Building An ActiveRain Technology Foundation

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Suplari, Inc.
https://activerain.com/droplet/9qf

Big Rocks First First and most importantly, I apologize for the current state of the technology stability here at ActiveRain.  My technology team tells me that the database needed to be "vacuumed" because the site was having problems this morning on Friday May 6th, 2011.   I know it is frustrating for you and even more frustrating for us.   As I have said before, I make no excuses for where we are and do not expect a "free pass" in any way. 

What is likely more frustrating to you is the lack of clear communication in terms of what we here at ActiveRain are doing about it.  My goal with this post is to communicate 1) where we are and 2) what we are doing about it.

So, where are we?

  • activerain.com was initially built in 2006 for one purpose and took off faster than it was architected for.
  • As the company, membership and traffic has grown, many of these architecture and technology issues are becoming more problematic, particularly to the stability of the site.
  • The activerain technology platform / codebase needs to be properly maintained and updated.  Parts of the site need to be re-developed to handle the new size of the membership, traffic, functionality and additional features that we could like to support.

 

What are we doing about it?

  • The stability and scalability of the technology are my number one priority. 
  • Our internal team is doing a great job dealing with the issues as they come up.  We have supplemented the team with consultants who are very familiar with the technology of ActiveRain.
  • We have hired an operations and systems administration team that is familiar with the the hardware side of technology (think servers, boxes, network, bandwidth) to monitor ActiveRain and respond when there is an issue.
  • Finally we have hired a rockstar technology architecture consultant from Silicon Valley who will help us get to the root of the problems with the fundamental technology architecture. 
  • This team of internal and external resources are coming up with the plan for what needs to be addressed to DRAMATICALLY increase the stability of ActiveRain.
  • Based on the plan, we will add internal development staff while supplementing with consultants until we get activerain.com where it needs to be.

So there are many initiatives that are in process, but there is no one silver bullet just yet.  We are not sparing resources on making sure that AcitveRain.com is stable and viable long-term.  As soon as I have my hands around the long-term plan, I will share it with all of you.  Keep in mind, we are a small, entrepreneurial start-up, so we will be implementing changes over time, but addressing the biggest issues first. 

Big rocks first, right?

Sunset in SeattleMy wife and I used to live in a part of Seattle called Eastlake which is off Eastlake Avenue.  It is a beautiful area, but it is built into a sloping hill that runs all the way down to Lake Union.  We had the BEST SUNSETS in the world (in the summer).  It was an amazing place and we loved it.  Building a condo building or a house on a slope is complicated and expensive.  It is critical to have a solid and reinforced base.  It is important to maintain your foundation on a regular basis so that you can enjoy the view without any worry.

We promise that we will continue to provide the best real estate community and blogging platform in real estate.  We need to reinforce the foundation right now.

I promise to communicate with each of you regularly as we make progress.  I am more than happy to talk to any and each of you personally, either on this blog, email me at nikesh@activerain.com or call me at 206 470 2908

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Nikesh Parekh

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Brian L. Sirota, Esq. 05/07/2011 04:21 PM
  2. Kate Elim 05/07/2011 04:26 PM
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activerain technology

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Rainmaker
4,691,198
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Thanks Nikesh, we all appreciate being kept in the loop.  That's an improvement over the past.

May 07, 2011 12:57 AM #44
Rainmaker
594,714
Laura Giannotta
Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore - Little Egg Harbor, NJ
Your Realtor Down the Shore!

Niki, appreciate the update and know that with all things there are some problems that crop up along the way.  Once dealth with, they make us stronger and smarter...that's what ActiveRain has been doing, and as you point out will continue to do!  Thanks. 

May 07, 2011 12:58 AM #45
Rainer
332,782
Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ
Weichert - Lopatcong, NJ

Niki,

Thanks for keeping us apprised.  Sometimes I suspect we East Coasters encounter a problem while your capable tech staff is still snug in bed.  Perception or reality?

May 07, 2011 01:02 AM #46
Rainmaker
1,907,639
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
MOOERS REALTY - Houlton, ME
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

When you have a pain, it helps to know what is causing it. No news is not good news. And on the Facebook emergency broadcast channel we turn to for news when the Starship Enterprise heads back in to space dock, comments from AR to take a chill pill, or what a beautiful Friday afternoon weather wise it is (like take the day off, don't worry be happy now) is like putting out a fire with gasoline. Salt in the wound. Real estate marketing, SEO does not take a lunch break, days off.

May 07, 2011 01:56 AM #47
Rainmaker
1,474,902
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

The crazyness on Facebook over ActiveRain being down was entertaining...  I have to go back and find who those out of control people were.    I looked on Twitter when I got an error message and found others were experiencing the same difficulties.  @ActiveRain seemed to be aware and working on the problem...  

LATER when I looked to see what was happening in AR groups / pages on Facebook.  Wow....

May 07, 2011 02:23 AM #48
Rainmaker
323,591
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Thanks for the update Nikesh. I'm sure all of you behind the scenes at AR are doing everything that can be done to keep AR humming along. Still, its nice to get updates so we know what's happening.

May 07, 2011 03:35 AM #49
Ambassador
2,820,160
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

First- I think we all appreciate being kept informed (are you a fan of star trek)  cause on the facebook page I think it would be helpful when we are completely down if "Scotty" would give some timeline of having the warp engines back up and running.

Secondly-  I'll be here for the journey.

May 07, 2011 04:40 AM #50
Rainmaker
1,085,546
Greg Nino
RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP - Houston, TX
Houston, Texas

Vacuumed. I like that. Please send photo's of Kerrie pushing the vacuum cleaner. lol.

