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Slashdot Goes Down


Slashdot Goes Down - database errorNot really SEO news as such, But an important lesson we should all learn. If a site like Slashdot can make these kinds of mistakes then we all can.

On the 8th November 2006 Slashdot failed due to a database error caused by the 16,777,215th comment made by an Ontario based musician. Looking at the post i can't see anything about it that would cause the database to crash. Well that's because it wasn't the content of the post, it was the fact it was the 16,777,215th comment.

The Slashdot database comment index is set as an unsigned mediumint in MySQL, which maxes out at 2^24, which puts the maximum size of the table at 16,777,216 rows. So after the 16,777,215th comment was made the Slashdot database said "no more!" and died.

Once Slashdot figured out what caused the database error fixing it was a simple, but lengthy process. The remedy was a simple ALTER TABLE MySQL statement, But on a table that is 16 million rows long it took over 3 hours to do it, In which time no posting was allowed.

So the lesson is, erm, i guess, Don't do things that will break your site. Or something like that.
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Posted by Anonymous Steven Bradley @ Sunday, 12 November, 2006

It's an easy error to make too. You'd think you'd be safe allowing that many comments when you first start out and obviously it was fine for quite some time.

I wonder if they knew this was going to happen or it took them by surprise. Once they realized they were going to need to alter the table there probably wasn't any good time they could without interupting service.  



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