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eBay recovers after outage

After an outage yesterday that halted bidding for nearly seven hours, popular auction site eBay is up and running today.

After an outage yesterday that halted bidding for nearly seven hours, popular auction site eBay is up and running today.

"We believe that we have recovered all of the corrupt data, and no data, bids, nor items were lost," eBay's Michael Wilson, senior vice president for product development and site operations, said in a posting at 10:38 p.m. PT yesterday. The outage began at 3:41 p.m. PT.

All auctions that had been scheduled to end between 1:50 p.m. and midnight yesterday have been extended for 24 hours, under eBay's policy.

In an earlier posting, Wilson said one database had been corrupted, and the corruption quickly spread elsewhere on many different hardware devices.

"We do not know what caused the problem, but we are certain it is not hardware. We are working with our software vendors to determine the cause of the problem," Wilson said, also ruling out heavy usage as a cause.

"The reason it took so long to recover was that many files were corrupted, and we needed to restore them from backups and reapply the updates," Wilson said. eBay engineers initially attributed the outage to problems with its CGI server hardware.

Under eBay policy, auctions scheduled to end during the outage and within an hour after service is restored are automatically extended for 24 hours.

An hour before the outage, site management had posted an item saying it was working to resolve "spiking" problems in the CGI servers.

As a result, visitors could reach eBay's home page and use the search function to find items but could not bid or check on the status of any specific auction.

Shortly after noon yesterday, eBay posted a notice that it was updating its search index. Around 8 a.m. yesterday, eBay had reported that its ISP had problems with an external router that had to be reset, thus making it difficult for some users to reach the site.

An eBay spokesman said yesterday afternoon that no information beyond the notices posted on the site was available.

On May 3, eBay suffered a five-hour outage that was blamed on the failure of a database server's hardware. In December, the site suffered at least three outages that disrupted service.