IBM SoftLayer cops spray over Bigcommerce disruption

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IBM SoftLayer cops spray over Bigcommerce disruption

Australian-owned e-commerce platform provider Bigcommerce has written a scathing blog post criticising IBM SoftLayer over availability problems affecting its customers.

An incident in early April resulted in some Bigcommerce storefronts failing to load correctly due to missing content such as issues, styles and other assets, as well as slow response times, according to Bigcommerce status updates.

The incident resulted in service disruption affecting five percent of Bigcommerce stores, a spokesperson told CRN. It is understood that Bigcommerce uses IBM Softlayer facilities in the US.

On late Wednesday evening on 1 April, Bigcommerce's SoftLayer storage cluster started exhibiting degraded performance. Engineering teams from Bigcommerce and IBM SoftLayer worked to resolve the issue, with widespread recovery of the storage clusters beginning on 4 April. The disruption lasted until 1am on 5 April, and systems were stable by 8 April.

An IBM spokesperson told CRN: “IBM is committed to supporting Bigcommerce to continue to provide high-quality services to its customers."

In a blog post, Bigcommerce's senior vice-president of engineering, Ron Pragides, claimed that a large percentage of the IBM SoftLayer object store had failed and that object storage arrays were very slow to respond or were sporadically accessible.

Scott Baker, Bigcommerce's head of site reliability and operations, also directed his unhappiness at IBM SoftLayer. “Our engineers placed too much trust in IBM SoftLayer and that's on us.

“Unfortunately, our trust in IBM SoftLayer was misplaced. They have failed at every level of an operations team, they have failed as a business unit, they have failed in caring about how their customers are affected.”

Customers took to Reddit to voice their displeasure, with one Bigcommerce user writing: "We're losing thousands of dollars while they sit here and blame softlayer for their neglegence. I have a feeling we're all about be spending a lot of time building shopify stores this week."


According to an IBM case study from earlier this year, Bigcommerce launched its e-commerce platform on SoftLayer by provisioning approximately 250 bare metal services spanning data centres in Chicago, Illinois, Dallas, Texas and San Jose, California.

A Bigcommerce spokesperson said that over the past six months Bigcommerce clients have experienced 99.99 percent or better uptime, including 100 percent uptime during the online shopping period from Black Friday through Cyber Monday.

“We will continue to improve platform stability and performance including taking proactive steps to ensure our systems, as well as those of our third-party providers, incorporate the utmost levels of resiliency and redundancy to prevent issues such as these from happening again,” the spokesperson said.

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