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We’re very busy bees here at Hiltonian Media, but occasionally we find time to let you know what we’re up to.  Read below for our latest news, or keep updated by subscribing to our RSS News Feed.

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What’s New?

Datacentre UPS maintenance scheduled for 22 to 24 May

4th May 2017

The datacentre in which our servers are located has sent us the following advisory:

On 22nd – 24th May from 09:00 to 17:00 our Reading data centre UPS [Uninterruptible Power Supply] systems are undergoing routine planned preventative maintenance. Only one UPS will be under maintenance at a time and it may be necessary to operate the UPS bypass or simulate a mains failure to an individual UPS to ensure correct operation. The UPS are designed to allow these checks with no loss of load however the activity will be classified as at risk. 

The maintenance is scheduled to take place between 0900 and 1700 BST. In line with this message, we do not expect there to be any interruption to web or email services. However, services are classed as “at risk” due to the reduced redundancy.

Datacentre power maintenance scheduled for Thursday 12 January

5th January 2017

The datacentre in which our servers are located has sent us the following advisory:

On the 12th of January 2016, our local NDO (SSE) will be performing maintenance on the portion of the grid which provides our HV feeds. For the duration of this maintenance we will be running on generator power only.

Switching to generator power for maintenance work is a routine activity that has been carefully planned for. We do not therefore expect any customer service interruption, but all standard maintenance should be considered an at-risk period.

The maintenance is scheduled to take place between 0800 and 1730 GMT. In line with this message, we do not expect there to be any interruption to web or email services. However, if the generators fail for longer than the UPS is able to handle the load, there could be an interruption to services.

Generator Test scheduled for Monday 12 December

8th December 2016

The datacentre in which our servers are located has sent us the following advisory:

On Monday 12th December, we will be putting our data centre though a full building load test for up to 6 hours.

This maintenance will involve opening the breakers for the grid supplies and allowing the systems to detect the change and automatically start the generators.

Once the generators have been tested to satisfaction, the mains breaker will be closed again and the generators will spin down shortly after allowing load to be taken up by the mains supply.

We do not expect this test to have any impact for customers, however it should be considered an at-risk period. In the event of a problem we will have the option of switching back to mains power should the need arise.

In line with this message, we do not expect there to be any interruption to web or email services. However, from what we understand, if both the generators and UPS backups fail, there could be an interruption while mains power is reinstated.

 

Service Outage on 15 November

24th November 2016

Last week on 15 November there was a power failure at the datacentre where our servers are located (Everest datacentre in Reading, UK). This power failure was widely reported as it affected a number of high-profile internet suppliers. Power failures should not normally result in a disruption to services, as there are multiple redundant systems put in place by the datacentre owners. However, on this occasion, the redundant systems failed.

The power failure caused disruption to customer websites and email services. Our phone lines were also disrupted because the telephony supplier has its systems based in the same datacentre. During the failure, updates were posted to our Twitter account, and, as soon as services had stabalised again, affected customers were contacted by email. We would like to reiterate our apology for the disruption.

Whilst the exact cause of the failure is still being investigated by the datacentre's engineers, we have received an interim statement from our supplier explaining the overall sequence of events and general source of the failure. Below the statement there is a summary in less technical language.

Reading [datacentre] experienced a regional power failure which took the A & B power feeds out from two separate sub-stations at the same time.  Ultimately, this regional power failure resulted in problems transitioning from our dual mains supply to backup generator power and as a result not all of the Data Centre successfully transferred to backup power. 

This failure to transfer to generator power meant that some of the Data Centre continued on UPS supply and services remained operational.  Ultimately the generators were not able to transfer the power load and the timeline of events is as follows:

  • 08:12:02 - Primary and secondary high voltage feeds from the grid fail
  • 08:12:17 - Start command to emergency diesel generators is automatically sent
  • 08:12:56 - Generators have started, synchronised with each other, and providing power to site
  • 08:13:31 - Generators have excitation failure as load is stepped on, due to reasons to be fully investigated.

