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Surviving Operational Disasters

Michael Canzoneri

Who is this guy?

Buffalo Perl Mongers

Founder of the Argyle Technology Group, LLC

Synacor, Inc
Lead Systems Engineer
Release Engineer
(read: janitor)

I spend a lot of time around things that go wrong.

What sorts of "disasters" are we talking about?

Things *will* go wrong!
Let's cover...


Turn green.

Don't Panic. ™

Enter Zen mode

This is the most important part of this talk.

Thanks for coming. Have a nice day.

You are about to do something amazing!

You are going to fix this problem with your mind!

...so focus!


...because most other people will be freaking out.

You need data.

Lots and lots of data.

You should have known about all this data ahead of time.

Monitoring and Logs
(I hope you have them.)

You need the right people in the room. Now!

Failures in complex systems are often a result of several smaller failures.

Not everyone has complete understanding of all the systems.

Including you!

Success will often come from one person who finds the answer.

Your goal is now to make it easy for that one person to get you the solution as fast as possible.

Who is the leader?

There is one leader.


If there are zero leaders then become the leader.

Remember that people flee from disasters.

People who can't flee often don't want to be in charge.

Who else do we need?

People searching for the fix.

Keep track of who is searching for what.

This is hard when everyone is on chat and not in the room.

This can be a parallel process.

Now we need people to execute on the good ideas.

Execute until the problem is solved.

Notes on executing fixes:
When executing ideas:

You are now a hero.

Everybody is sad that this happened but happy that it is fixed.

Review how well the disaster was handled separately from what the disaster was or what caused it.

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