Server Upgrade Caused Dropbox Downtime

A recent outage experienced by the file storage and sharing site Dropbox has been blamed on issues with a “planned server maintenance job“, according to articles published by CNet and the Washington Post. The server upgrade script was interrupted by a “glitch in its server upgrade process” or what Dropbox referred to as a “subtle bug“, according to the CNet article. The article indicates that Dropbox “went offline on Friday and continued to suffer problems even after returning to life over the weekend.

Dropbox was able to restore their core services on Sunday 4:40 PM PT , according to CNet, but left many asking for more specific reasons why this outage happened. The company denied reports of an intrusion by a hacker or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and confirmed that this issue originated with the “script involved in upgrading the operating system on its database servers” The article stated that, the glitch affected the database that “uses one master and two slave machines for redundancy.

Akhil Gupta, Head of Infrastructure at Dropbox, was quoted in the CNet article to say, “On Friday at 5:30 PM PT, we had a planned maintenance scheduled to upgrade the OS on some of our machines. During this process, the upgrade script checks to make sure there is no active data on the machine before installing the new OS. A subtle bug in the script caused the command to reinstall a small number of active machines. Unfortunately, some master-slave pairs were impacted, which resulted in the site going down.”

According to the article, Dropbox confirmed that “the files of Dropbox users were never at risk during the outage since the databases don’t contain any actual file data.

Read more details about this outage and how Dropbox is planning to avoid this type of issue in the future at CNet and The Washington Post.

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