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Incidents/2023-05-02 Phabricator outage during GitLab maintenance

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document status: draft


Incident metadata (see Incident Scorecard)
Incident ID 2023-05-02 Phabricator outage during GitLab maintenance Start 2023-05-02 08:14
Task T333347 End 2023-05-02 08:24
People paged 0 Responder count 4
Coordinators Eoghan, Jelto Affected metrics/SLOs
Impact For approximately 10 minutes Phabricator tasks were not loading when GitLab was in maintenance mode.

During a planned GitLab maintenance to switch the main GitLab host from codfw to eqiad Phabricator users noticed that they were not able to load tasks, instead seeing an ""Unhandled Exception ("RuntimeException")" message.

The following errors were observed in the logs:

Invalid argument supplied for foreach()` `called at [<wmf-ext-misc>/src/customfields/GitLabPatchesCustomField.php:113]
fatal: unable to access 'https://gitlab.wikimedia.org/toolforge-repos/toolpilot.git/': The requested URL returned error: 502

Based on the above findings a decision was made to abandon the planned maintenance and take GitLab out of maintenance mode. This resulted in Phabricator tasks loading as expected, other than a short caching period for already open tasks.

The most likely cause of the incident was a Phabricator widget deployed in T324149


All times in UTC.

  • 2023-03-15 21:36: GitLab Phabricator widget is deployed T324149#8700128
  • 2023-05-02 08:14 OUTAGE BEGINS: first notification of Phabricator outage on IRC
  • 2023-05-02 08:20 Decision is made to stop the GitLab maintenance, GitLab is restarted to bring up all the services
  • 2023-05-02 08:24 OUTAGE ENDS: confirmation that service has been restored
  • 2023-05-04 17:12 Fix is deployed for Phabricator widget T333347#8827402


The issue was brought to our attention by users in the #wikimedia-operations IRC channel. There were no automated alerts as the Phabricator service was up and pages were loading, but displaying an error instead of expected contents


What went well?

  • Stoping the maintenance and restoring the service was quick and straightforward
  • Fix was found and deployed fast

What went poorly?

  • The Phabricator widget was deployed a few days after the previous longer GitLab maintenance (eqiad to codfw switch). Since then we had a few shorter downtimes (e.g. security updates) and even though they were noticed (see T333347), they were brief enough to not show on our radar.
  • T333347 was not on teams radar

Where did we get lucky?

  • There was a running conference call for the GitLab maintenance so it was easy to coordinate the troubleshooting, make a decision and restore service.
  • GitLab maintenance was not urgent and could be postponed to a later date
  • Phabricator errors were detected fast, easy rollback was possible at that point in the maintenance

Links to relevant documentation



Incident Engagement ScoreCard
Question Answer


People Were the people responding to this incident sufficiently different than the previous five incidents? yes
Were the people who responded prepared enough to respond effectively yes
Were fewer than five people paged? no No pages
Were pages routed to the correct sub-team(s)? no No pages
Were pages routed to online (business hours) engineers?  Answer “no” if engineers were paged after business hours. no No pages
Process Was the "Incident status" section atop the Google Doc kept up-to-date during the incident? no No Google doc was necessary
Was a public wikimediastatus.net entry created? no
Is there a phabricator task for the incident? yes T333347
Are the documented action items assigned? yes
Is this incident sufficiently different from earlier incidents so as not to be a repeat occurrence? yes
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.

no T333347
Were the people responding able to communicate effectively during the incident with the existing tooling? yes
Did existing monitoring notify the initial responders? no
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) 8