In December 2018 I moved the Gemini Issue Tracker for our company from an old physical PC server here to the cloud at A2 Hosting, where I have three other servers, some for 8 years. For context, Gemini is to my activities here as your Quicken / QuickBooks files may be to you. Without it, my work structure and product development flow is at a standstill. On Tuesday April 23, the A2 host went offline. I followed the problem on their status page where they were posting updates... On Thursday the 25th the server came back online however the MS SQL Server (which is the engine for Gemini) was still offline. They said the SQL Servers would be restored and back online "shortly". By Monday the 29th I was done with them. SQL Servers still offline.

That service was set up to do automatic daily backups including copies via FTP to an unrelated cloud server. Thank heaven I thought to grab a copy of the backup set from that other server and stash it here and also on my DropBox. When the A2 Gemini server came back online Thursday, the backups started and after 5 days, on Monday, it had produced 5 backups with no database data at all (SQL Server still offline). The backup was set for 5 generations. So on Monday the backups were useless. I would have lost it all.

Monday was spent starting up a new cloud server at TMD Hosting. They said they could bring Gemini online from the Plesk backup set I had, just post a ticket and upload the backup set they said. The ticket got turned overnight (now it's Tuesday) and the tech never even read it. "Your DNS sin't pointing to the server" ... "I know that! Did you read the ticket? No. You were supposed to initialize from the Plesk backup."

Another overnight ticket turn... I try to log in "500 server error". Site completely dead. Post a ticket and wait a few hours. No response. So I start to try to solve the problem myself. Mind you I haven't worked with Plesk control panel hardly at all, and it's been many years since I worked with IIS, ASP.NET, and Web.Config control files, etc. Long story short (several issues) I had it running by late Tuesday night, albeit with stale data. They had only used the first of the backup set so they missed 5 days of activity on the Gemini. I handle what Comm Center traffic and email I can.

Wednesday I file a ticket "Where is the Backup Manager?" -- I want to set up those vital automatic daily backups that saved my butt before. "Sorry, that's not a feature on the service you have. Uh, it was on the A2 Hosted Plesk I just migrated from. Well we can do it for you for an extra $20/mo or you can move to a Virtual Private Server for $80/mo.". So I call on the phone and press 3 for support. the tech guy who answered sounded like a heroin addict, really, low gravelly voice, slow/slurred speech, and completely disconnected from me. I just said "ok thanks" and hung up. Time to cancel THIS service. I handle some Comm Center traffic and email then hang it up for the day.

Thursday bright and early I call GoDaddy, a local hosting company. The sales guy was excellent. He sucked me in, set the hook, then dropped the bomb on price. I took it! Now I have my very own Virtual Private Server after all. "We can set it all up for you for $*** or you can do it. I'll do it." Never having administered a Plesk-based cloud service system before ha ha. Lots to learn. Little by little, including nuking the whole virtual server and starting again from scratch (after learning a few hard lessons), I got it all going last night. It's actually really cool having total control over it. The backups are happening, Gemini runs like the wind. I'll probably move the Comm Center over to this server as well as it has loads of capacity. But first... the ACP Expert Maintenance Release, and the Symposium on Telescope Science (SAS) coming up in a couple of weeks.

Throughout I tried my best to stay connected with you all. I'll be focusing my goal of getting the Maintenance Release out before SAS so there may be gaps in my appearances here since some of the work requires uninterrupted concentration to avoid stupid mistakes. I'll continue to do my best.

Note I am keeping my other Linux/CPanel based cloud servers at A2 for the time being. They have been good overall for so many years. However the SQL Server on my old A2 host is still offline. Both A2 and TMD have been canceled, and TMD refunded my money after a bit of arguing.