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Email Account Log-In Issue: Resolution and Explanation

For a brief period last night and again early this morning, a small percentage of the users on our system had trouble logging into their email accounts. Our engineering team worked to resolve this issue which ultimately affected about 3% of our users.
Here is what happened:
There was an IP address conflict between two of our servers that caused a problem with our automatic failover routines. These routines normally allow servers to temporarily take on the responsibilities of others when a problem is detected, but in this case the conflict caused those particular servers to take over for the wrong machines. The result: some of our customers ended up logging into machines that did not actually host their email. Once we resolved the IP conflict and restarted the necessary services, everything went back to normal with ZERO loss of data. The one good thing here is that 97% of our customers were never even aware that there was a problem.
We regret that any of our customers experienced an interruption of services and we are constantly taking steps to prevent things like this from happening in the future. In this case, we’ll now be comprehensively monitoring the IP addresses on all of our servers and we will now be able to preemptively detect such conflicts before they lead to problems.
Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Pat Matthews.

Pat Matthews is the Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at Rackspace. Prior to Rackspace, Pat founded, a business email hosting company that made Inc. magazine's list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. In 2007 Rackspace acquired and the two businesses joined forces. From 2007 to 2009, Pat led the Rackspace mail business and helped grow it to more than two million paid mailboxes worldwide.

In January 2010, Pat was promoted to Vice President and General Manager of all Rackspace cloud businesses. In this role he led Rackspace to become one of the most important companies in the cloud computing industry. He was promoted to Senior Vice President of Cloud at Rackspace in August of 2010.

Today, Pat oversees corporate development, which includes M&A, investment projects, new business initiatives and strategic partnerships.

Pat is a graduate of Virginia Tech. He is an angel investor and advisor in several startup companies. Pat and his family live in San Antonio, TX.

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