We were given promises that the new network would be put into place within a week but unfortunately it still has not. This was 3 months ago.. since then he either doesn’t reply to emails, gives us lame deadlines or just plain old lies to us. The network is so poor we get pings of 200 plus, huge lag spikes and major delays on voice servers and certain types of game servers. As I am sure you can imagine we lost a lot of business and had a lot of charge backs! We were promised he would change the routes into the servers, it took him over a month for him to do it. He just lies.. During November we said enough was enough and went to move out on the 1st December to BlueSquare. With us giving a week’s notice that I would be visiting the data centre, I contacted Company A the night before to 100% check that we are on the list considering people would be relying on us to help us install at BlueSquare. Company A didn’t have any guarantee that we where on the list and that they were waiting on a email reply from Company Z. Knowing how Company A works which is put as little effort in as possible I requested he rang Company Z himself.. I was shocked to find he refused and I had to do it myself. Due it being past 5pm I was unable to contact Company Z and was forced to try to contact IP house direct to see if I was on the access list. Again we were not on the list! Next morning (the day I leave) I contact Company Z to find out what was happening directly instead of being promised by Company A that he would find out. After waiting on the phone for a while, being promised to be called back and wasn’t I find that Company A hasn’t paid Company Z a single invoice since I moved into the rack over 6+ months ago. Company Z where now denying me access because Company A hasn’t paid. I was told that It should be sorted by Tuesday (5th December) but still Company A still hasn’t paid. I have been ready to go to the datacentre every day this week but only to be on the phone trying to sort out the mess. I have now been told that “Company Z” will not talk to me as suggested by their lawyers as I don’t have a contract with them in person. On Wednesday (6th) I contacted “Company A” to find out what was happening to only to be told that he was waiting for a call back from “Company Z”. I was told I would receive a call back after 15 mins but never did, so every hour I rang back trying to find out what was happening. I was just left being told that he hadn’t rang them yet and he was going to ring them back now and then call me back in 15 mins. This happened from about 4 times that day until I gave up. That night “Company Z” sent me a text message that they hadn’t received or heard anything from “Company A” and they were going down the legal route. So I currently have 2 offline servers in the rack, a crappy network, losing customers because of it and I can’t do anything because Company A decided that they don’t want to pay any of their bills. We are not a priority to Company A even though I have taken time off work for 4 days running so I can do the move. We have always paid our bills on time or even a week early when Company A asked us to as we were told they where skint. So now what to do? Wait it out? I currently have a ½ rack sitting in Bluesquare with my name on it but can’t do anything because I can’t get my hardware. I wonder if the other people who have hardware in the same ½ rack as us in IP House know about the situation. Suppose I have to pray they don’t cut our power or bandwidth also! As per normal the little man gets screwed over Give me your thoughts and suggestions.