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Mark Smith's Journal

Work related musings of a geek.

A day in the life...

[staff profile] mark

We had a server lock up today (this is fairly normal and our infrastructure is resilient against it, so no downtime happened!). Anyway, there was an email thread that is pretty typical of how things happen behind the scenes here, so I figured I'd reproduce it here. (With permission!)

[personal profile] alierak: Memory usage suddenly went through the roof on lb01, which is really just a web/mogile server and doesn't have perlbal or varnish set up. I can't get into it to fix anything, I think we'd have to have ServerBeach powercycle it, but I'm not going to be around this evening.

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[staff profile] mark: I'll take this one -- enjoy your evening! :)

I agree re: the powercycle, although I am going to give it 10 minutes and see if I can possibly SSH in. If it's swapping, it might eventually let me in and I can see what happened...

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[staff profile] mark: It's back. I never got in via SSH and rebooted it. Took ~25 minutes to come back up -- fsck it looks like -- but it's back and serving requests now.

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[staff profile] denise: maybe it just wanted a nap.

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[staff profile] mark: We don't allow our servers to nap. It's not in their contracts. They have to be up 24/7/365.

They're not even allowed religious observances.

It's really kind of a bum deal.

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[staff profile] denise: let's hope they don't decide to unionize!

...now i'm trying to remember if there's ever been a rabbinical ruling about tech companies owned by jews who keep shabbat strictly, and whether the servers can stay up during. on the one hand, you're not supposed to cause any fires to be kindled (which modern observance takes to mean no turning-on of things; electricity = fire), which means that using a computer is forbidden. on the other hand, servers are on all the time, and the restriction is generally held to be only on turning-on: things that are on all the time are all right. (if you remember abusefest '05: desh turned on the living room and bathroom lights ahead of time and taped an index card over the switches saying "please do not turn these off": that was okay, because the light was turned on before the shabbat started.) so a server that's always-on wouldn't be "melakahah", or "causing work to be done". so it would probably be acceptable even for people who kept strict observance. but i'm really curious if there's ever been a ruling, now!

--D, who is not going to get sucked into researching that...

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[staff profile] mark: hahahahahaha -- can I post that to [staff profile] mark? "a look into the life of DW at work". :)

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[staff profile] denise: lol. feel free, someone might know the answer <3

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So there you have it: a day in the life of Dreamwidth behind the scenes!

20.02.2013 06:17 am (UTC)

(no subject)

azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] azurelunatic
Disclaimer: not Jewish here, but I have been on the fringes of a good helping of discussions of this sort of thing. And the answer is probably going to vary depending on who you ask, on the grounds that debate is a cultural sport. :D

Where you'd get into trouble, I think, would be stuff like cronjobs where you know what's going to happen at what time, because that's directly causing work to be done on the Sabbath. (One does not ask/tell the Shabbos goy to do a thing, one hints that it might be nice to have a cup of tea or whatever, and waits for them to pick up on it.) Same with automation -- if you set up something to automatically reboot the server or pull some stats in the middle of the Sabbath, even if you're performing the setup on another day, the work's still being done and thus not on. However, there's a particular subset of tech specializing in introducing an unpredictable delay into electrical switches, such that pushing the button won't immediately cause work to be done.