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Release It!, 2nd Edition by Michael T. Nygard

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Postmortem

At 10:30 a.m. Pacific time, eight hours after the outage started, our account representative, Tom (not his real name) called me to come down for a postmortem. Because the failure occurred so soon after the database failover and maintenance, suspicion naturally condensed around that action. In operations, “post hoc, ergo propter hoc”—Latin for “you touched it last”—turns out to be a good starting point most of the time. It’s not always right, but it certainly provides a place to begin looking. In fact, when Tom called me, he asked me to fly there to find out why the database failover caused this outage.

Once I was airborne, I started reviewing the problem ticket and preliminary incident report on my laptop.

My agenda was simple—conduct ...

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