May 07, 2011 05:52 AM #51
Rainmaker
571,518
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Nikesh,  All I want to know is that you guys understand how so many of us rely on AR for a lot of things and that when there is a problemk you tell us exactly what the issue is and what you are doing to remedy the issue.  Rock on !

May 07, 2011 07:34 AM #52
Rainmaker
544,081
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Niki, yes, put the big rocks in first. Those of us who "understand" what AR is all about aren't going anywhere. I'm sure we all understand that you're not trying to run us off or anything. That being said, I am working on a WP site, and even if that does for blogging what your site does, I'm not going anywhere. Where else can you network with 200k referral sources?!?

May 07, 2011 11:38 AM #53
Ambassador
711,288
Karen Crowson
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Rancho Bernardo, CA
Your Agent for Change

Seeing those updates on Facebook and Twitter are important.  Occasionally it will be our own system that's experiencing the problem.  I always turn to FB to make sure it's you and not me ;)  We can be understanding and patient - communication is the key.

May 08, 2011 07:45 AM #54
Rainmaker
186,907
Nikesh Parekh
Suplari, Inc. - Seattle, WA
Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor

Hi Everyone, Happy Mother's Day.  We had an issue from 10am to 11:30am PST on Mother's Day.  Based on my discussion with our managed hosting provider Rackspace, there were a number of internal "database queries" that were getting "hung up."  We need to evaluate a number of these database queries and see if we can make them more efficient so that they will execute faster.

May 08, 2011 07:46 AM #55
Ambassador
4,294,958
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Hi Nik, I think this is your first 'encounter' with the 'vacuum'. Let's hope it is the last one.

Coming from IT field before I jumped into (well, switched to - but people always jump into...) the real estate, I know how it is when there is an emergency - and I am sure you are handling it best in this situation.

Like many others, I also want to offer any kind of help you may need. Rest assured, like many of us, I am also hooked up to AR - and will support it rain or shine...(did I commit too much? I guess not!)

Best Luck for smooth sailing.

May 08, 2011 08:24 AM #56
Rainer
51,265
Meg Ross
Keller Williams Realty - Arlington, VA
Arlington, VA's, top real estate agent

Thanks for the info and open communicaiton and vocing a committment to get it right. Now here's a story. Went thru "the troubles" a while back so didn't commit to my only blog being here on AR. Then I had decided I'd make AR my blog when the new problems cropped up. I had been travling this week and had about an hour this morning to do a blog. AR is down. i checked the Facebook page to find see "it's back up" but that was from a previous issue. It wasn't up for me - and lost my chance to post as I had to take out clients today. You asked for members to spread the word on AR. Can't do that until I - and really my clients - can trust AR to be up 100% of the time. Lots of potential here becuase it's a great community, helped me learn to blog and the customer service staff are helpful. I'm wondering though if it's worth continuing to pay for something that I can't be sure will be here when I can be.

May 08, 2011 08:29 AM #57
Rainmaker
186,907
Nikesh Parekh
Suplari, Inc. - Seattle, WA
Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor
Hi Meg, I hear and understand your concerns. Please give us the opportunity to earn your trust. As I have said, we have not found a silver bullet just yet. We have a plan and I will continue to communicate on what we are doing to solve this technology problem and stabilize the site.
May 08, 2011 08:38 AM #58
Rainer
329,126
Donald Reich
Prudential Centennial - New Rochelle, NY

Thanks for the update! I am a relative newbie here, but I love it here active rain!!

May 11, 2011 01:10 AM #59
Rainmaker
150,954
Aida Pinto
United Associated Brokers - Long Beach, CA
Real Estate Broker (562) 884-6196

Oh....so that's why I couldn't log on...I didn't think anything of it....I just tried again the next day....no big deal...but thanks for the update anyway......don't know why some folks get their "panties in a bunch" when this site is down....I guess I am not "a dedicated" blogger!  lol!

May 11, 2011 08:08 AM #60
Ambassador
884,573
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Dear Niki -
Amazing what communication solves! 
Enjoyed the range of comments. 
Think I will skip the video also.
Have a happy day -
Lynn

May 14, 2011 08:27 AM #61
Rainer
59,351
Ron Jesser
Real Estate eBroker Palm Springs - Palm Springs, CA
Palm Springs California Homes For Sale

Nikish- all good on the communication side so I say thanks. I have ben a critic and a supporter both.  I am on the fence right now on weather or not to remain with AR.  Time will tell because we pay you to perform and since I joined last year, its been awful.  I see alot of comment on AR vs. Wordpress.  Yes differences exist and while AR has advantages, so does WP especially when it comes to the Visual Editor, photo uploader and image library. 

Have you ever been victim of having your entire post wiped out because you didn't get the Captcha correct?  Or a comment wiped out because it was a word short?  And I've seen no discussion on why it takes so long for a post to appear in Localism?  I called the other day and was told its due to the updater being broken and some tech has to manually do it on the weekends..... what good does it do for me to post locally if it takes days to show up????

I challenge yoi to take a look at the Wordpress features and implement that functionality on AR.  If you do that, this platform will then be a 21st century tool.  Until then, its just a bulletin board with SEO juice.

May 15, 2011 05:03 AM #62
Rainmaker
150,954
Aida Pinto
United Associated Brokers - Long Beach, CA
Real Estate Broker (562) 884-6196

I was gone for a while so I missed the tech glitches ...hope you get them resolved, and welcome to "The Rain".....and wish you lots of success.

May 17, 2011 10:12 AM #63
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Nikesh Parekh

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