TextDrive Shutdown Countdown   

Originally posted March 8, 2014 / Updated 2014-03-29

Five days since all the text was removed from textdrive.com and this notice went up on the relatively out of the way community forum at discuss.textdrive.com:

It is disappointing to report that after a year and a half of uphill battles and unimagined setbacks, after several costly efforts to regroup and find another way, options to keep TextDrive growing have run out, and we will cease operations on the 14th of March, 2014.

Six days at the time I write this, March 8, until TXD turns off the lights, and customers have yet to receive notice via email or on the front page of the business.

Moving Tips

I’m moving to Kaizen Garden. There’s an active forum there where former TextDrive customers are helping each other out. So far my migration has gone perfectly smoothly. I’ve cribbed some sql and rsync commands from Joel Dueck’s set of helpful migration pointers.

Updates

The servers at Ubiquity stayed up a couple of weeks longer than expected, but finally went dark yesterday (March 28, 2014). Judging by the traffic at twitter an awful lot of customers were caught unaware. There was never a notification beyond the above-mentioned forum posting, and Jacques Marneweck, formerly of TextDrive and now running Kaizen Garden, has been working at all hours to field requests from stunned users and perform recovery from backup, where available, but not everyone is recoverable:

I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings to a number of users. Writing a reply where there are no backups for a users data really truly sucks. — Jacques Marneweck (@txdjm) March 29, 2014

To be very clear about a couple of things: There was no notification sent directly to customers, and this is on Dean Allen. I wish I could be stunned by this, but I’m mostly disappointed. Dean’s lack of communication is inexcusable, but unfortunately not surprising, given his absence from the operation of TextDrive after he took it over from Joyent. When the Joyent-TextDrive transition took place I noted some of my own concerns about Dean’s capability to pull it off: “… But I concluded that we’re all more or less adults, that the key folks are smarter at this stuff than I am, and that I’d trust Dean not do jump back in through a fit of (merely) fury or loyalty.” Perhaps I should have listened more to that internal warning.

And: My not entirely informed understanding is that Jacques carried the Ubiquity tab for an extra couple of weeks, on his own, in order to help with migrations, but could not perform a global notification because he never had access to the customer database itself. He has, without promise of compensation, taken on helping with recovery for users who aren’t really his customers. This after running TXD operations without pay for months.

I very much hope that Kaizen Garden succeeds profitably, both for my own self-interest of avoiding another migration, and to begin to repay Jacques for the tremendous work he has put in. To reiterate my note above about my migration, my experience there has been flawless: Hosting in an environment nearly identical to TextDrive, which means I had little to do on migration other than import a few databases, move files into place, and throw the DNS switches. It’s a highest-quality operation and has a smart, driven chief at the helm.

Joyent, Née TextDrive

For the sake of completeness, I also wrote about the original announcement of Joyent’s end of lifetime TXD hosting, back when. #

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