Instapaper Back Online After 31-Hour Outage, Full Content Restore Will Take a Week

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 10, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Popular bookmarking service Instapaper faced an extended outage this week, beginning at 12:30PM PT on February 8th and remaining offline for 31 hours. Although the service is now back online, users only have access to the last six weeks of saved articles, running back through December 20, 2016.

    The company said it chose to restore just the last six weeks of articles right now "in the interest of coming back up as soon as possible."

    A full restoration of Instapaper will take a week, so users can expect access to the rest of their data by February 17 "at the latest." Instapaper noted that the reason behind the outage appears to be a system limit that was hit for its hosted database, which prevented new articles from being saved by users.

    The company apologized for the outage in its series of blog posts on the topic. It also reassured users that they "haven't lost any data" that was previously saved on Instapaper, saying that "anything you've already saved to Instapaper is safe."
    Last summer, Instapaper was acquired by Pinterest with the intent to use Instapaper to encourage Pinterest users to save more articles to the site. A save-for-later feature has existed for several years on Pinterest, but wasn't used very often by those on the popular pinning site.

    Instapaper is available for free on the App Store. [Direct Link]

    Article Link: Instapaper Back Online After 31-Hour Outage, Full Content Restore Will Take a Week
  2. adamjackson macrumors 65816

    Jul 9, 2008
    I know most people aren't impacted by this but this was actually a very big deal for me yesterday and continues to have an affect.

    I save food recipes, things to buy, beer recipes and things to read to Instapaper. I spend an hour a day in the application or on the website. I bookmark 1-2 articles a day to blog later as well which I do blog one per day on average on my site. It's a crucial part of my workflow. I had 3 articles yesterday in my feed reader (Fever) I had to keep as unread until Instapaper came back up so I could bookmark them.

    I also pay for the service. I hope the archives come back soon. I'm afraid to save anything to it for fear of losing it.
  3. netsped macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2008
    Hopefully they can restore all bookmarks without any problems, I have quite a lot I go back to every now and then and I don't have them bookmarked anywhere else. Would be a shame if they can't. I guess I'll try to use IFTTT to automatically save new bookmarks from Instapaper to Pocket as a backup solution.
  4. coolfactor macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2002
    Vancouver, BC CANADA
    If they hit a "database limit", it's definitely sounds like a design flaw. Rather than have data stored across multiple databases in parallel, they have everything stored in one giant database? That doesn't seem right to me.

    I understand that Instapaper is massive and using cloud services is the best way to scale, but this response really concerns me:
    --- Post Merged, Feb 10, 2017 ---
    That was fun to read. :) Very big deal... beer recipes. :)
  5. adamjackson macrumors 65816

    Jul 9, 2008
    I use Instapaper like some people use their Gmail Inbox or GTD application of choice. I visit the site dozens of times a day to reference things.

    You picked out one thing and made fun of it but if I work for a brewery, that's sort of important to have access to that. Luckily, the mobile applications were in sync so I could reference things throughout the day but the website itself was completely down.
  6. Michaelgtrusa macrumors 604

    Oct 13, 2008
    I love the service and love it went free. Hope all is well soon. No Mac client though.
  7. jayhawk11 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2007

    No, you don't. Instapaper Premium went free and the feature set was given to everyone back at the beginning of November.
  8. max2 macrumors 68020

    May 31, 2015
    This is why you don't rely on a online service. Always have a offline backup.
  9. adamjackson macrumors 65816

    Jul 9, 2008
    I didn't realize that. I'd gladly continue giving them money.
  10. foobarbaz macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2007
    It's just a less-embarrassing way of saying that they ran out of disk space.
  11. Stella macrumors G3


    Apr 21, 2003
    Also seems they are reactive instead of Proactive...
  12. eoblaed macrumors 68020


    Apr 21, 2010
    They didn't give any details as to their database architecture. 'One giant database' is an assumption that isn't supported by any real data. (I'm also not sure what 'one giant database' means. There are many designs that will appear to a client as a single monolithic database service despite it actually being scattered across many hosts or not even being a classic database at all (eg. a DHT, etc)).

    Most companies, when describing customer impacting issues, rarely go into low-level detail for three reasons:
    • Most customers won't understand the relevance of many of those details.
    • Most customers don't care about the details. They just need to know if/when the service is ok, is their data ok, etc. Hitting them with a ton of detail often comes across as placating or excuses.
    • Companies are reluctant to expose too much low-level about their architecture to the public (for reasons that should be obvious).
    I wouldn't assume too much from an intentionally simplified statement by the company.
  13. adib macrumors regular


    Jun 11, 2010
    That's fairly common. Until very recently, an Internet-based payment services also relied on one giant database to host their transactions. It's growing pains – skimpy startups cannot afford to scale on day one (or even a few years after that). However when they reached scale, it gets very complex to rearchitect things yet keep the system running simultaneously. What's worse is that sometimes it's not worth to re-architect due to very thin margins.
  14. NoahK17 macrumors member


    Apr 24, 2009
    No one is making fun of you Adam... unless you're related to Hugh.

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