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Is this it, all we get for the loss of our emails? DISGUSTED

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Is this it, all we get for the loss of our emails? DISGUSTED

I nearly fell of my chair with disgust when I read the so called status report on what was happening about the recovery of our emails...

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I would like to take this opportunity to once again extend our sincerest apologies for the inconvenience caused by the loss of any customer emails and in particular the unread emails. This has been taken very seriously within PlusNet. An extensive analysis of how this happened has been carried out and working practices implemented to prevent it happening again.


IS THAT ITHuh

Arent they forgetting to tell us what they will be doing to compensate for the loss of persoanl data, in my case, some of which cannot be re-issued, ie., receipts, serial number/account details for software - I cant even begin to imagine the extent of the grief this is going to cause.... Ive bitten my tongue for the last few weeks, hoping that my inbox would return at some point, but as the status light is back to green (as if all is ok!!), and the above statemetn, I doubt I will be seeing them again....

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This has been taken very seriously within PlusNet


Not serious enough to offer its customers some form of compo.. I cant believe this is it...

I think ill be requesting my MAC if I dont get a suitable response...

I think a revolt is needed!!!

Another thing... 700gb of missing emails etc... 700gbHuh Dont they have backupsHuh 700gb, thats a few hundred quid of hard drive space at its cheapest... I cant believe that!!!!
11 REPLIES
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Is this it, all we get for the loss of our emails? DISGUSTED

well im about to stick my head up and wait to be shot down but while i can understand the frustration at loosing emails - some of them essential. I also feel that we as users need to take some responsibility for backing up data which is important to us. Its part and parcel of internet life and general good practice when it comes to pc's whether thats a hard drive that could go west or an ISP system that goes belly up. I for one never rely on web based mail to look after everything especially essential things. I have webmail but also download emails locally so that i do have a backup if things go wrong. Is this not good practice?
OK have a go shoot me down but its just my humble opinion.
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Is this it, all we get for the loss of our emails? DISGUSTED

It is a bit shocking, considering how cheap 700gb is nowdays, it could easier have been backed up "just in case".

It's fine to download emails every 5 - 10 minutes (I do it myself), but if you decide to go on holiday for 2 - 3 weeks, and come back to find no new emails, it can come as a suprise.

I'm also suprised that when they accidentally deleted the data, instead of there and then involving the data recovery company, or at least making a backup before touching the drives, they decided instead to try and fix it on the only copy of the data they had and just made it worse - The syadmins at Plusnet must be completely clueless about Unix-style file systems, regardless of the fact most isp's use such systems. Maybe they got them cheap and all they know about is Windoze FAT file systems, in which there plan wouldn't have caused so much damage.

Ah well, it could of been worse. They could have been using a Microsoft OS, then although the data would not have been lost, it probably would have corrupted itself Cheesy
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Is this it, all we get for the loss of our emails? DISGUSTED

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I also feel that we as users need to take some responsibility for backing up data which is important to us.


I share that philosophy in fact my email client is set to delete emails from the server when they are downloaded.Once downloaded anything important is backed up to 2 places my "iDisc" which is in the "Apple" system somewhere; so I can if need be get to them from any computer anywhere,and also they are saved onto DVD, because to be quite frank there is no way I am going to leave anything important on the servers of a company that is trying hard to cut costs to the bone, and therefore taking as many shortcuts as possable with higher risk of a mistake: as has been seen with the deletion of so many emails.Call me mistrusting if you like but these are steps I put in place ever since Plusnet reduced their prices to what I considered a ridiculously low level a year or so ago.
ceridwen
Grafter
Posts: 937
Registered: 14-10-2007

Is this it, all we get for the loss of our emails? DISGUSTED

Whilst I sort of agree with doobert, don't forget that this loss of e-mails occured after nearly a month of e-mail problems during which some people couldn't even connect to access their e-mail let alone back it up. Indeed, I seem to recall that the work which lead to the loss of e-mail was to help resolve those problems.

Even without that, I don't think that simple "we apologise for the inconvenience" is going to placate those who have lost important e-mails any more than the same words issue by at a railway station about a cancelled train. Especially given that this is hardly a year after PN lost everyone's website during an accident during "routine maintenance" - and supposedly subsequently revised working practices to prevent such things happening again.

One very simply revision would be to buy a cheap 2TB NAS and some software to do an incremental overnight copy from the live servers to that NAS - not the most resilient backup system in the world but it would be better than the nothing PN seem to have at the moment and wouldn't be unlikely to be more than a £2000 investment (thats less than 1p per customer, so would very slightly dent one months margins).

Matthew
dubiez
Newbie
Posts: 9
Registered: 30-07-2007

Is this it, all we get for the loss of our emails? DISGUSTED

I am outraged and will be requesting my MAC code shortly!
I have been with PN for now 5 years and the quality of service has been degrading regularly (new customers getting priority on upgrades, connection nowhere near as fast as the promised speed, ...).
Back on the latest **** up, I was using IMAP rather than POP so that I could access all my email on the move. I only backup my emails every six month and I thought I was going for the overkill as any responsible email provider would surely make a backup of the data anyway.
I have lost countless emails with valuable info (membership details, receipts for internet orders, etc...).
I was never kept updated of what was going on with the data recovery, having to keep going on the status page to find out what was going on.
Plus Net are a bunch of amateurs, I have been using Yahoo mail for over 12 years and they have NEVER lost an email.

