Camayak Blog

Camayak is a content production tool for newsrooms.
Empower editors. Improve communication. Create better content.

Service Updates

  1. Camayak scheduled downtime on June 25

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    On June 25th, we’re going to be performing system maintenance, which we expect to take two hours. You won’t be able to access Camayak during these periods so please make sure you’ve saved your work before we get started.

    Camayak may be accessible more quickly than we anticipate, so keep an eye on our Twitter account for updates on when you can resume your work.

    Depending on your location, here’s when Camayak will be unavailable:

    June 25th 2017:

    • Central EU: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m
    • UK: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m
    • Eastern US: 5 a.m. – 7 a.m
    • Central US: 4 a.m. – 6 a.m
    • Mountain US: 3 a.m. – 5 a.m
    • Pacific US: 2 a.m. – 4 a.m
    • Hawai’i: Saturday 24th 11 p.m. – 1 a.m., Sunday 25th

    We’re sorry for any inconvenience this causes and look forward to updating our Twitter account when we’re finished with our work.

  2. Camayak scheduled downtime on June 6

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    On June 6th, we’re going to be performing system maintenance, which we expect to take up to three hours. During this time the Camayak software will be available, but the Camayak product website will be unavailable.

    If you usually login via camayak.com, during this window you will need to login directly via my.camayak.com instead.

    June 6th 2017:

    • Central EU: 2 p.m. – 5 p.m
    • UK: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m
    • Eastern US: 8 a.m. – 11 a.m
    • Central US: 7 a.m. – 10 a.m
    • Mountain US: 6 a.m. – 9 a.m
    • Pacific US: 5 a.m. – 8 a.m
    • Hawai’i: 2 a.m. – 5 a.m

    We’re sorry for any inconvenience this causes.

  3. Camayak scheduled downtime this Sunday morning

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    This Sunday, December 13th, we’re going to be performing system maintenance, which we expect to take two hours. You won’t be able to access Camayak during these periods so please make sure you’ve saved your work before we get started.

    Camayak may be accessible more quickly than we anticipate, so keep an eye on our Twitter account for updates on when you can resume your work.

    Depending on your location, here’s when Camayak will be unavailable:

    Sunday 13th, December 2015:

    • Central EU: Sunday, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    • UK: Sunday, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    • Eastern US: Sunday, 5 a.m. – 7 a.m.
    • Central US: Sunday, 4 a.m. – 6 a.m.
    • Mountain US: Sunday, 3 a.m. – 5 a.m.
    • Pacific US: Sunday, 2 a.m. – 4 a.m.
    • Hawai’i: Saturday 12th 11 p.m. – 1 a.m., Sunday 13th

    We’re sorry for any inconvenience this causes and look forward to updating our Twitter account when we’re finished with our work.

  4. Camayak scheduled downtime on Monday and Wednesday this week

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    Tomorrow and Wednesday October 21st, we’re going to be performing system updates. You won’t be able to access Camayak during these periods so please make sure you’ve saved your work before we get started.

    Camayak may be accessible more quickly than we anticipate, so keep an eye on our Twitter account for updates on when you can resume your work.

    Depending on your location, here’s when Camayak will be unavailable:

    Monday October 19th 2015:

    • Central EU: Monday, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
    • UK: Monday, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
    • Eastern US: Monday, 7 a.m. – 9 a.m.
    • Central US: Monday, 6 a.m. – 8 a.m.
    • Mountain US: Monday, 5 a.m. – 7 a.m.
    • Pacific US: Monday, 4 a.m. – 6 a.m.
    • Hawai’i: Monday, 1 a.m. – 3 a.m.

    Wednesday October 21st 2015:

    • Central EU: Wednesday, 8:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
    • UK: Wednesday, 7:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
    • Eastern US: Wednesday, 2:45 a.m. – 5:00 a.m.
    • Central US: Wednesday, 1:45 a.m. – 4:00 a.m.
    • Mountain US: Wednesday, 12:45 a.m. – 3:00 a.m.
    • Pacific US: Tuesday, 11:45 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.
    • Hawai’i: Tuesday, 8:45 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

    We’re sorry for any inconvenience this causes and look forward to updating our Twitter account when we’re finished with our updates.

  5. Scheduled downtime

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    Tomorrow we’re going to be performing system updates. You won’t be able to access Camayak during this period so please make sure you’ve saved your work before we get started.

    If you’re based in Europe you’re most likely to be affected by this, so it’s important to mark these times on your calendar. Camayak may be accessible more quickly than we anticipate, so keep an eye on our Twitter account for updates on when you can resume your work.

    Depending on your location, here’s when Camayak will be unavailable:

    • UK: Wednesday, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
    • Central EU: Wednesday, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    • Eastern US: Wednesday, 5 a.m. – 6 a.m.
    • Central US: Wednesday, 4 a.m. – 5 a.m.
    • Mountain US: Wednesday, 3 a.m. – 4 a.m.
    • Pacific US: Wednesday, 2 a.m. – 3 a.m.
    • Hawai’i: Tuesday, 11 p.m. – 12 a.m.

    We’re sorry for any inconvenience this causes and look forward to updating our Twitter account when we’re finished with our updates.

  6. Tomorrow Evening, Use my.camayak.com to Access Your Newsroom

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    Starting on Sunday evening, 30th March, you’ll need to go directly to my.camayak.com to login to your account, as www.camayak.com may temporarily be unavailable.

