Business Catalyst Blog

Australian Data Center outage report (update with details)

Magda Neagu Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Update on 9th of Oct 2012 with more incident details and explanations requested in the forums.

At approximately 11:45am AEST on October 6th, 2012, our Australian datacenter detected a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack on sites hosted within the datacenter among other targets. In order to protect its customers from the extremely high load generated by the DDoS attack our upstream internet service provider blocked several channels of incoming traffic to our datacenter without notification.

Our external monitor that regularly checks the availability of the internet connection of users from Australia to the datacenter failed to trigger any alerts due to a misconfiguration resulting from maintenance work performed last week. At the same time, the monitor that checks the Australian datacenter from North America, and was embedded in the status page, reported the datacenter was working properly at the time because that incoming channel wasn't blocked by the ISP. This was the reason for our live status report on http://status.businesscatalyst.com/ indicating green instead of red for the Australian datacenter.

Due to this lack of notification monitoring situation, the outage went undetected for roughly 2 hours. During this time, front-facing sites, Admin Console / FTP access, the Partner Portal, and new site creation were unavailable for users in the affected geographies.

Following human intervention, a Critical System Outage incident was triggered at 1:45pm AEST. The incident response team worked closely with the datacenter provider in Sydney and with the upstream ISP to identify and remove the traffic block – after concluding that the DDoS attack was effectively contained by our network and security equipment.

At 2:50pm AEST, traffic was fully restored to the Australian datacenter and all services were fully operational. You can review the full timeline of events at http://status.businesscatalyst.com/

Providing the highest quality of service to our customers is a serious priority, and we are taking steps in order to prevent such incidents in the future:

1.       Establishing better communication procedures with the datacenter provider and upstream ISP to avoid blocking traffic without our approval or notification

2.       Reworking our external monitoring infrastructure to ensure redundancy and accuracy of monitoring results

3.       Reviewing and optimizing the response time for several key functions participating in this type incident, such as network security, the datacenter vendor, ISP etc.

 

We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this recent issue.

Sincerely,

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

OpenSRS related items, next steps

Jackson Palmer Friday, October 05, 2012

We'd like to apologize for the inconvenience caused by this recent email issue.
 
At roughly 9:30am ET on Thursday October 4th, 2012, our hosted email provider, OpenSRS <http://www.opensrs.com/> , noted an issue affecting users on a particular cluster of their service. As a result, some Adobe Business Catalyst users experienced incoming email delays or intermittent issues logging in.
 
OpenSRS immediately contacted Adobe regarding the issue, and our support team quickly updated the Business Catalyst status page to communicate the issue to customers. During the following 15 hours, some customers continued to experience incoming email delays, as the backlog of email was slowly processed.
 
During this time, we provided regular updates across a range of channels – including our status page, live chat, community forums, and social media. You can review the complete timeline of updates at: http://status.businesscatalyst.com/
 
As of 12:25am ET on Friday October 5th, 2012, the service provider has communicated that all systems are fully operational and the backlog of queued email messages has been successfully processed. You can monitor their status updates directly at: http://www.opensrsstatus.com/service/email-service/email-cluster-b/
 
We continue to work closely with the vendor to minimize the impact of future service disruptions on users of the Adobe Business Catalyst hosted mail solution. We will keep you updated via this blog of the progress we make with OpenSRS. As more information becomes available from OpenSRS, we will update you here, for your reference.
 
We take this matter very seriously and are evaluating our options to provide the highest quality of service moving forward.
 
Sincerely,
The Adobe Business Catalyst Team.

BC Training Academe - powered by Chicago Digital

Diana Herac Friday, October 05, 2012

Chicago Digital through the BC Academe is releasing their second offering of the Level 1 BC Developer Certification Course to begin on October 22nd, 2012. The first class had around 20 participants from over 5 different countries. The instructors at the BC Academe are passionate and dedicated to helping you learn Adobe Business Catalyst. This class is expected to fill up right away, so Register Today


BC Sandpile - October meetings

Diana Herac Wednesday, October 03, 2012

BC Sandpile is a weekly online meeting run by Business Catalyst partners for the purpose of sharing ideas, best practices, and networking.

