Mimecast datacentre glitch takes email services offline

UPDATED: SaaS-based email archiving vendor incurs customer wrath after service outage.

Email archiving vendor Mimecast has blamed a service outage that left many of its UK customers unable to send or receive emails today on a datacentre glitch.

The vendor specialises in cloud-based email archiving as well as continuity and security tools that are designed for use with Microsoft Exchange and Office 365.

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The problems are understood to have begun around 11am today, with some users still reporting problems as this article went to press.

At the time of writing, IT Pro was also awaiting confirmation from Mimecast about the exact number of customers affected.

Many users have turned to social networking site Twitter and Mimecast's user forum to complain about the problems, with some blasting the firm's decision to rely on Twitter updates to keep them informed of its service status.

@mimecast Still not able to send outbound via even numbered services. Disgraceful. Told on phone there was nobody available to talk to!

Keith O'Connor (@keithoc11) May 16, 2013

@mimecast turmoil today as server failure holds up millions of emails - if I havent replied to anything today "it's in the post" so to speak

Laurence Hicks (@lrh_hicks) May 16, 2013

Mimecast has been down for most of the day. Most of my clients use Mimecast ergo my day has been s**t. FML

kevintuk (@kevintuk) May 16, 2013

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Shortly afterwards, the company published a blog post that shed some light on the cause of today's downtime.

In it, Orlando Scott-Cowley, a technologist at Mimecast, blamed the problems on a hardware network failure at the company's datacentre in Woking, Surrey.

"Our infrastructure teams have identified and isolated the problem, and are bringing all affected customer systems back online now," he wrote.

"Customers' systems will be available soon, but there will be backlog of email to process, so email may take some time to return to normal."

Ian Moyse, sales director at cloud CRM provider Workbooks.com, spent six years competing with Mimecast during his tenure at rival email security vendor Webroot.

Speaking to IT Pro, he said the difficulty for Mimecast will be regaining the trust of their customers, given its reputation as a purveyor of business continuity products.

"I am sure Mimecast has achieved a high per cent of availability for a long time and delivered a great outcome for clients in the past, but today's downtime will be remembered for a long time to come," he said.

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"In the cloud you are only as good as your last day's availability and customer judgement comes quickly."

UPDATE:

Mimecast has assured customers their emails should be returning to normal now, after yesterday's service problems.

The email archiving vendor has published several blogs today, updating users about the status of its services, and claimed mail delivery to and from the Mimecast platform should be flowing as normal.

"In most cases there should be no queues or delays, but there may be some residual mail queues where a large backlog existed overnight," it states.

The problems were blamed yesterday on a hardware networking failure within the firm's Woking-based datacentre, but Mimecast now claims the affected infrastructure has been fully restored and protected.

"There are a small number of temporary work-arounds in place that will provide service to customers and allow us to restore normal services in the background," the blog post continued.

"Our infrastructure teams will bring service back online in a managed process so normal service will be restored throughout the day."

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