Hybrid Television Services, licensee and operator of the TiVo service in ANZ, has begun warning customers to expect sporadic service outages starting Wednesday, August 3rd and continuing through Monday, August 8th. There is a silver lining to the cloud; the outages are due to scheduled maintenance required to upgrade their server infrastructure to cope with a growing user base. That’s good news, since there has been some question about the future of TiVo in ANZ and if they’re still growing that’s positive.
During the maintenance work on the TiVo and CASPA services, various features may be unavailable, including the CASPA On-Demand service, My Account functionality, TiVo Genie, and Games and Showcases. Additionally, activation of new TiVo accounts will be unavailable during this period, so it isn’t a good time to buy a new TiVo. But this should be a short period of inconvenience in exchange for a more robust system going forward.
Still, putting my datacom professional hat on, I wonder how the back end is architected. Normally you design things such that the ability to failover and upgrade doesn’t cause an outage. The short version is that you setup the new infrastructure in parallel, then cut over in one go. Or you cut the traffic to half the systems, upgrade, then cut over to the upgraded servers, upgrade the rest, then bring them all back. That’s oversimplifying, but I’ve done this for years and it is pretty common. Services you use daily do this all the time and you never know it. Hopefully that’s a lesson learned and this upgrade will also set the foundation for future upgrades without prolonged outages.