Outage report for 12th-15th August 2017

Many people have noticed that the map interface was unavailable between the 12th and 15th of August. The issue was caused by a "huge(ish)" storm that hit hard on the southern parts of Finland (which is where the servers are physically located; the map is provided by a third party website not affiliated with Laminar Research or the Scenery Gateway) and ended up cutting power to over 20k households - including nearly all of the city where the servers hosting the map interface happen to be located in.

The blackout started around 1800Z and lasted for over 6 hours. During this time, there were short periods when the website was briefly operational, but since the power kept getting cut off due to problems with the power distribution, eventually the batteries in the UPS no longer had the capacity to do an orderly shutdown of the servers (from which they are able to recover easily) because the power was failing "again and again" with never enough time to actually charge the batteries on the UPS. Thus, eventually, once the power finally did get fully restored, of the three servers (firewall, database and webserver) two started normally (firewall and database) while the third one (the webserver) failed to do exactly that.

The map interface visualizing the distinct X-Plane Scenery Gateway airports, as stated, is a third party website literally run by a single person ("me") who (in addition to loving speaking of himself in third person:) on this particular saturday happened to be spending his summer holiday in Belgium, which - unfortunately - is located a bit over 1700 km (or about 1000 miles depending on your preferred measurement system;) away from the servers\' physical location. So ... oops, my bad :D

I only got back to Finland on tuesday evening and found that the webserver had actually booted up - but was stuck with a dilemma provided by dear old Mr. Murphy; "Last 10 reboot attempts have all ended with a catastrophic crash - check the hardware configuration and press any key to continue"\', (paraphrased, naturally)

What the server was basically telling me was that "for 10 times now, I\'ve tried getting up and ended up losing all power, please check that I am OK before continuing" ... which is kinda good; servers that constantly "crash" are usually "servers with bigger issues". I had never expected a power outage that would drain my backup batteries - and, well, frankly - servers that do keep "crashing" usually do have huge issues that need to be properly addressed; I just never thought that "getting turned on while there is not enough power to keep the server on" would be one of the possible issues (because in Finland power outages of more than 15 minutes happen ... umm ... saying "rarely" would be a huge overstatement ... basically, such a thing "never" happens normally) ... but ... now I know better.

Happily, though, once I got back home (around 1730Z on 15th August) it was simply a matter of pressing the ominous "any key" on the server\'s KVM and ... the site was up and running in less than 10 seconds. The same server does handle my e-mails, so catching up with those might take a tad bit longer - but ... I\'m getting there - with a new insight into "what are some things that should never happen, but still can happen ... and can end up ruining the day for others".

I wish to extend my deepest apologies for the users of the map interface. Outages on the site are ever supposed to be measured in seconds, definitely not days. I will attempt my best to do better in the future.

And I must applaud the lot of you that use the site; you tried contacting me through my current e-mail ... as well as my old e-mail (which I still do receive, because my new family name is quite a new thing at the moment:), through my old Gmail-address (which, unsurprisingly, is not too hard to guess:) , using Facebook and ... of all the things I didn\'t even realise I had installed - through Instagram ... some people even filed a bug through the Scenery Gateway bugtracker ... all of which I find good. The fact that - instead of "simply" accepting that "the map interface seems to be out", people saw to it that "somebody else (that has any power over it) knows about it" ... You know what, folks? You\'re the best! :) Keep on doing what you\'re doing ;)

Now ... get back to the map and keep on doing what you\'re doing ... As said, You\'re awesome ;) You truly are ;D Pip pip ;)

And just in order to reiterate the flow of thought above; sorry for the inconvenience. I should\'ve prepared better for the unexpected, but I failed to do that. My bad.

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