Today we experienced a service disruption to all services hosted from our Sydney data centre, and partial disruption to services hosted from our Brisbane data centre, for approximately 20 minutes between 11:18AM and 11:38AM AEDST.
The service disruption was caused by a power surge and brief loss of power to the primary feed due to the primary UPS bank overheating after an earlier air conditioning failure. Once on site, data centre technicians manually transferred supply direct to mains power which restored power to the primary feed.
Even though the majority of our infrastructure is supplied power from both the primary and secondary power feeds, it appears that some of our provider’s networking equipment is not which caused the complete loss of network services to the facility. The majority of our cPanel shared hosting and VPS customers who had already been migrated to our new Dell platform did not experience a loss of power and therefore the system up time would remain.
When power was returned to the primary feed just after 11:30AM AEDST, our provider was able to restore network connectivity and our team was able to perform a post incident assessment. At this time, approximately 95% of services in Sydney returned to normal operation, however there were some minor issues with legacy hardware that is still powered only by a single feed.
This is the third issue that we have had with power in this facility, and we have made it clear that as soon as we were able we would be relocating all services out of this data centre in to the new NextDC S1 enterprise data centre. This move has been in planning for several months and is already scheduled to take place on the evening of Saturday, March 22. A status event is scheduled to be posted next Monday, with a follow up email to all customers shortly after.
The move to NextDC S1 will rectify a number of key issues we have with the current facility, including power availability and network redundancy.
Every device will be powered by dual power, and any single corded legacy devices will be powered through an ATS (Automatic Transfer Switch) which automatically detects a loss of power in one feed and switches it to another without disruption. Our network will also no longer be reliant on a single provider to deliver multiple services, and will utilise a number of providers and diverse network paths for complete redundancy.
The new network in NextDC S1 will be provided by Synergy Wholesale, which features a brand new Brocade-powered network with dual redundant connectivity from a tier 1 transit provider, a tier 2 transit provider, and gigabits of peering from multiple internet exchanges in NSW.
These changes will ensure that an issue of this nature is unable to happen again without some extraordinary circumstances taking place beforehand.
Providing a high quality service to all of our customers is paramount to our business and our Management team, and we are satisfied that work that has already been completed and changes that are due to be made in three weeks time will prevent issues of this nature from happening in the future.
VentraIP Group, Australia’s sixth largest domain name and web hosting provider, today announced that its highly successful wholesale division will be separated and re-launched under the new name Synergy Wholesale, to meet growing demand for an independent, full service wholesale platform for Australian resellers.
Synergy Wholesale will officially launch on Monday, February 24, subject to final approval from regulatory bodies auDA and ICANN.
The company will continue to offer all of the wholesale services previously available under the VentraIP Wholesale banner to nearly one thousand existing resellers, including domain names, web hosting, SSL certificates and online SMS, while adding a range of new infrastructure services such as rack space in NextDC enterprise data centres, premium internet bandwidth, virtual and dedicated servers.
Twenty-two year old co-founder and CEO of VentraIP Group and Synergy Wholesale, Angelo Giuffrida, said Synergy Wholesale would fill a void in the market that is grossly under serviced and ignite competition in the sector.
“Since Distribute.IT suffered a critical cyber security incident that ultimately lead to its demise in June 2011, the local wholesale market has been a virtual monopoly to the only remaining company that services clients who require a wholesale partner that does not directly offer a retail product. However, they do not offer the full suite of services that we will, and I am very confident that with the introduction of Synergy Wholesale the landscape is set for a big change”, he said.
Angelo goes on to explain that Synergy Wholesale will also take over the data centre and network infrastructure component of the existing VentraIP Australia retail business, allowing it to focus more closely on its retail offering.
“This is not just a cosmetic separation. It’s a complete physical separation that will see resources shift from one company to another, and will continue to operate independently of one another”, he said.
Synergy Wholesale will inherit the existing VentraIP Wholesale reseller platform, touted by many as one of the best available in the market. It will also continue VentraIP Wholesale’s commitment to operating a fair and open market, by guaranteeing the same prices are paid by all resellers regardless of their buying power.
“Our commitment to our loyal customers is second-to-none, and the level of service they receive from us will only improve with a renewed focus on both our retail and wholesale customers, with dedicated resources to build upon our reputation of delivering outstanding customer service and technical support”, Mr. Giuffrida said.
Later today we will be making an official announcement regarding the launch of Synergy Wholesale, Australia’s independent, full service wholesale partner for resellers that will take over the existing VentraIP Wholesale business.
But before we do that, we have to clear the air about a certain web site that people seemed to have found which used the name “VentraOne“, had a logo and colour scheme very similar to ours, and claimed that a new corporate service would be launching soon.
Unfortunately, it was all fake.
But the question that will be asked is why? Why set up a fake web site with a fake logo that said we were going to do something that we were not? Let us explain.
The hardest thing to do in the Australian web hosting industry is keep a secret. Everybody wants to be involved in everyone else’s business, and to some extent we’re just as guilty as the next guy. It’s a stark contrast to the web hosting industry in the United States however, where companies big and small champion each other to innovate and excel rather than point and laugh.
We’re no strangers to having other hosts copy our concepts and ideas. Many have “borrowed” our web page design including the way we lay out our plan page which was unique when the site was first launched, some have decided that our Customer Appreciation Day was a great idea and used that (one even took our Customer Appreciation Week concept and tried to use it, before forgetting they announced it and went back to a “day”), and suddenly almost every host in Australia is using the names “Economy” and “Business” for their plans with very similar differentiation between service types.
In fact, for one host you could actually browse their Facebook page and be forgiven if you were to mistake them for us!
But imitation really is the highest form of flattery so we take it and enjoy it, as it helps motivate our team to continue to innovate and develop new concepts for others to copy.
