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The Downtime Project

Tom and Jamie talk through the postmortems of outages that have affected high profile sites.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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7 Lessons From 10 Outages

After 10 post-mortems in their first season, Tom and Jamie reflect on the common issues they’ve seen. Click through for details! Summing Up Downtime We’re just about through our inaugural season of The Downtime Project podcast, and to celebrate, we’re reflecting back on recurring themes we’ve noticed in many of the ten outages we’ve poured […]

46mins

22 Jun 2021

Rank #1

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Salesforce Publishes a Controversial Postmortem (and breaks their DNS)

On May 11, 2021, Salesforce had a multi hour outage that affected numerous services.  Their public writeup was somewhat controversial — it’s the first one we’ve done on this show that called out the actions of a single individual in a negative light. The latest SRE Weekly has a good list of some different articles […]

40mins

31 May 2021

Rank #2

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Kinesis Hits the Thread Limit

During a routine addition of some servers to the Kinesis front end cluster in US-East-1 in November 2020, AWS ran into an OS limit on the max number of threads. That resulted in a multi hour outage that affected a number of other AWS servers, including ECS, EKS, Cognito, and Cloudwatch. We probably won’t do […]

44mins

25 May 2021

Rank #3

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How Coinbase Unleashed a Thundering Herd

In November 2020, Coinbase had a problem while rotating their internal TLS certificates and accidentally unleashed a huge amount of traffic on some internal services. This was a refreshingly non-database related incident that led to an interesting discussion about the future of infrastructure as code, the limits of human code review, and how many load […]

38mins

17 May 2021

Rank #4

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Auth0’s Seriously Congested Database

Just one day after we released Episode 5 about Auth0’s 2018 outage, Auth0 suffered a 4 hour, 20 minute outage that was caused by a combination of several large queries and a series of database cache misses.  This was a very serious outage, as many users were unable to log in to sites across the […]

1min

10 May 2021

Rank #5

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Talkin’ Testing with Sujay Jayakar

Tom was feeling under the weather after joining Team Pfizer last week, so today we have a special guest episode with Sujay Jayakar, Jamie’s co-founder and engineer extraordinaire. While it’s great to respond well to an outage, it’s even better to design and test systems in such a way that outages don’t happen. As we […]

29mins

3 May 2021

Rank #6

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GitHub’s 43 Second Network Partition

In 2018, after 43 seconds of connectivity issues between their East and West coast datacenters and a rapid promotion of a new primary, GitHub ended up with unique data written to two different databases. As detailed in the postmortem, this resulted in 24 hours of degraded service. This episode spends a lot of time on […]

53mins

26 Apr 2021

Rank #7

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Auth0 Silently Loses Some Indexes

Auth0 experienced multiple hours of degraded performance and increased error rates in November of 2018 after several unexpected events, including a migration that dropped some indexes from their database. The published post-mortem has a full timeline and a great list of action items, though it is curiously missing a few details, like exactly what database […]

47mins

19 Apr 2021

Rank #8

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One Subtle Regex Takes Down Cloudflare

On July 2, 2019, a subtle issue in a regular expression took down Cloudflare (and with it, a large portion of the internet) for 30 minutes.

54mins

12 Apr 2021

Rank #9

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Monzo’s 2019 Cassandra Outage

Monzo experienced some issues while adding servers to their Cassandra cluster on July 29th, 2019. Thanks to some good practices, the team recovered quickly and no data was permanently lost.

43mins

5 Apr 2021

Rank #10