Weekly Day/Time:

  • San Francisco: Tuesdays at 5pm
  • New York City: Tuesdays at 8pm
  • London: Wednesdays, 1am
  • Sydney: Wednesdays, 10am

October 2 (3rd in AUS):

Adam Zoblotsky from Mustard Mouth Marketing will be presenting part 2 of his 3 part series on how he markets his business. Watch part 1 here: http://experts.adobeconnect.com/p38nqpwq4x5/

October 9th (10th in AUS):

Jason Tinnin from TribeVita will be introducing TribeVita Cloud (formerly known in BETA as TribeVita+) which is an ultra-fast, in-browser design tool that allows you to deploy high quality Business Catalyst sites in hours, not weeks.

October 16th (17th in AUS):

Brett Stockley from Pretty Pollution will be discussing Business Catalyst’s CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

October 23rd (24th in AUS):

Erick Stubbs from BC Gurus will be presenting on the BC API, and talking about issues and concepts related to Membership Sites.  He will be using the membership site BcGurus.com as a case study; talking a little bit about how and why they built the applications to manage their own membership based business.

October 30th (31st in AUS):

Vlad-Cristian Stanilescu from Adobe will be discussing how to get the most out of Business Catalyst’s support.

Full schedule: http://www.bcsandpile.com/_blog/Meeting_Chalkboard/

Tune in for Episode 22 of the BC Podcast!

Jackson Palmer Sunday, September 30, 2012



Hear an interview with BC ninja and Partner Gary Swanepoel, learn more about our great September system update, catch up with all the sessions from the recent US Partner Conference, and of course listen out for a fresh HTML quiz question in Episode 22 of the BC podcast!



Listen to this month's podcast:

Simply click the play button below to stream the podcast via your browser.

player

Alternatively, you can download the podcast in .mp3 format for offline listening.

To subscribe and receive the BC Podcast each month, you can find us on the iTunes store here or by simply searching "BC Podcast" from iTunes.

In September's Episode :

Video recordings and photos direct from the US Partner Conference!

Jackson Palmer Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Group photo!

We'd like to thank everyone who was able to make it to our US Partner Conference on Monday 24 September, 2012. We had over 50 attendees in person, and well over 100 tuning in online via our live video stream.

It was an exciting event covering a range of topics, with official Adobe keynotes, inspirational Partner presentations, and some extra cool sneak peaks of what our team is working on behind the scenes. What's even better is that we recorded the entire live stream for you to watch online. Simply click the links below to play back the recorded sessions.

US Partner Conference Session Recordings

Opening keynote - Adobe Business Catalyst Team
http://my.adobeconnect.com/p3lely6zofg/

Positioning and selling Business Catalyst vs. Wordpress and other open-source solutions - Brent Weaver from BC Gurus
http://my.adobeconnect.com/p1hjrpgdapz/

"Speed dating" session
http://my.adobeconnect.com/p868g07qe8x/

Taking your Business Catalyst projects to the next level: Case studies and real-world examples - Jason Tinnin from Simpleflame
http://my.adobeconnect.com/p5sgaqo3hg5/

The Customer Oriented Mindset - Mike Sallander from Chicago Digital
http://my.adobeconnect.com/p7s209cocop/ 

Starting and growing a successful Business Catalyst user group - Scott Reynolds from Thrise
http://my.adobeconnect.com/p2o32y8xmp9/

Closing keynote plus Q & A - Adobe Business Catalyst Team
http://my.adobeconnect.com/p28ud0v6xuj/

We've also uploaded a bunch of great photos from the event which you can check out on our Facebook page. A special thank you to Cesar Keller from Simpleflame for sharing these. Our Product Evangelist Adam Broadway has also uploaded his shots which you can view here. If you have any photos or videos you took at the event, make sure you head on over to our Facebook page and share them with the community.

Thanks again to everyone for attending and making this conference possible, it was a blast. Enjoy!
Jackson.

Watch a live stream of the BC US Partner Conference on Monday

Jackson Palmer Thursday, September 20, 2012

As previously announced, we'll be holding the official US Partner Conference in San Jose this coming Monday, kicking off at 9am PDT.

If you were unable to register in time or weren't able to make the trip to San Jose, we've got you covered with a live stream of the entire public day of presentations from both the Adobe Business Catalyst team, and your fellow BC Partners.

To watch the live stream, simply click the link below at 9am PDT Monday, 24 September and "Enter as a guest":

http://my.adobeconnect.com/bc-us-conference/

We'll also offer a full video recording of the event, so stay tuned for the link on the BC blog following the conference.

It's going to be an exciting day of presentations and Partner networking, so we look forward to seeing you there - in person, or via the live stream.

Jackson.

Introducing our feature-packed September release!

Jackson Palmer Monday, September 17, 2012

Business Catalyst - September 2012 Feature Pack

We’re excited to announce the details of our feature-packed September release, due to go live September 25, 2012.