Yours truly #*#*#* off Evil
basil1970
Dabbler
Posts: 21
Registered: 30-07-2007

Is this it, all we get for the loss of our emails? DISGUSTED

I submitted a ticket to ask for my MAC code as soon as I read the report about the email loss. I remarked that although I still had a proportion of the year of my latest contract with PN to run, I'd believed this failure was unreasonable and that our contract should be dissolved. I too, had some significant email lost, much of which had been actioned or backed up, but the amount I did lose did include some material that was important to me.

PlusNet, to be absolutely fair, provided me a MAC code without further question. I have been a PlusNet broadband customer for over four years, and have used their ISDN and PSTN dial-up for several years beforehand. I am sad mainly that what was once an excellent ISP has slipped far short of its own standards. I intended to persevere given the recent refocussing from the management, but I believe that this magnitude of error is a step too far. I won't and don't need to say more; PlusNet are well aware what damage this has done their reputation. I truly hope their service improves significantly. If it does, I may reconsider in the future. In a capitalist system, if you don't like the service, move on.
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
Thanks: 18
Fixes: 1
Registered: 04-04-2007

Is this it, all we get for the loss of our emails? DISGUSTED

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It is a bit shocking, considering how cheap 700gb is nowdays, it could easier have been backed up "just in case".



I'm not so sure "easy" is the way I would describe it. Remember that we aren't talking about 700GB of static data, but 700GB of customer email that changes probabaly 1.5 million times per day.

Under normal circumstances the data is replicated across two sites so that all changes are copied immediately to the backup. At the time this happened the engineer was working on the backup site so no mail was on the backup at the time. At any other time a failure on the primary site would have meant we could easily failover to the backup and no data would be lost.
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,878
Registered: 04-04-2007

Is this it, all we get for the loss of our emails? DISGUSTED

Well I've lost emails too, I hadn't donwloaded them to my machine for a while and had been using webmail for a while as my own machine was out of action. I've lost about 3 weeks worth of email. Yes it's a shame and it's PlusNet that caused it but I read the terms and conditions (didn't you) and know it's my data and my responsibilty. I don't pay anyone to look after my data and if I have a gas leak and my hard disk is destroyed I'll know it's me that should be keeping off site backups more often.

Requesting your mac isn't going to do anything, look for a budget ISP (or a marginal one for that matter) who backs up all user data and I doubt you'll find one.
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Is this it, all we get for the loss of our emails? DISGUSTED

I understand it's not easy to keep two 700gb devices in sync with each other, but even if the sync happened once a day then only upto a days worth of email would have been lost, and people would have been much happier than they are now.

An enterprise NAS costs under £2000 for 700gb, and if you want to do it on the cheap, a pc copying the data at (say) 3am could do it with a £200 700gb sata harddrive, and at that price you can could even raid mirror the backup Smiley Obviously the cheap solution is no good for swapping over to if your primary server fails, but it'll keep the data safe for a while until the primary is back running.
Community Veteran
Posts: 2,829
Thanks: 153
Fixes: 2
Registered: 05-04-2007

Is this it, all we get for the loss of our emails? DISGUSTED

Working in software development I can sympathise with the mistake made by the engineer, I've made similar mistakes many times before (for example running SQL scripts on the wrong server and deleting someone else's data). I am sure anyone else in software would understand.

I am lucky in the sense I don't work with live servers, just development machines so if I screw something up, it's just limited to a selected few individuals within the company :lol:

It does not excuse PlusNet for not backing up the data before making changes to either server, but as has just been said I fail to see any other reason (than incompetence that is) why this was not done. I therefore don't view this problem as caused by the engineer but the lack of planning prior to this work being made, hence no way of rectifying the subsequent mistake(s).

Having said that, I know what it can be like when under pressure, and there were the e-mail problems for weeks before this happened. I know what is like, corners are cut in order to fix something urgent and I've been under the same situation (we got into a hot water by sending a customer a database script which was wrong and screwed up a lot of their data!).

Unfortunately for PlusNet, being an ISP their work is subject to many more thousands of users than mine is, they have probably also cut corners given the e-mail problems and it went quite wrong for them (IMHO of course). It seems to me they are going to hope the c-word - you know that one ending in '..pensation' and this situation dies down and is forgotten quite quickly.
ceridwen
Grafter
Posts: 937
Registered: 14-10-2007

Is this it, all we get for the loss of our emails? DISGUSTED

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I'm not so sure "easy" is the way I would describe it. Remember that we aren't talking about 700GB of static data, but 700GB of customer email that changes probabaly 1.5 million times per day.


I'm sorry but you do not process 700GB of new e-mails a day. The bulk of that 700GB is received and read e-mail which people have left stored on the server and hence is static. This is supported by the figures you yourselves gave (50% of these emails were identified as spam email, approximately 48% was email that had already been read, downloaded and a copy left on our servers with the remaining 1-2% of the email deleted being unread.). Assuming that the ratio of stored spam versus new spam is on average the same ratio as stored versus new real e-mail, that means that only around 4% of the 700Gb is dynamic and the other 96% is stored static e-mail i.e. static data.

As such, the amount which would change between daily incremental backups could easily be backed up overnight to a NAS via a gigabit connection (and if you don't have a gigabit network available a couple of gigabit capable network cards and a crossover cable would do the job and cost < £200 if that).

I'm sorry but I am unconvinced that you couldn't set up something quick and dirty like an overnight incremental copy to a cheap NAS, but which would have resulted in losing only a day of e-mail rather than the whole lot, for an initial outlay of just 1p per customer! And for 10p per customer you could have done something more sophisticated.

As it is, I suspect the loss in terms of the recovery service, bad publicity, additional migrations, additional load on CS etc. is far more than 10p per customer.

And you really expect us to humour your claims that you have a sophisticated resilient infrastructure 2 years ahead of the competition?

Matthew