Postmortem: Outage of the Galactic Giggles App

Cover Image for Postmortem: Outage of the Galactic Giggles App

Issue Summary:

  • Duration:

    • Start Time: November 4, 2023, 14:00 GMT

    • End Time: November 5, 2023, 19:00 GMT

  • Impact:

    • The Galactic Giggles App experienced a complete outage for 5 hours.

    • Users were unable to access the app, resulting in a 100% user outage.

  • Root Cause:

    • The root cause was a cosmic squirrel chewing through critical fiber optic cables on a satellite.


  • Issue Detection:

    • Detected at 14:00 GMT when an alert from our cosmic cable monitoring system indicated a significant drop in data transmission rates.
  • Actions Taken:

    • Investigated the data center for potential equipment failures, assuming the issue was internal.

    • A field engineer was dispatched to the data center to inspect the hardware, causing a delay.

    • Escalated the issue to the extraterrestrial cable management team, suspecting an issue with the interstellar fiber optic cables.

    • After confirming the squirrel's presence, a galactic wildlife expert was consulted.

  • Misleading Investigation/Debugging Paths:

    • Initially, the team suspected a router malfunction and spent an hour investigating it.

    • A misguided assumption was that solar flares might be interfering with our satellite communications.

  • Escalation:

    • The incident was escalated to the Galactic Cable Guardians, who oversee satellite-based infrastructure.
  • Incident Resolution:

    • The cosmic squirrel was gently persuaded to leave its cable-chewing endeavor and returned to its native interstellar tree.

    • Cable maintenance was performed, and connectivity was restored at 19:00 GMT.

Root Cause and Resolution:

  • Root Cause:

    • The issue was caused by a cosmic squirrel gnawing through the primary fiber optic cable connecting our data center to the satellite, disrupting data transmission.
  • Resolution:

    • The squirrel was lured away with a trail of cosmic acorns and safely transported to a nearby asteroid, far from our critical cables.

    • Fiber optic cables were repaired, and data transmission returned to normal.

Corrective and Preventative Measures:

  • Improvements/Fixes:

    • Implement a cosmic squirrel deterrent system to protect cables in the future.

    • Increase the redundancy of our satellite connections to minimize downtime in similar scenarios.

    • Review monitoring alerts to respond more efficiently to unusual activity.

    • Develop protocols for handling wildlife intrusions on our infrastructure.

  • Specific Tasks:

    • Install squirrel-repellent devices on all critical cables.

    • Implement additional monitoring for cable integrity and wildlife interference.

    • Create a cosmic wildlife incident response plan, including contact information for extraterrestrial wildlife experts.

    • Schedule regular cable maintenance and inspections to proactively prevent future issues.

In summary, the Galactic Giggles App outage was a result of an unexpected cosmic squirrel meddling with our fiber optic cables. While the issue has been resolved, we are taking measures to prevent such incidents in the future, including implementing safeguards against wildlife interference and enhancing our monitoring systems. We remain committed to providing a seamless interstellar experience for our users.