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Over 165,000 Web Sites Knocked Offline

NaviSite, a web hosting company from Baltimore, knocked 165,000 web sites off the Internet during a failed data center migration. When the company tried to migrate and replace hundreds of servers, they knocked 90 percent of their business offline.

According to Rathin Sinha, NaviSite’s spokesman, the company opted to physically move 200 of the 850 servers operated by another company to its own data center from Andover, Massachusetts and then to virtually migrate from the rest of the older servers to new boxes.

On Saturday, NaviSite informed its customers about the move and said that the web sites would be down for some time, as the migration was expected to be finished the very same day. However, when NaviSite tried to transfer the data from the 650 servers that were still in Baltimore, it ran into several synchronization failures. The company then decided to physically move the servers which left 90 percent of its business offline.

But as the hosts came up, chaos started. Users were only able to gain access from their IP addresses as their domain names were gone. Next, when the company was trying to solve this new problem, the network became overloaded due to all the users that were trying to get online. In some ways they created their own Denial of Service attack.

Now although a big part of the web sites are now back online, the web hosting company could not say when everything would be back to normal.