Finally we learn a little of how our files have been inaccessible due to 'operator error'. The posting finally admits it will take 6-8 weeks to recover files. As you may recall I helpfully told MediaMax how to do the calculation on a past blog as it seemed to be beyond them.
It is a shame getting this information disclosed from MediaMax wastes so much time. They have already wasted so much of our time. So how about rolling on billing periods by 6 months as recompense?
TechCrunch article clarifications
Michael Arrington at TechCrunch recently did some good investigative reporting and released some details about MediaMax and Nirvanix that were supposed to be confidential information for several more weeks.
On August 7th, the following article was posted on TechCrunch. Now that it's public information, we wanted to post the article here, and also add some additional clarification to ease some concerns that have been raised by our customers.
Nirvanix To Challenge Amazon S3
Look for new San Diego-based Nirvanix to launch in the next few weeks. It aims to compete with Amazon's popular S3 storage web service and provide web developers another choice for online storage.
The company, which is affiliated with online storage startup MediaMax (aka Streamload), should also be announcing a $12 million round of financing in the near future. It's not clear exactly how affiliated Nirvanix and MediaMax are, and the company is keeping the specifics of the relationship quiet for now. There has clearly been a technology swap, though, and MediaMax is now using the Nirvanix service to provide the back end of its storage product. Also, former MediaMax CEO Patrick Harr is now running the show at Nirvanix (MediaMax founder Steve Iverson has retaken the CEO spot at MediaMax).
While the company is keeping quiet about the funding and exactly how it's affildiated with MediaMax, they are saying that they'll be filling some of the perceived holes in S3. Hopefully they'll be offering a service level agreement (Amazon doesn't).
MediaMax, meanwhile, has been trying to pull through a hellish technology transition (my guess is it was related to the changeover to Nirvanix) that plagued them earlier this summer. They've moved their corporate blog to a new site, and are talking openly with users about some of the problems they're facing.
Disclosure: I am an investor and on the board of directors of Omnidrive, which is also in the online storage space and can be considered a competitor to MediaMax and Nirvanix.
The article, in some instances is accurate, but it does contain some inaccuracies that need to be clarified. Streamload was split into two entities in July. The consumer online service became "MediaMax" and a second entity, Nirvanix, was founded as a new and separate company. We ("MediaMax") continue to focus on the consumer online storage space (B2C) as we have done for many years. We can't talk about Nirvanix as they are an independent company; however, we can say that we never changed over to Nirvanix, as the article suggested, and are not using their new system now.
In regards to MediaMax's problems mentioned in the TechCrunch article, this was only partially related to the spin-out process. One issue was trying to do too much, too quickly. Over the last six weeks, we completed a new round of financing and corporate spin out, moved MediaMax into a new office, migrated our web application servers to a new hosting provider, consolidated two other data centers, and have been hiring new MediaMax employees to fill in the personnel holes that were created from the split.
In addition to these major projects that were underway (and impossible to reschedule), we were still recovering from the unforeseen storage problem encountered on June 15th. The "storage problem" was a result of operator error in preparation for the data center move. There was no power surge or hacker or failed hard disk or fundamental technological problem or aliens - we just messed up. Fortunately, it was discovered fairly quickly and the data is recoverable.
If you'd like the gory details, here is exactly what happened (we have always enjoyed reading those stories about NASA probes crashing into planets because someone typed + instead of -, but didn't think it would actually be us): We wanted to manually "shrink" part of the storage system and a database that manages files in closed accounts, trash folders, etc. That is, we didn't want to move files that had already been deleted, but not actually removed from disk or the database. Normally an automated process handles this type of task, but because of the move, we thought we could create a manual process to reduce the amount of data we would have to move. And that's what messed up - this new process that should have just taken out the trash, went far beyond what we thought it was doing. Once realized, the process was stopped but significant damage had already been done. So then we started the recovery; the "shrink project" failed and we just ended up moving the entire database anyways. So the potential data loss (again, it is being recovered) was due to the most common cause for data loss: operator error.
To prevent this from ever happening again, we have put in place an even more rigorous code review process for any project that has a potential for affecting customer data like this.
So, that's the short story behind the story in the TechCrunch article. Spin off done, and data recovery is in progress. We have brought in as many additional resources as possible to help accelerate recovery, but it will still take an additional 6-8 weeks.
Over the years, maintaining the ever growing infrastructure to run MediaMax has become a distraction from our core business - to build the absolute best-of-class consumer storage applications. With this new corporate structure, we can fully focus on MediaMax.
We appreciate your support and patience and we'll continue to update you here.