UPS continued to feed the Data Centre and you will have experienced issued from approximately 08:39 GMT.

Our backup generators designed to carry double the total Data Centre power requirement and are tested for load on a monthly basis.  We have a series of engineers on site currently investigating why there was a failure in the process of generators accepting the power load and this issue is being resolved as a priority.  The engineers have focused on settings in the synchronizing controls and a fix has been implemented.  The process of testing this fix is currently being coordinated and thorough testing will be undertaken.

We will be receiving a full ‘Reason For Outage’ report from the engineers and this will provide greater detail.

Mains power was restored to the site around 10:15 GMT and our engineers immediately began the process of restoring full functionality across all devices.  Unfortunately for some Servers this process required manual intervention and as a result you have experienced a delay in your services coming online.  Please accept our apologies for this delay.

Abhinav Mathur, Commercial Manager, Namesco

To summarise the statement in less technical language, the datacentre has two power feeds from separate National Grid substations. Both of these substations stopped supplying power to the datacentre at the same time due to a regional power cut. The UPSs (Uninterruptable Power Supplies – basically really big batteries) successfully supplied power for the few minutes it took the diesel generators to start. However, once the generators started supplying power, they failed after about half a minute (cause currently unknown).

The UPSs, which are designed to provide power for long enough for the generators to start (i.e. a few minutes), were able to continue supplying power for about half an hour, but eventually ran out. At that point, there was no longer any power supply, and this continued until mains power was restored by National Grid later that morning. Unfortunately our servers – along with many others in the datacentre – did not come back online when power was restored and required manual intervention. Due to the number of servers involved, it took datacentre staff a while to bring all affected servers back online.

We will of course post any additional relevant information we receive.

Act now to secure your new .UK domain name!

10th June 2014

Nominet Accredited RegistrarToday marks an exciting new chapter for .UK domain names. It is now possible to register yourname.uk, without the ugly ".co" or ".org" getting in the way!

The good news is that existing holders of .co.uk and .org.uk domain names will be given priority in the registration process, and now is the time to act!

HALF PRICE OFFER: If you instruct us to register your .uk domain name before 5pm on Friday (13/06/14) the first year's registration fee will be half price!

It's simple – just email or call us if you would like to register your .uk domain name or if you have any questions.

Why .UK?

Until now it has only been possible to register UK domains under .co.uk, .org.uk, and a few other less-common extensions. This can make it more difficult for customers to remember your web or email address.

Nominet (the organisation that runs the UK domain registry) has decided to allow registration directly under .uk. Simply put, It focuses attention firmly on your website name – exactly where it should be.

Existing domain name owners

If you already own a UK domain name, the equivalent .uk domain name will be reserved for you, but you must act now to register and make use of it!

There is an order of preference, so the owner of example.co.uk will have priority over the owner of example.org.uk for registering example.uk. If you want to find out who has the right to register a .uk domain, you can use our domain name lookup tool to check:

  1. Visit http://whois.hiltonian.net/
  2. Enter the domain name you wish to check (e.g. "hiltonian.uk") and click the "Check" button
  3. When the results are displayed, click the "Check registration rights" link
  4. Below "Right of registration" it will indicate which existing domain name (if any) has the rights to registration

If you decide to register your .uk domain name, your existing .co.uk or .org.uk domain name(s) will continue to operate in perpetuity, so long as you continue to pay the annual renewal fee for both domains. This will give you as much time as you require to plan the transition to your new .uk domain name.

What are the costs?

.uk domain names will cost exactly the same as .co.uk domain names – that's £12 per year or just £6 per year for hosting customers (ex. VAT).

If you act by Friday 13th June the first year's registration fee will be HALF PRICE!

Any existing UK domain names (such as .co.uk or .org.uk) will continue to be renewed at the price you currently pay, unless you instruct us to cancel them. It will still be possible to register new .co.uk or .org.uk domain names at the same price.