Customers of MediaTemple's GridServer, which received widespread attention upon its debut last month, experienced significant downtime Tuesday. GridServer is among the many cluster-based grid hosting services, offering the promise of enterprise-level reliability and scalability in an affordable web hosting plan.
GridServer got a big boost when its launch was featured on TechCrunch, a leading technology blog. On Tuesday, bloggers who were among the early adopters to GridServer were airing their grievances as their sites were slowed by performance problems. MediaTemple provided regular updates on its efforts to stabilize the system, citing bugs in a third-party storage system as the cause for the outages and sluggishness. The performance problems began at 10 a.m. Pacific time and continued past 5 p.m. for some customers.
GridServer isn't the only new grid hosting entry to experience performance problems, as Mosso had a lengthy outage in October, while Amazon's grid storage offering has experienced degraded performance as well.
Improved reliability has been a major selling point for grid hosting services, including Grid Server, which MediaTemple described as "designed to withstand numerous hardware and software failures without impacting any aspect of your online operations ... Whenever a software, hardware, network or power problem arises you won’t notice a thing because we engineered and continuously test redundancy at all levels of our hosting operations."
In light of those assurances, today's outages brought customer frustration, prompting lengthy discussion threads on hosting forums in addition to the complaints by bloggers. GridServer accounts include 100 gigabytes of disk space, 1 terabyte of monthly data transfer and the ability to host up to 100 domains. At $20 a month, the service has lower fees than several new grid services introduced by dedicated hosting specialists. MediaTemple focuses on the shared hosting sector.
Netcraft measures and makes available the response times of fifty leading hosting providers' sites. The performance measurements are made at fifteen minute intervals from separate points around the internet, and averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period.