MLS Search Not Working

And apparently hasn’t been working for a few days now … The Charlottesville MLS folks are aware of the problem and are now working on it. My search isn’t working, Nest‘s is not, and neither is FranklyMLS, nor are a few more around Charlottesville – so it’s not just mine.

When the problem is resolved, I will post an update and move this post to the sideblog.

Darn it.

Update 16 April 2009: From Diverse Solutions’ CEO … this is how to handle a problem … basically we are dealing with two problems – one with Diverse Solutions and one with our MLS provider, Solid Earth:

I wanted to personally give you an update to what is going on. As you probably know one of our storage servers decided to freak out on Tuesday. Despite the fact that it was a high end storage server with numerous drives that were using RAID 5 for reliability it did fail. Our development team and I worked through the night on Tuesday to do everything we could. We were able to bring it back to life and put it back online yesterday morning but due to some corruption within the RAID it couldn’t handle the traffic put on it and failed again. We then made the decision to redownload every photo for those MLSs affected instead of spending our time resurrecting something that may or may not work ultimately. Images are now going to be stored on Amazons S3 storage network and served up through Amazons Cloud Front content delivery network. This increases the reliability and speed in which the photos are being served up. Photos will now be served up to the IDX visitor from the closest of 14 datacenters around the world which 8 of them are in the US instead of our Los Angeles location. Our tests show it is blazing fast and even more so for those on the East Coast. Most MLSs photos on the failed server have been retrieved and put up on S3. But as it turns out Charlotteville Area Association of REALTORS started experiencing some problems with their RETS server on Tuesday as well. We have been unable to connect to start retrieving photos yet. We have been working with them yesterday and this morning to try and resolve the problem on their end. In the mean time we are going to try and get our old server up again to see if it can handle just getting CAAR MLS images to S3. I sincerely apologize. In our five years being in business we have never experienced anything like this before. I personally appreciate your tact, patience and understanding in this situation. I will give you updates as they become available. If you have any questions please let me know.

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  1. Pingback: Jim Duncan on WINA radio discussing Charlottesville and Central Virginia real estate market | Real Central VA

  2. Kevin Curtis @ MN MLS April 20, 2009 at 08:47

    I am amazed how often I hear about MLS systems being down or not working properly around the country lately. I know our Minnesota MLS has undergone a ton of changes lately including new security measures for log in and new search features for lender mediated transactions, but we have not had any down time thank goodness.

  3. Bruce Lemieux April 21, 2009 at 14:43

    As a Diverse Solutions customer, I wasn’t aware of this outage until I read it on your blog. A couple of you guys get white-glove service. The rest of us, not so much.

  4. Jim Duncan April 21, 2009 at 14:59

    Bruce –

    Thanks for commenting.

    Candidly, I’m more upset/concerned about the fact that my local MLS provide apparently didn’t know that some of their feeds hadn’t been updated for days until I told them. At least DS knew about their problems and reached out …

    As for DS, I’ve been nothing short of thrilled with their service, and don’t have anything ther than good things to say about them.

  5. Pavel April 21, 2009 at 19:26

    Did you notice the limitation DS has – when one of CAARMLS properties is custom mapped to a location (which is fairly common on streets that are not currently in the map database)? Whenever a property is “custom mapped” in CAARMLS it shows up as “un-mappable” in the DS results. So if one were to strictly use the map based search (and not the reference list on the left) properties are missed. Other than that DS is definitely top-notch!

  6. Jim Duncan April 21, 2009 at 21:47

    Pavel –

    Yep, it’s a temporary limitation, but easily circumvented by searching by multiple school districts …

  7. Bruce Lemieux April 21, 2009 at 22:19

    Jim – I appreciate this isn’t a dialog on DS functionality, *but* I would appreciate your thoughts on what I think is a basic usability issue. My MLS – MRIS in the Metro D.C. area – is a huge area with many counties across a couple states. Because there is a single entry for ‘area’ for zip codes, neighborhoods and communities, a visitor can be challenged to pick the correct area(s). This is the same with schools since all schools for all counties are available in the single school field.

    I really like the stream-lined selection criteria of DS — I think this is one of their strengths. But I believe giving the visitor a selection criteria for County first, and then have DS constrain the valid ‘Areas’ and ‘Schools’ for those counties would dramatically improve basic search functionality by eliminating those areas/schools in counties not selected. I had to do a tutorial video on my site after a couple of my clients had challenges with the ‘areas’ — didn’t have to do this with my last IDX provider.

    I know you don’t speak for these guys, but I would be interested to see what you think. I’ve tried a couple of communication paths with DS, but get no where. I do like the product. I just wish they had a structured, direct forum for customer feedback.

  8. Alex April 22, 2009 at 16:21

    @ Pavel – Unfortunately Charlottesville Area AOR does not give us access to those geocodes in the RETS feed. Whenever possible we use the geocodes from the MLS for that reason. If you have a dsSearchAgent IDX we give the agent/broker the ability to map their own listings if they are not mapped or in the wrong place.

    @ Bruce Lemieux – I was looking through our suggestion list and I see that you made this suggestion a few weeks ago to someone on our staff. We understand exactly what you are referring too and I agree. With an MLS of that size I can see it getting a little overwhelming. But as with all suggestion they’ll be evaluated, get put on to the development list and then they will be implemented. This does take time though. So please hang in there.

    We are actually almost done with a Feature Request / Suggestion System that will allow users to submit their ideas and allow other users to vote on it with points they accumulate every month that they are a customer with us. This will give us and the agent/broker a better incite to what the rest of our users think about the idea.

    Diverse Solutions

  9. Bruce Lemieux April 22, 2009 at 18:45

    Alex – thanks for the response. I’m sure you have ton of features that agents would like incorporated into the product — it’s the nature of software development and having customers. I don’t have an expectation that you guys would jump on my request. I would, however, like a forum/path to have this dialog directly with DS. This is the first response to my request that I’ve received in any form, so I didn’t know if you had it or not.

    Again, I appreciate the response, and I do like the product. I know that you have a very close relationship with bloggers like Jim and Jay Thompson. By opening up the product development conversation with your larger customer base (for those that care), you’ll have even more raving fans.

    Jim – thanks for hosting this conversation. BTW, I’m having trouble getting my 13 year-old daughter to stay up on her math homework. I keep talking, but it’s not registering. Perhaps I should get through to her by commenting on one of your other posts? 😉


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