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Nightmare downtime weekend for some eNom and Google customers

Kevin Murphy, January 17, 2022, 10:11:20 (UTC), Domain Registrars

Some eNom customers have experienced almost two days of downtime after a planned data center migration went titsup, leading to DNS failures hitting what users suspect must have been thousands of domains.

Social media has been filled with posts from customers complaining that their DNS was offline, meaning their web sites and email have been down. Some have complained of losing money to the downtime.

Affected domains include some registered directly with eNom, as well as some registered via resellers including Google Workspace.

The issue appears to have been caused by a scheduled data center migration, which was due to begin 1400 UTC on Saturday and last for 12 hours.

The Tucows-owned registrar said that during that time both reseller hub and retail site would be unavailable. While this meant users would be unable to manage their domains, DNS was expected to resolve normally.

But before long, customers started reporting resolution problems, leading eNom to post:

We are receiving some reports of domains using our nameservers which are failing to resolve. Owing to the migration we are unable to research and fully address the issue until the migration is complete. This is not an expected outcome from the migration, and we are working to address it as a priority.

The maintenance window was then extended several times, by three to six hours each time, as eNom engineers struggled to fix problems caused by the migration. eNom posted several times on its status page:

The unexpected extension to the maintenance window was due to data migration delays. We also discovered resolution problems that impact a few hundred domains

eNom continued to post updates until it finally declared the crisis over at 0800 UTC this morning, meaning the total period of downtime was closer to 42 hours than the originally planned 12.

A great many posts on social media expressed frustration and anger with the outage, with some saying they were losing money and reputation and others promising to take their business elsewhere.

Some said that they continued to experience problems after eNom had declared the maintenance over.

eNom primarily sells through its large reseller channel, so some customers were left having to explain the downtime in turn to their own clients. Google Workspace is one such reseller that acknowledged the problems on its Twitter feed.

Some customers questioned whether the problem really was just limited to just a few hundred domains, and eNom seemed to acknowledge that the actual number may have been higher.

I’m in contact with Tucows, eNom’s owner, and will provide an update when any additional information becomes available.

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Comments (1)

  1. papouzic says:

    I can assure you that it was more than “a few hundred” that were affected. I have several clients whom I have registered with eNom, and use eNom’s email settings for their MX records. I’ve also set up URL redirects for webmail to their mailservers which I maintain.

    EVERY ONE of those got virtually no email for about 2 days, and ALL URL redirects did not work. Those latter we could work around, and the holiday weekend meant that lack of email delivery wasn’t a big issue.

    But the chance that this affected all my clients’ email if it was only “a few hundred” is poppycock. More like a few MILLION.

    And it was a long slog for me.

    BTW the fact that folks can’t at this time transfer their DNS to other registrars smacks of damage control. How convenient is that?

    Still weighing my options here.

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