'Coincidences,' and not a Super Villain, Took Down Twitter Today

Nothing to see here.

twitterbird615-1.jpg

In The Dark Knight Rises, the dutiful, bed-ridden commissioner of Gotham City's police forces, James Gordon, instructs a police officer he's just promoted:

"You're a detective now. You can't believe in coincidences."

Cut to July 26, 2012. Just before noon, eastern time. Twitter goes down -- due to the supposed coincidental failure of two different server systems. From their blog apology, posted this afternoon and long after Twitter service had been restored:

The cause of today's outage came from within our data centers. Data centers are designed to be redundant: when one system fails (as everything does at one time or another), a parallel system takes over. What was noteworthy about today's outage was the coincidental failure of two parallel systems at nearly the same time.

I wish I could say that today's outage could be explained by the Olympics or even a cascading bug. Instead, it was due to this infrastructural double-whammy. We are investing aggressively in our systems to avoid this situation in the future.

An infrastructural double-whammy, eh? A double-whammy caused by a coincidence, or an as-yet-unknown super villain? A super villain also responsible for taking down GChat and eroding Zynga's business model?

Presented by

Robinson Meyer is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he covers technology.

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her middle school. Then Humans of New York told her story to the Internet—and everything changed.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

Video

What Fifty Shades Left Out

A straightforward guide to BDSM

More in Technology

Just In