Customers of InfluxData have criticized the company’s communication channels after they were left surprised by its decision to stop using some AWS and GCP regions.
Problems began over the weekend when customers reported difficulties accessing data before eventually discovering the removal.
The company had previously updated its documentation to reflect that the Asia Pacific – Sydney (ap-southeast-2) AWS and the Europe West – Belgium (europe-west1) GCP regions would no longer be supported by InfluxData, but some customers claim not to have been explicitly notified.
Posters on a support forum for the company’s products described the situation as “a catastrophic communication breakdown” and “highly unprofessional”.
One customer reported “we’ve lost 10GB of customer data”, in response to a post from a company representative explaining that the user interface had been updated with a closure message and emails had been sent warning that the discontinuation was coming.
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Jay Clifford, a developer advocate at InfluxData said: “I am ever so sorry the closure of these clusters has unexpectedly hit you”.
“We understand that a scream test would have been another form of communication that we overlooked.”
A ‘scream test’ is a process whereby a service is stopped in a non-destructive way to see if anyone notices or ‘screams’. The service can then be swiftly restarted and the change rolled back if required.
Another customer replied: “Influx Cloud, as a data-storage service and data-management service, needs to do a lot more than ‘understand’ and be ‘ever so sorry’, you need to communicate clearly with customers, and actually store and manage the data responsibly and reliably”.
InfluxData is responsible for InfluxDB, an open-source time series database. The company offers InfluxDB in the cloud as either a serverless or a dedicated product. On premises versions of InfluxDB Clustered and Edge are currently listed as available later in 2023.
InfluxDB cloud is available on multiple cloud providers, and it is the removal of the AWS Asia Pacific - Sydney (ap-southeast-2) and GCP Europe West - Belgium (europe-west1) regions that has caught customers out.
In its documentation, the company warned that accounts in the affected regions would need to be migrated in order to continue service after 30 June 2023. It also updated its status page to reflect the changes and, according to Clifford, sent out emails on 23 Feb, 6 April, and 15 May.
However, some customers did not see the notifications or receive the emails and so found themselves suddenly unable to access their data with limited options for restoration.
The situation is a reminder of the importance of keeping a close eye on notifications from all vendors in the digital supply chain. Backups must also be maintained and a contingency plan is vital in the event a service becomes unexpectedly unavailable.
InfluxData did not immediately respond to a request for comment by ITPro.
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Richard Speed is an expert in databases, DevOps and IT regulations and governance. He was previously a Staff Writer for ITPro, CloudPro and ChannelPro, before going freelance. He first joined Future in 2023 having worked as a reporter for The Register. He has also attended numerous domestic and international events, including Microsoft's Build and Ignite conferences and both US and EU KubeCons.
Prior to joining The Register, he spent a number of years working in IT in the pharmaceutical and financial sectors.