Twitter maintenance: the official and unofficial stories

So Twitter is ‘performing maintenance’. It’s still down at the time of writing. They’ve been very transparent and, so the reasoning goes, credible in their dealings, giving regular updates on their blog as they go along.

Thing is, I’ve worked in enough environments where software is provided as a service to get an insight into what’s really happening behind the scenes.

It starts off innocently enough:

We announced on Friday that we were going to be doing some maintenance on Twitter all day today. It turns out we were able to do most of the work without taking Twitter offline. It may have been better referred to as a “maintenance window” but we wanted to make sure you were aware just the same.

… but then, in the words of Jeff Goldblum, “aah, that’s how it always starts, and then later the running and screaming…”

Officially… But unofficially…

Update (12/17 12a): We ran into a minor glitch and will be taking 1 more hour of down-time. Thank you for your patience!

It’s a bit screwed. Our chief developer just got that horrible sinking feeling when she pressed the big red button. The analysts are blaming the programmers, the programmers are blaming the testers. The project manager is hiding in the toilet.

Update (12/17 3a): We’re slowly bringing services back up. You’ll probably see some slowness for a while. We hope to be back up to speed before your finish your bagel and coffee, NYC.

We rolled back to where we began. Now, we’re going back through the deployment, module by module, to find what’s broken, and running diagnostics. We hope to be back up to speed by the time someone has bought us bagels and coffee.

Update (12/17 5a): We’re still working on fixing some issues causing massive slowness site-wide. We’re on it.

It’s totally screwed. Something’s gone badly wrong. We don’t know what it is. Remember that scene in Scanners when that dude’s head explodes?

Update (12/17 6a): We’re waiting on a fix to our network switch which we’ve determined is causing the slowness we’re seeing. More soon.

It’s not our fault. We can all blame it on the network switch. Phew! Now, where are those bagels…?

This is, of course, all totally fictitious and not remotely intended to be a true reflection of Twitter the organisation, corporate entity or service, or any of its employees…

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