From real IT ebusiness life : the history about delcampe
Delcampe is one of the online Belgian success stories that nobody talks about but about which we should be very proud.
It was clear that the last months they have faced enormous technical difficulties and that as a solely online business they were bleeding at the heart of their existence.
In an email to its members the president of the company tells all and for managers in ebusiness projects, it is a very interesting read. The only thing that astonishes me is that the previous hoster didn't notice that 2000 GIGA's of data were downloaded from the site in 1 week. Does really no one look at the logs over there ? It could be that the website was stolen or even that a professional attack was being prepared - if you see that the database structure is being analysed and downloaded.
In their own words
"In these difficult months, we have not been able to keep you informed step by step. The security of the site depended on our discretion. Now that the storm is over, it is time to tell you what happened to us, what happened to you.
For over 6 years, our site was hosted with a partner that we trusted and until recently gave us satisfaction. The site has grown, more and more, faster and faster! At the beginning of this year, it was very clear : it was time to install new servers. After analysing the needs in hardware and gathering the necessary funds, we made them buy a set of new servers during the month of April. Everything should have been up and working very quickly and we were hoping for a significant improvement within a few weeks. Unfortunately, the installation of the set was very slow.
In this context, we have had to face a major crisis for our site on June 9. That day, the whole of our database was lost. We trusted our web hosts and thought regular backups were done. But, we discovered it was not the case. The last back up was 10 days old. 10 days! That is such a long time for a site like ours; 2 500 lost registrations, 350 000 items listed for sale lost, 100 000 sold items lost, …
It then became very clear to us that we had to bring back the site in Brussels very urgently. The situation was serious and very dangerous, all our database and all the images of the sales were on servers that appeared at that time so far from our reach and control... Much too far!
We have therefore announced to our web hosts that the servers and the data had to come back to us as soon as possible and that we counted on their taking part in these operations. Communication between us and them then degraded more and more since the end of June. As our hosts were sometimes very quiet, sometimes opposed to our project, we understood that talking would not solve the situation and might even make things worse. Each day gone by brought further danger. We risked loosing our data.
The situation was critical : the site was not working properly, the members were worried for the site’s future, our staff worried for their jobs… And above all that, we couldn’t keep you informed what was going on for our own safety and yours.
This is why we decided to keep things steady with our host and, discreetly, take contact with new partners. Among the companies we sought, we have chosen Evonet and Tigron who came up with a professional solution, in order to firstly save the site, and secondly make it pleasant to use for all our members. As there was great risk to draw the attention of our previous hosts, we have had to download slowly and secretly the whole of our data : More than 2 000 gigabytes, a huge database and 60 million images !
This download took a little more than a week. During this time, a brand new server structure had to be set up in Brussels in just a few days. Unfortunately, our previous hosts couldn’t do it in months.
We have invested a great deal in our new Belgian hardware. This has been made possible thanks to a leasing plan with our new partners who strongly believe in the Delcampe project.
As we have been through so much, surpassed so many difficulties, we are finally going to be able to realize all the projects that were impossible for us to set up. Our servers and data are now physically within range and easily reachable and this security strengthens our collaboration with our new partners "
I'll for sure wish you all the best and maybe it may convince some Belgian hosters that it is always better to have your data and business close to home than somewhere far away (and for the Belgian hosting business to professionalise and standardize their business just as other professions without any internal reglementation (for example real estate) have done)