/// Twitter’s Bad Day: Site-Wide Outages Recall the "Fail Whale" Era

June 22, 2012  |  All Things Digital


After nearly a year without any significant periods of downtime, using Twitter was almost nothing like the early days of being on the service. So when Twitter went down on Thursday morning for a period of more than an hour, it was something of a shock to its regular users. After nearly six months of site reliability above 99 percent, Twitter was unreachable across the Web and mobile devices multiple times over the course of the day, with intermittent periods of uptime and downtime. Twitter representatives offered little initial explanation for the outages until around 1 pm PDT, and only in short, 140 character bursts of information via the company’s official Twitter account. It wasn’t until about 4:30 pm that Twitter offered a lengthier explanation of the day’s events. “It’s imperative that we remain available around the world, and today we stumbled,” Twitter VP of Engineering Mazen Rawashdeh wrote in a blog post on Thursday afternoon explaining the outages. “Not how we wanted today to go.” The problem, Rawashdeh explained, had to do with what is called a “cascading bug” — a term that quickly spawned its own parody Twitter account — in one of the company’s infrastructure components. That bug wasn’t confined to an individual element of the company software, so it created a cascading effect, spreading to other parts of the software and affecting Twitter’s 150 million-plus users. Twitter’s explanation came after a day of speculation that ran the gamut, ranging from purported DDoS attacks, to potential problems in Twitter’s recent physical headquarters relocation, and even to the farfetched positing that a trend of animated GIF avatars could have caused the widespread outage

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Twitter’s Bad Day: Site-Wide Outages Recall the "Fail Whale" Era


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