General

SRE Weekly Issue #180

A message from our sponsor, VictorOps:

Endorsing a culture of blameless transparency around post-incident reviews can lead to continuous improvement and more resilient services. Check out an interesting technique that SRE teams are using to improve post-incident analysis and learn more from failure:

http://try.victorops.com/sreweekly/ishikawas-fishbone-diagram

Articles

This reads like a mini list of war stories from a grizzled veteran reliability engineer… because that’s exactly what it is. Don’t forget to click the link at the bottom for the followup post!

rachelbythebay

The myths:

  1. Add Redundancy
  2. Simplify
  3. Avoid Risk
  4. Enforce Procedures
  5. Defend against Prior Root Causes
  6. Document Best Practices and Runbooks
  7. Remove the People Who Cause Accidents

If that doesn’t make you want to read this, I don’t know what will.

Casey Rosenthal — Verica

The graveyard that no one dared tread in was the Terraform code. Once they got CI/CD set up, deploys became much easier — and less scary.

Liz Fong-Jones — Honeycomb

My favorite idea in this article is that the absence of “errors” is not the same thing as safety.

Thai Woods (summary)

Sidney Dekker (original paper)

High availability and resilience are key features of Kubernetes. But what do you do when your Kubernetes cluster starts to become unstable and it looks like your ship is starting to sink?

Tim Little — Kudos

Outages

SRE Weekly Issue #179

A message from our sponsor, VictorOps:

A good SRE manager can make or break your site reliability engineering team. Learn all about the duties of an SRE manager and the best practices for building a highly-effective SRE program:

http://try.victorops.com/sreweekly/duties-of-effective-sre-managers

Articles

This is an engrossing write-up of the Chernobyl incident from the perspective of complex systems and failure analysis.

Barry O’Reilly

Slack’s Disasterpiece Theater isn’t quite chaos engineering, but it’s arguably better in some ways. They carefully craft scenarios to test their system’s resiliency, verifying (or disproving!) their hypothesis that a given disruption will be handled by the system without an incident. They share three riveting stories of lessons learned from past exercises.

The process each Disasterpiece Theater exercise follows is designed to maximize learning while minimizing risk of a production incident.

Richard Crowley — Slack

The above is the title of this YouTube playlist curated by John Allspaw.

My favorite sentence:

If you think an incident is “too common” to get its own postmortem that’s a good indicator that there’s a deeper issue that we need to address, and an excellent opportunity to apply our postmortem process to it.

Fran Garcia — HostedGraphite

In this post, we’ll share the algorithms and infrastructure that we developed to build a real-time, scalable anomaly detection system for Pinterest’s key operational timeseries metrics. Read on to hear about our learnings, lessons, and plans for the future.

I sure do love a good debugging story.

Eve Harris — Ably

When an incident occurs, your company is faced with a choice: do you seek to learn as much as possible about how it happened, or do you seek to find out who messed up?

Phillip Dowland — Safety Differently

Outages

SRE Weekly Issue #178

A message from our sponsor, VictorOps:

Containers and microservices can improve development speed and service flexibility. But, more complex systems have a higher potential for incidents. Learn how SRE teams are building more reliable services and adding context to microservices and containerized environments:

http://try.victorops.com/sreweekly/container-monitoring-and-alerting-best-practices

Articles

Imagine a database that promises consistency except in the case of a network partition, in which case it favors availability. That’s conditional consistency, and it’s effectively the same as no consistency.

Daniel Abadi

This is a story about distributed coordination, the TCP API, and how we debugged and fixed a bug in Puma that only shows up at scale.

Richard Schneeman — Heroku

Here’s more on the Australian Tax Office outage earlier this month.

Max Smolaks — The Register

Ever experience a total outage while your cloud provider still reports 99.999% availability? This one’s for you.

rachelbythebay

What’s good or bad to do in production? And how do you transfer knowledge when new team members want to release production services or take the ownership of existing services?

Jaana B. Dogan (JBD)

The internet is a series of tubes — the kind that transmit light. Favorite thing I learned: fiber optic cables are sheathed in copper that powers repeaters along their length.

 James Griffiths — CNN

How do you build a reliable network when faced with highly skilled and motivated adversaries?

Alex Wawro — DARKReading

Outages

SRE Weekly Issue #177

A message from our sponsor, VictorOps:

[Free Webinar] VictorOps partnered with Catchpoint to put death to downtime with actionable monitoring and incident response practices. See how SRE teams are being more proactive toward service reliability:

http://try.victorops.com/sreweekly/death-to-downtime

Articles

The point of this thread is to bring attention to the notion that our reactions to surprising events are the fuel that effectively dictates what we learn from them.

John Allspaw — Adaptive Capacity Labs

This article is an attempt to classify the causes of major outages at the big three cloud providers (AWS, Azure, and GCP).

David Mytton

It was, wasn’t it? Here’s a nice summary of the recent spate of unrelated major incidents.

Zack Whittaker — TechCrunch

Calculating CIRT (Critical Incident Response Time) involves ignoring various types of incidents to try to get a number that is more representative of the performance of an operations team.

Julie Gunderson, Justin Kearns, and Ophir Ronen — PagerDuty

There is so much great detail in this followup article about Cloudflare’s global outage earlier this month. Thanks, folks!

John Graham-Cumming — Cloudflare

Outages

  • Statuspage.io
  • NS1
  • PagerDuty
  • Nordstrom
    • Nordstrom’s site went down at the start of a major sale.
  • Twitter
  • Heroku
  • Honeycomb
    • Honeycomb had an 8-minute outage preceded by 4 minutes of degradation. Click through to find out how their CI pipeline surprised them and what they did about it.
  • LinkedIn
  • Australian Tax Office
  • Reddit
  • Stripe
    • […] two different database bugs and a configuration change interacted in an unforeseen way, causing a cascading failure across several critical services.

      Click through for Stripe’s full analysis.

  • Discord
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