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Hundreds of pets go hungry after server outages render PetNet's feeders useless

When PetNet, the automatic pet feeder billed as “the smartest way to feed your pet,” burst on the scene last year, it aimed to revolutionize the way people cared for their beloved cats and dogs. However, despite the company packing the $149 system to the gills with smart tech and automation, a recent server outage did the exact opposite of the device’s purpose, leaving hundreds of pets hungry. Needless to say, owners of the device — along with their pets — weren’t terribly pleased with a mere server glitch disrupting the entire system.

According to PetNet, the issue stemmed from a third-party server the company said was experiencing “minor difficulties.” Despite the company saying it was currently investigating the glitch, hosts of PetNet users were chafed about the outage. The typical response seen among owners and across the web was one of disbelief at how Internet of Things-powered devices could be rendered useless so easily. During the outage, PetNet attempted to comfort worried pet owners via an email.

“We are experiencing some difficulty with one of our third-party servers,” read the email. “This is currently being investigated and we will provide you with more information as we receive it from our partners. You may experience a loss of scheduled feeds and failed remote feedings. Please ensure that your pets have been fed manually until we have resolved this issue. We’ll continue to update you with our progress on resolving this issue.”

According to The Guardian, PetNet CEO Carlos Herrera admitted that the third-party server had been down for roughly 10 hours. Moreover, the server — which PetNet apparently rents from Google — featured no redundancy backups (hence the continued outage), though Herrera said the company plans on implementing a workaround. It is worth pointing out that Herrera added that only around 10 percent of PetNet users were affected by the wonky server, saying previously set schedules don’t have to utilize the third-party server to operate.

At the time of this writing, PetNet assured its customers that all of its systems were back online and functioning properly. Furthermore, it said it would closely monitor the function of its servers and would be sending out a more detailed email in the next few days.