Service Outage

Earlier today AU experience an extended service outage affecting the forums, blog and wiki. I was not immediately reachable, so I was not aware until sometime after 2pm, unfortunately. The web service was down, and the database was not responding, a restart of those services restored the system to a live status.

Early this morning (0305h) a file integrity check ran according to it's daily schedule. Due to an inconsistency on the /var volume, the integrity check ran into some problems and consumed too much space on the volume. Other tasks that were also scheduled in the same time frame began to fail and email alerts were generated and sent to me, which I saw this morning. Upon checking the system I noticed the issues with /var and decided to dismount /var, run a disk check and remount it. While successful, the process created over 10000 files in lost+found that I needed to review. In the midst of that tedious process, I got tasked with dressing a freshly bathed toddler and prepping him for a day out with his parents. I completely forget to come back and finish what I had started. So the simple cause of this whole debacle was simply...

...human error. Mine.

Sorry folks, it's all back up and running now... but I still have 9900 files to vet.


OpenDNS stops working?

We use OpenDNS as yet another layer of security and control, as enforcement of our Acceptable Use Policy, as well as some phishing and malware protection.  Today we suddenly found OpenDNS was returning perfectly valid IP addresses to queries for blocked domains, such as

I checked our settings and nothing seems amiss, and more disconcerting, I do not see anything on the OpenDNS site that gives any indicator that anything is wrong.

I would dismiss this as a hiccup or even something wrong on our network, but this is happening to two distinct networks and two distinct OpenDNS accounts.

In general I am fairly happy with OpenDNS and have used it for years, but rarely by itself, because, after all, it's a DNS service in the cloud and neither should be trusted completely.


How Tweet it is…

sometimes testing can be so embarrassing...

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The value of forums

There has been a lot of talk about the value of forums lately, especially where ASCnet is concerned.  There is debate whether ASCnet sees the value of their own newgroups which are currently old USENET style nntp-based groups accessible only by dedicated news reader or a reader-enable email client.  The attempted move to web forums has been a long and somewhat painful process and presently the project seems to have stalled somewhat.  Is there value in web forums or forums in general?

Forums, historically have largely been grassroots, user base driven undertakings by folks with similar interests.  Forums likely are not great marketing vehicles though and it is not uncommon for businesses to lose sight of the needs of their user base (clients) and put more effort into marketing their product to new clients than appeasing the needs of their current users.  Even Apple has been guilty of this, a company that likely owes a lot to it's fanatical user base.

Novell is another company that tends to have some very devout users, they certainly make use of their forums, which currently still run on NNTP as well as vBulletin with a custom-coded bridge keeping the two in sync.

It is quite hard to find a company today that does not make use of forums for support purposes.  Microsoft, Adobe, Nvidia, and AMD all do it.  Even non-tech companies might dabble in support forums, but those who don't will often find their user base will create their own, as owners of various cars and trucks tend to do.

Forums also offer an impromptu gathering place where people with common interest can gather, exchange ideas and help each other out.  So there is definitely value in forums, and that value does go both ways.


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