I HAVE USED Typepad since its beta version and like many others, I've survived its painful expansion. And while I am well-able to stitch together a set of scripts on my own server, I'm sticking with Typepad's centralised service because it offers the most robust protection against spam maggots. I like Typepad centralised blocklists. I like being able to remove an offensive post by using only my mobile phone. I like sending pictures from my cameraphone to my photo albums in three simple clicks. I'm also satisfied with responses to my somewhat complex queries to customer service. I like the fact that Six Apart lets its Typepad servers give me around 12 GB of transfer service every month. I feel like a leech and it's because of bandwidth hogs like me that other Typepad sites are feeling the strain.
TypePad blogs are popular and they are stretching the limits of the Six Apart data centre. According to Ben Trott, "We're currently pushing about 250mbps of traffic through our multiple network pipes, and that's growing by 10-20% each month ... that's a transfer rate of almost three terabytes per day. And because TypePad customers are so invested in their blogs, we see activity on the service--both reading and writing--that equals services with 100 times the number of users on TypePad."
Running at that rate will run a data centre out of power. Six Apart had to move some servers into the new data centre and things got wobbly. Trott says, "We've seen failures in our storage servers, failures that we had never seen before. We've seen a failure in a piece of networking equipment that had never failed before, and so on, ranging from hardware failures to software failures. After some analysis we believe that all of these failures are related to the fast growth of our service resulting in heavy load on each box—and until the completion of the move, we didn't have the capacity to add more boxes."
I've seen the results of those failures. Some days I couldn't see blog stats. On other occasions, I could not publish to my blogs using my desktop webform system. However, I could always publish through the mail-to-blog service and through all the painful transitions, I never lost anything that was published to the Six Apart server farm. That farm now is five times as large as it was in September 2005. It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.
My only worry is power. Can that kind of single-centre server farm actually continue online service in the event of a major power failure? At least all the online data is backed up by hardened systems.
Jim Minatel -- "SixApart Gets It"
Mena Trott -- "The ups and downs of a successful service"
Toby Bloomberg -- "Typepad's Growing Pains"
Des Walsh -- "Typepad's blues not relished by competitor"
Blogpulse tracks this conversation.