Deconstructing an Abstraction to Reconstruct an Outage

Thursday, 12 October, 2023 - 14:5015:30

Chris Sinjakli, PlanetScale


We all rely on abstractions to build the applications we use day-to-day. It's easy for those abstractions to feel like impenetrable walls, hiding scary low-level parts of the system - especially for a complex piece of software like a database. That needn't be the case!

In this talk, we'll explore the aftermath of a complex outage in a Postgres cluster. We'll retrace the steps we took to reliably reproduce the failure in a local environment and pull out lessons about debugging complex systems along the way. At one point, we'll dive into the depths of how Postgres represents data on disk and realise that even unfamiliar layers of a system don't need to be scary.

Chris Sinjakli, PlanetScale

Chris enjoys working on the strange parts of computing where software and systems meet. He especially likes the challenges of databases and distributed systems.

All his programs are made from organic, hand-picked, artisanal keypresses.

@conference {292141,
author = {Chris Sinjakli},
title = {Deconstructing an Abstraction to Reconstruct an Outage},
year = {2023},
address = {Dublin},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = oct

Presentation Video