So when we decided back in June 2013 that the next phase of our overall plan was to come to life, and we knew part of that plan would be to create some hype on social media which would get people playing detective to figure out what we were up to, we made the decision to do our best to ensure that nobody knew what we were doing and the best way to do that was to set up a decoy. That decoy, being VentraOne, had many thinking that we were indeed headed to the corporate space. It even created some discussion on the Whirlpool Forums, with budding detectives keen to solve the mystery.
The next question you’ll be asking yourself is how did they find out about it if we never officially advertised it anywhere? Well that was the easy part! We banked on the fact that with a juicy piece of information like this, you only had to tell the right people and it would be known within days… and we were 100% right.
After the first cryptic post we simply waited for the questions to start being asked. We then tasked one of our staff members, who has several people from other web hosting businesses as Facebook friends, with being the one who couldn’t contain himself and told just two people about the VentraOne business and web site with the strict condition to keep it to themselves. They obviously didn’t.
From that point it was only a matter of time before people started to find out about it and once everybody thought they had figured it all out they simply gave up looking.
But there were a few very obvious clues that seemed to go unnoticed, such as:
- The fact that we didn’t secure every domain name for this new business.
- The fact that we were posting images on social media that were orange and dark grey in colour, which looked nothing like the VentraOne logo.
- And the fact the we actually removed “Wholesale” from all of our promotional material and Facebook banner image months ago. Check the beverage coolers we sent out last year, there’s not a single mention of Wholesale on them!
While it may seem like we went to a lot of effort for nothing, the fact the we have been able to contain what we were really working on behind the scenes has meant that we are able to use the element of surprise with all of the leg work done and dusted, ready to launch and take on the big end of town. It will be months or years before anyone can potentially copy us and by that time we will have already moved on to the next part of our plan, something that we’ve been working on for over a year now. Stay tuned!
A message from our Executive Chairman, Mr. Cheyne Jonstone:
In 2013 we began transforming VentraIP Australia in to a market leading provider of online services and surpassed a number of important milestones throughout the year, including:
- Investing a significant amount of capital in our new cloud-enabled infrastructure.
- Began moving all of our equipment to NextDC enterprise data centres.
- Reaching five years in business and still growing strong.
- Becoming the sixth largest .au accredited registrar in terms of new registration share, beaten only by much bigger companies with even bigger marketing budgets.
- Moving in to our new corporate office in Melbourne’s south eastern suburbs.
- Developed a number of new partnerships with leading brands across the industry.
The fruits of these achievements are already being tasted by our customers, with feedback confirming a significant improvement in the overall quality and uptime of both our shared and virtual hosting services thanks to our new Dell cloud hosting platform that is now used by nearly all of our hosting customers. We are also seeing more domain name registrations and transfers than ever before, backed by our refreshed VIPControl interface that makes managing domain names and all other services easier than ever before.
In 2014 we will continue to build on this success by:
- Completing our infrastructure refresh by replacing our aging Cisco 7200 routing platform with all new routing and switching devices, completing a new and vastly improved SOE.
- Moving to the new NextDC S1 data centre in Sydney.
- Adding a raft of new top level domain names as they become available to the market.
- Releasing our long-awaited new web site.
- Continuing to innovate with new self-service features to help you help yourself.
- Deploying our SOE in Perth and Singapore.
On top of all of this, early in the New Year we will be making a major announcement regarding a fundamental change and improvement to our business going forward, which is the result of unexpected demand in a key area of the market that has required us to bring forward our original plans much earlier than first anticipated.
But more importantly, we will be launching a new campaign that focusses on our customer service and experience.
Introducing “The VIP Treatment”
We believe that customer service is a right of every customer and the responsibility of every business to deliver, and in 2014 we will engage in an all-out assault on dramatically improving our customer service and the overall customer experience, giving our customers peace of mind knowing the experience they receive from VentraIP Australia will be the same each and every time they make contact with us.
In order to achieve this goal, we will be:
- Appointing a Customer Service and Experience Manager.
- Making changes to our internal and external published policies.
- Providing additional training and holding customer service workshops for our existing team members.
- Gathering as much feedback, good or bad, from our customers as we can.
Last month we appointed Branden Colton, currently the General Manager of VentraIP USA, as the Customer Service and Experience Manager for the entire VentraIP Group of companies.
Branden’s passion and experience in outstanding customer service speaks for itself. Before joining VentraIP in 2012, he was a VIP tour guide at Universal Studios Orlando, one of the biggest theme parks in the world, and throughout his six years as a VIP tour guide he was responsible for giving the VIP treatment to his customers who often included A-list celebrities, professional sporting personalities, world leaders, and the corporate elite.
His confidence, commitment and overall determination to deliver the VIP treatment to VentraIP customers is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, and in the past four weeks he has already made huge inroads by listening to every call and identifying common issues customers face that can be avoided, and identifying areas that our staff require further training in.
In addition, our ‘Customer Care’ department is now known as the ‘We Care’ department, with a new email address of firstname.lastname@example.org which deeply reflects the fact that at VentraIP Australia we care about our customers and what they have to say. If at any time you feel as if you are not getting the VIP treatment, we encourage you to send an email to this address with as much detail as possible so that we can investigate the issue. This email address is only monitored by Branden, Angelo (our CEO), and I, meaning you have a direct contact path with our most senior management team members who are all happy to listen to and respond to your concerns.
Our determination to become Australia’s #1 provider of great value web hosting and domain names is greater than ever before, and it is thanks to your continued support and recommendations that we are well and truly on the road to achieving our goal. Thank you for your support in 2013, and we look forward to it continuing in 2014 and beyond.
And a quick message from our CEO Angelo and the team: