July 16, 2012, 3:11 PM

Volusion’s CEO promises upgrades following last week’s outage

But e-retailers that use its e-commerce platform report more problems. 

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Following a power outage in its main data center that left retail clients of Volusion Inc. without operational e-commerce sites for several hours on July 9, CEO Clay Olivier issued a statement saying Volusion is spending heavily on new data center technology and operations.

“We understand the frustration that you experienced during this time, and are equally frustrated that we could not restore services to you faster,” he wrote in a July 12 note to clients posted on Volusion’s web site. “We assure you that our promise of delivering an excellent e-commerce experience for you and your customers remains our No. 1 focus.”

To make good on that promise, Olivier says Volusion is using a $150 million, 250,000-square-foot data center built last year and that the center “exceeds standards across the board for power, cooling, security, structure and support.”

In addition, Volusion will invest $10 million this year in additional redundant data center infrastructure, he says.

Despite those improvements, however, several of Volusion’s retailer clients say they experienced another power outage for more than two hours late in the afternoon and early evening on Sunday, when Volusion posted online status updates about service interruptions.

Volusion noted today on a web page where it reports its technology system status that its technology was running without interruption. Volusion offered no further details about its data centers or where they are located.

A Volusion spokeswoman, however, said Sunday’s outage affected a small percentage of clients. “While this isolated issue impacted a small percentage of merchants, our engineering team was able to get the majority of affected customers back to functionality in a short period of time,” she said.

Volusion serves mostly smaller retailers, including 11 merchants in the Internet Retailer Second 500 Guide and two in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

One retailer who contacted Internet Retailer and asked to remain anonymous said Sunday’s outage lasted for about 2.5 hours during what is usually a busy shopping period on his e-commerce site. Although he didn’t have an estimate of how much business he lost on Sunday, he said the prior outage for about four hours on July 9 cost him several thousand dollars in lost e-commerce sales.

“Our site was down for four hours and they gave me a credit for $52, but I lost more than $4,000,” he said. The credit, he added, was based on a formula tied to contract terms under which Volusion promises a minimum web site up time of 99%.

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