Infrastructure Change Brings Facebook Down

Company attributes outage to configuration change error.

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

September 3, 2014

1 Min Read
Infrastructure Change Brings Facebook Down
An aisle at Facebook’s data center in Luleå, Sweden. (Photo by Facebook)

Facebook has issued a statement attributing the social network’s brief outage on Wednesday afternoon to an error that occurred during an infrastructure configuration change.

“Earlier today we encountered an error while making an infrastructure configuration change that briefly made it difficult for people to access Facebook,” a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “We immediately discovered the issue and fixed it, and everyone should now be able to connect.”

The outage lasted a little longer than 10 minutes, which was enough to ignite a flurry of sarcastic Tweets tagged #Facebookdown. The website’s other most recent outages happened in August and in June.

Facebook has a robust data center infrastructure, which it designs almost entirely using in-house engineering talent. It has data centers on both coasts of the U.S., as well as in Sweden. It also has some capacity deployed in the U.S. with wholesale data center providers.

Companies with “web-scale” data center infrastructure, such as Facebook, rely on software to make their IT systems resilient. This approach is different from the traditional enterprise approach of building layers of redundancy in mechanical and electrical data center infrastructure.

In a typical web-scale data center, a server cluster is put together in a way that ensures the cluster as a whole can maintain the workload when individual nodes within it go down.

Still, even this approach obviously does not ensure 100-percent application uptime. Online services like Facebook and Twitter do go down from time to time.

Facebook apologized for inconvenience the issue may have caused and promised to investigate it thoroughly to prevent it from happening in the future.

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