As Bogdan highlighted in his recent blog post, we’re currently focusing on enhancing our widely used email marketing component, based on the valuable feedback you’ve been giving us as a community. Business Catalyst’s key differentiator is the “all-in-one” solution we’re able to offer Partners and their clients, and in this release we’ve made great progress in offering integration workflows that other solutions simply can’t – for instance, the ability to embed dynamic modules such as blog posts, news items or event bookings from your BC site, right inside email newsletters.

Please take the time to read through the new features, enhancements and relevant documentation below, so you and your clients are prepared and able to take advantage of these new improvements. For a more technical and in-depth list of features/bugs being delivered, read the release notes post on the BC Forums.

New feature highlights

Unlimited, specifiable module templates

You can now specify your own HTML module templates when rendering modules, by simply adding the template’s file path as a parameter.

All you have to do is include the parameter template=”/path/to/mytemplate.tpl” at the end of your module tag, and it will use this source file instead of its default module template. Please use a .tpl file extension as a best practice, as using a standard .html file means that it will also behave as a regular Page on your site.

Unlimited, specifiable module templates

If the template file you’ve specified doesn’t exist, the system simply falls back to the default template instead. You can find more details on this feature in this article.

This opens up a new world of possibilities for your client sites, especially when using modules-inside-modules – allowing you to create and automatically render different module layouts based on the visitor’s device type, a Web App field value, and much more! We’re really looking forward to seeing some of the cool things Partners will do this great system enhancement.

Embed dynamic modules inside email campaigns

We’re enabling you and to insert dynamic modules such as news items and blog posts inside email marketing campaigns, using a completely revamped Module Manager. These modules are then dynamically rendered when the campaign is sent, so the recipient sees the latest content.

There are a range of useful cases where this would come in handy – for instance, including the latest new announcement in your campaign, or embedding an up-to-date list of upcoming events customers can book in to. The goal here is to enable you to predefine templates for your clients with these dynamic modules built-in, or set up an on-going email series with the modules baked in.

Modules inside email newsletters

Using the new specifiable module templates feature detailed above, you can easily create and render these modules in a way that’s email newsletter friendly, opposed to simply inserting the web-version of the module. For instructions on how to get started, read this article.

A fresh set of email newsletter templates

We all know the time it takes to build beautiful email newsletters that look great across the wide-range of email clients out there. That’s why in this release, we’ve put together a brand new set of cross-client compatible email templates for you and your clients to use.

New email newsletter templates

There are 10 new email templates in total, spanning a range of themes, and a great starting point for your next email newsletter. We’ve thoroughly tested this new set of templates across a full-range of desktop and web-based email clients, so you can rest assured they’ll look just as stunning, whatever the recipient is using.

You’ll also notice that we’ve refreshed the template selection screen, making it much easier to get an idea of the template you’re selecting before you apply it. If you’re a Premium Partner and currently offer your clients a custom set of email templates, they’ll continue to work as per usual within the new interface. Miss the old templates? Don't stress - we've packaged them up in a .zip file you can download here.

Additional email marketing enhancements

Enhanced workflows and interface for choosing recipient lists

We’ve made it far easier to search through and select your email recipient lists when creating new campaigns, simply start typing and we’ll automatically filter the through your existing lists.

The ability to “exclude” lists or custom reports from final recipients

Easily exclude a certain list of recipients from your total pool of recipients. For instance, this is especially handy if you’re sending to a large list, but would like to exclude all customers who haven’t made a purchase in the 6 months.

Include and exclude recipient lists

New campaign performance report for email clients recipients are using

A brand new report for monitoring which email clients your recipients are opening newsletters with. Keep an eye on this metric, and make sure you optimize your campaign content to look great in the most popular clients.

Updated “sending” status for campaigns so you can easily monitor it’s sending progress

Keep an eye on the sending progress of your campaign as it sends to recipients.  

Improved import .csv template for mailing lists

Streamlined import template, to speed up your day-to-day imports

Other great feature improvements

Refreshed Toolbox (previously Module Manager) for Admin v3

A completely revamped module manager (aka Toolbox) that neatly docks to the right of the WYSIWYG editor.

Revamped Module Manager

Easily add Google Apps accounts for domain email

Simply select the new “Use your Google Apps account for email” when adding or editing your domain. Read this article for further details.



We hope you enjoy this month’s system update, stay tuned for more great updates next month!

Thanks,
Jackson.