The needler in the haystack.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Why Plainfield's blogs were down for two days


Logo for one of Blogger's service blogs.
 
From late Wednesday morning through early Friday afternoon, most Plainfield blogs -- along with millions of others hosted by Google's free Blogger service -- were out of service.

Those affected were my Plainfield Today and CLIPS blogs, as well as Bernice's Plaintalker II, Olddoc's Potpourri, Maria's Blog, all of the Council members, Renata, Milani, Vashon, ke'stans, Ken Schuman, Dee Dameron, Tony Rucker and Jackie Schnoop.

Bloggers were unable to post, or found their posts had disappeared (as with mine on the fraud at the school district) and comments were not able to be made by readers or posted by the bloggers.

Eventually, Blogger rolled back to an earlier archived version, removing all Wednesday and Thursday posts.

Ironically, Blogger personnel were able to communicate little about the difficulties or the solution they were trying to implement as all Blogger's service blogs are hosted on their own service. (Known as putting all your eggs in one basket, this is never a good strategy.)

Information Week, an IT magazine, offered an overview on its website Friday (see here), noting that Microsoft has also had outages with some of its web-hosted (or 'cloud') services this week.

Annoying as it is for bloggers and their readers, the outage may give pause to businesses contemplating shifting their information processing 'to the cloud'. In fact, ZDNet's Ed Bott blogs today (see here) that businesses would be wise not to adopt a cloud-only strategy. (ZDNet is the online presence of Ziff-Davis magazines, a stable of technology and business magazines.)

Small fry like Plainfield's blogging community have few options, though Plainfield Sports News and Dr. E=MC² and Piv for Plainfield are hosted on other blogging platforms.

Blogger offered an explanation in an email that I received at 4:33 PM Friday, which reads --

What a frustrating day. We’re very sorry that you’ve been unable to publish to Blogger for the past 20.5 hours. We’re nearly back to normal — you can publish again, and in the coming hours posts and comments that were temporarily removed should be restored.  Thank you for your patience while we fix this situation.  We use Blogger for our own blogs, so we’ve also felt your pain.

Here’s what happened: during scheduled maintenance work Wednesday night, we experienced some data corruption that impacted Blogger’s behavior. Since then, bloggers and readers may have experienced a variety of anomalies including intermittent outages, disappearing posts, and arriving at unintended blogs or error pages. A small subset of Blogger users (we estimate 0.16%) may have encountered additional problems specific to their accounts. Yesterday we returned Blogger to a pre-maintenance state and placed the service in read-only mode while we worked on restoring all content: that’s why you haven’t been able to publish.  We rolled back to a version of Blogger as of Wednesday May 11th, so your posts since then were temporarily removed. Those are the posts that we’re in the progress of restoring.


Again, we are very sorry for the impact to our authors and readers.  We try hard to ensure Blogger is always available for you to share your thoughts and opinions with the world, and we’ll do our best to prevent this from happening again.


Posted by Eddie Kessler, Tech Lead/Manager, Blogger

Meanwhile, bear with us as we make sure everything has been restored (I noticed one of my posts has disappeared completely), and if you tried and were unable to post comments on any of the blogs, give it another shot.

And now, we return you to our regularly scheduled program.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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