Thursday, April 21, 2011

Update on Site Availability

Sapling Learning has been unavailable for much of this morning, starting at about 6 AM Eastern to the present. Sapling is hosted on the Amazon Cloud, and the entire US-EAST-1 Region is experiencing connectivity issues. Sapling Learning, among thousands of other companies, has chosen to host our services on the Amazon Cloud for its excellent reliability and scalability. We are confident that Amazon will have their issues resolved quickly.

When the site is back up, your Technology TAs will grant an extension of 24 hours to any assignment that was due today. Please email your TechTA if you do not want the extension, or if you would prefer a longer extension for your classes.

We will post updates about Amazon's availability here hourly until this issue is resolved. Please visit this site for more details.

We apologize for the inconvenience that this has caused you and your students.

UPDATE (10:55 AM): We are still working to get the site back up. We apologize for the continued confusion. If your students have any questions, please forward them along to

UPDATE (10:59 AM): Amazon has posted an explanation of the issue:
8:54 AM PDT We'd like to provide additional color on what were working on right now (please note that we always know more and understand issues better after we fully recover and dive deep into the post mortem). A networking event early this morning triggered a large amount of re-mirroring of EBS volumes in US-EAST-1. This re-mirroring created a shortage of capacity in one of the US-EAST-1 Availability Zones, which impacted new EBS volume creation as well as the pace with which we could re-mirror and recover affected EBS volumes. Additionally, one of our internal control planes for EBS has become inundated such that it's difficult to create new EBS volumes and EBS backed instances. We are working as quickly as possible to add capacity to that one Availability Zone to speed up the re-mirroring, and working to restore the control plane issue. We're starting to see progress on these efforts, but are not there yet. We will continue to provide updates when we have them.
UPDATE (11:39 AM): We're working on setting up the site on the USWEST half of the Amazon cloud, but it will take a while to get the very large amount of data we store transferred. Either through Amazon's fix or our own, we will have the site up as soon as possible. We will update you as soon as we have a time estimate.

UPDATE (1:01 PM): Amazon reports that they have made "significant progress" in stabilizing the cloud servers. We hope to have the issues resolved soon.

UPDATE (1:22 PM): Amazon estimates that, at worst, it will take a "few hours" for the servers to be back up. More information is available through Amazon's RSS feed, but we'll continue to also update here.

UPDATE (2:45 PM): Amazon is reporting some success of launching instances on the cloud servers. We hope to be back up soon.

UPDATE (3:46 PM): We're making progress, but the site is still down.

UPDATE (4:19 PM): We think we're getting very close.

UPDATE (5:01 PM): Amazon has brought up 3 of 4 zones in the USEAST-1 region. We, unforunately, are on the fourth zone. We are continuing to try to work around this outage, and to put safeties in place to avoid extensive outages like this in the future.

UPDATE (6:22 PM): There is a lot of activity from the server guys right now, but we are not disturbing them to get details. It looks like it's getting very close.

UPDATE (6:35 PM): We're up! We pride ourselves on our 99.95% uptime, and apologize for today's frustrations.


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