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Incidents/2022-10-15 s6 master failure

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document status: in-review


Incident metadata (see Incident Scorecard)
Incident ID 2022-10-15 s6 master failure Start 2022-10-15 22:37
Task T320990 End 2022-10-15 23:01
People paged 17 Responder count 3
Coordinators rzl Affected metrics/SLOs No relevant SLOs exist; frwiki, jawiki, ruwiki, and wikitech were read-only for 24 minutes
Impact frwiki, jawiki, ruwiki, and wikitech were read-only for 24 minutes (starting Sunday 12:37 AM in France, 7:37 AM in Japan, and very early- to mid-morning in Russia).

The s6 master, db1131, went offline due to a bad DIMM. We rebooted it via ipmitool and restarted mariadb, then failed over to db1173 and depooled db1131.


All times in UTC, 2022-10-15.

  • 17:19 db1131 records a SEL entry: Correctable memory error logging disabled for a memory device at location DIMM_A6. At this point the DIMM has started to fail but the errors are still correctable.
  • 22:37 Last pre-outage edits on frwiki, jawiki, ruwiki.
  • 22:37 db1131, s6 master, experiences multi-bit memory errors in DIMM A6. The machine reboots and then locks up. [OUTAGE BEGINS]
  • 22:40 First paging alert: <icinga-wm> PROBLEM - Host db1131 #page is DOWN: PING CRITICAL - Packet loss = 100%
  • 22:43 Amir1 begins working on an emergency switchover. (task T320879)
  • 22:43 Pages for “error connecting to master” from replicas db1173, db1098, db1113, db1168.
  • 22:44 Amir1 downtimes A:db-section-s6 for the switchover, suppressing any further replica pages.
  • 22:48 Incident opened; rzl becomes IC.
  • 22:48 Amir1 asks for db1131 to be power-cycled (which is much faster than switching over with the master offline).
  • 22:50 rzl posts a new incident as “Investigating” to statuspage.
  • 22:54 Amir1 sets s6 to read-only
  • 22:54 rzl powercycles db1131 via ipmitool
  • 22:57 db1131 begins answering ping; Amir1 starts mariadb
  • 22:59 <Amir1> it should be rw now
  • 23:01 rzl notes no activity on frwiki's RecentChanges, tries a test edit, and gets "The primary database server is running in read-only mode." as MediaWiki is still set to read-only.
  • 23:01 Amir1 turns off read-only mode. [OUTAGE ENDS]
  • 23:01 First post-outage edits on affected wikis.
  • 23:02 Amir1 resumes the originally-planned master switchover from db1131 to db1173, now to prevent recurrence.
  • 23:22 Replicas are finished moving to db1173. Amir1 begins the critical phase of the switchover, which requires another minute of read-only time.
  • 23:24 s6 switchover complete.
  • 23:27 Amir1 depools db1131.
  • 23:47 Incident closed. rzl resolves the statuspage incident.


We were paged once for Host db1131 #page is DOWN: PING CRITICAL - Packet loss = 100% about three minutes after user impact began.

We also got paged for MariaDB Replica IO: s6 #page on db1173 is CRITICAL: CRITICAL slave_io_state Slave_IO_Running: No, Errno: 2003, Errmsg: error reconnecting to master repl@db1131.eqiad.wmnet:3306 - retry-time: 60 maximum-retries: 86400 message: Cant connect to MySQL server on db1131.eqiad.wmnet (110 Connection timed out) and identical errors for db1098, db1113, and db1168. Those alerts were redundant but the volume wasn't unmanageable.


What went well?

  • The paging alerts for ping lossage on DB masters meant we got paged within a few minutes, with an immediately clear and actionable signal about the problem and severity.

What went poorly?

  • The switchover script is slow to restore the site when a master is hard-down. It’s difficult to get the switchover script to skip its preflight checks, and moving individual replicas takes ~20 minutes, during which the affected section is still read-only. We were able to recover more quickly in this case by rebooting the host, but there’s no guarantee that works.

Where did we get lucky?

  • Amir was available to respond promptly when paged at 12:40 AM, even though we have no DBAs in an appropriate time zone.
  • We were able to bring the machine back up, which shortened the outage. A different hardware failure could have left the machine offline, leaving s6 wikis read-only for the duration of the switchover process.

Links to relevant documentation


  • task T320994: Check and replace the suspected-failed DIMM.
  • task T196366: Implement (or refactor) a script to move replicas when the master is not available


Incident Engagement ScoreCard
Question Answer


People Were the people responding to this incident sufficiently different than the previous five incidents? no
Were the people who responded prepared enough to respond effectively yes
Were fewer than five people paged? no
Were pages routed to the correct sub-team(s)? no
Were pages routed to online (business hours) engineers?  Answer “no” if engineers were paged after business hours. no
Process Was the incident status section actively updated during the incident? yes
Was the public status page updated? yes
Is there a phabricator task for the incident? yes
Are the documented action items assigned? yes DC Ops task isn't assigned yet, but is routed to #ops-eqiad per their process
Is this incident sufficiently different from earlier incidents so as not to be a repeat occurrence? no
Tooling To the best of your knowledge was the open task queue free of any tasks that would have prevented this incident? Answer “no” if there are

open tasks that would prevent this incident or make mitigation easier if implemented.

Were the people responding able to communicate effectively during the incident with the existing tooling? yes
Did existing monitoring notify the initial responders? yes
Were the engineering tools that were to be used during the incident, available and in service? yes
Were the steps taken to mitigate guided by an existing runbook? yes
Total score (count of all “yes” answers above) 9