Letter from our Board of Directors - November 2009

Due to hardware issues with our web server, the following sites went down on Friday, November 6 at 4:30am PST (7:30am EST, 1pm CEST):

* http://iainstitute.org
* http://journalofia.org
* http://ideaconference.org
* http://iainstitute.org/minutes

Our hosting provider identified issues with the hardware housing our server and replaced it. That failed for unknown reasons. They moved on to different hardware and have been experiencing odd high loads, which prevented all sites from returning smoothly. They are still working on the issues but have no estimate of when it will be fully resolved.

Right now, all site are available but suffering from slow performance.

I am monitoring this issue until it is resolved, in the meantime, I have started to evaluate new hosting providers. We have been with this provider for 8 years and while they are affordable, their reliability has occasional problems and their customer service has increasingly deteriorated.

For a community like ours where volunteers are working on multiple things and know how to fix problems when they appear, we need a provider that can be relied upon and respond quickly to our needs.

We had decided mid last year to not find a new provider because the switching costs of our current infrastructure are high, given that we have 8 years of code from hundreds of volunteers across various sites. We were planning on waiting until we had made some infrastructure improvements; however, I consulted some system administrators who advised me (in face of this current problem) to switch hosting before our planned platform transition.

Please volunteer to help with this process. Here are some of the activities we will need to perform to get started where your help will be much appreciated.

- inventory current technology
- diagram system relationships
- review all current initiatives
- capture technical requirements
- perform tech gap analysis
- define requirements for future system
- select technology platform
- assist with documenting infrastructure roadmap
- evaluating and comparing hosting services
- contacting providers and discuss pricing/service
- project manage these activities
- coordinate volunteers
- and much more...

If you just want to recommend a service provider you have experience with or one to avoid, please see this spreadsheet: http://j.mp/webhosts - Many have already contributed.

Please email me (liv at livlab dot com) DIRECTLY if you can help. If you have any questions about this or any other IA Institute related issues, reach us on info at iainstitute dot org, or follow us on twitter @iainstitute.

Livia Labate
IA Institute

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