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Google Reader replacement 'Old Reader' crashes

Possible data loss as SSDs fail during terabyte transfer, service goes down

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The Darwinian derby to determine which RSS-reading service would replace Google Reader as the world's dominant feed-wrangler may just have produced its first extinction event, after theoldreader.com choked on its recently-enlarged database and crashed.

The Old Reader's schtick is that it looks and behaves pretty much exactly like Google Reader, which made it a nice alternative for refugees.

As the graphs below (taken from the service's blog) show, user numbers have surged from around 10,000 in March to over 375,000 today.

The Old Reader's growth since Google killed its Reader

That July 5th post also says the outfit uses “... this amazingly cheap but somewhat unreliable hosting provider” that has led to “some issues with our database servers” and outages.

Old Reader seems to have decided to do something about that, but the something has failed.

As the company now says, in an “Important Update” a weekend attempt to migrate to new servers has failed.

“On Saturday (July 20) we moved over a terabyte of data from one storage system to another,” the blog reports. Things went fine until “we started seeing a higher I/O load after we finished, and suddenly one SSD drive in one of our database servers stopped working.”

A second SSD in another disk then failed, and then another pair also fell over. One of those was in a server that was in the process of restoring data.

At some point it all got too much and the service ground to a halt.

The Old Reader's site is now displaying apologies, cat photos and a promise that a fix “will probably take a day or two”. ®

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