    Please remember this between:

    Eastern Time: 12am and 9am (Monday)

    Central Time: 11pm and 8am (Monday)

    Mountain Time: 10pm and 7am (Monday)

    Pacific Time: 9pm and 6am (Monday)

    Hawai’i Time: 7pm and 4am (Monday)

    P.S. If you bookmark my.camayak.com you can save going to www.camayak.com, every time you want to access your newsroom.

  7. Scheduled downtime: Wednesday & Thursday this week

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    Tomorrow we’re going to be performing system updates. You won’t be able to access Camayak during this period so please make sure you’ve saved your work before we get started. We’re going to repeat the same thing on Thursday morning so the same will apply, then.

    If you’re based in Europe you’re most likely to be affected by this, so it’s important to mark these times on your calendar. Camayak may be accessible more quickly than we anticipate, so keep an eye on our Twitter account for updates on when you can resume your work.

    Depending on your location, here’s when Camayak will be unavailable:

    Central EU: Wednesday & Thursday, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

    UK: Wednesday & Thursday, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.

    Eastern US: Wednesday & Thursday, 7 a.m. – 9 a.m.

    Central US: Wednesday & Thursday, 6 a.m. – 8 a.m.

    Mountain US: Wednesday & Thursday, 5 a.m. – 7 a.m.

    Pacific US: Wednesday & Thursday, 4 a.m. – 6 a.m.

    Hawai’i: Wednesday & Thursday, 2 a.m. – 4 a.m.

    We’re sorry for any inconvenience this causes and look forward to updating our Twitter account when we’re finished with our updates.

    Update:

    Thursday’s scheduled downtime has been cancelled.

  8. Root Cause Analysis for Camayak Outage of February 3rd/4th

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    Overview

    Camayak customers experienced three service outages though the evening hours of February 3rd (US Time Zones)/Early Morning February 4th UTC.

    The outages spanned the following times:

    Outage 1 (34 minutes):

    – UTC From 02/04/2015 03:39 to 02/04/2015 04:13

    – CST From 02/03/2015 21:39 to 02/03/2015 22:13

    Outage 2 (12 minutes):

    – UTC From 02/04/2015 04:37 to 02/04/2015 04:49

    – CST From 02/03/2015 22:37 to 02/03/2015 22:49

    Outage 3 (40 minutes):

    – UTC From 02/04/2015 04:54 to 02/04/2015 05:34

    – CST From 02/03/2015 22:54 to 02/03/2015 23:34

    In the times between the outages, service may have been slow as customers tried to reconnect.

    Part 1: The service outage

    A: Cause

    We have determined that the service outages were caused by the following circumstances:

    1) A customer inadvertently created a large number of publishing destinations pointing to non-existent or misconfigured WordPress instances.

    2) When the customer went to the manage publishing destinations page, Camayak attempted to validate the publishing destinations. Due to the specific circumstances of those WordPress instances, the validation code ended up waiting a long time for validation before timing out.

    3) The validation attempts tied up application server threads, preventing them from being used to service other customer’s requests

    4) Our load balancer, seeing that the applications servers were not responding to the validation requests in a timely fashion re-attempted those requests to other application servers, causing application server threads on those servers to be tied up waiting for validation.

    5) This process continued until all application server threads were tied up waiting for validation.

    6) Eventually, the validation requests timed out fully, and the application server threads were available to process other requests.

    Steps 2-6 of this process happened three times, causing the three outages.

    B: Remediation

    1) We have, as of February 4th 16:45 UTC (10:45 CST) released a fix to our application server software to ensure that reasonable timeouts on the validation attempts. The validation timeout is well below the load balancer timeout, to ensure the cascade effect in (4) does not happen.

    2) We have, as an additional measure, increased our application server capacity.

    Part 2: The support outage

    A: Cause

    The Camayak support team was unable to respond to support queries from customers, which began at UTC 04:01, until UTC 07:29. The reasons for this are detailed here.

    B: Remediation

    We have, as of February 4th 14:45 UTC (08:45 CST) set up a notifications system with extra features to alert and inform off duty support personnel of service outages. This is an addition to our existing notifications framework for other critical and non-critical alerts.

  9. How We Messed Up

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    Last night we let our users down.

    At around 10pm Central Time, the Editor-in-Chief of the Kansas State Collegian emailed our support address to tell us that his staff had been unable to log into Camayak for ten minutes. Usually he would have expected a reply from us within the next fifteen, telling him what was up and what we were doing to fix it.

    Minutes later, the student media adviser at Pepperdine University and Editor in Chief of UCLA’s Daily Bruin both asked for help, too: Camayak wasn’t responding normally and had now been periodically inaccessible for at least twenty minutes.

    Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 2.06.15 PM.png

    As anyone who uses Camayak knows, the whole point is to have real-time access to your newsroom, 24/7, no matter where you are. We work to maintain that standard because it’s an essential part of our service and also because people rely on us to produce their work on deadline.

    But last night, after thirty minutes of intermittent service, we still hadn’t responded to the people letting us know that we had a job to do.

    Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 2.07.40 PM.png

    Then, minutes-that-felt-like-hours later and still without any support response from us, Camayak seemed to return to normal and newsrooms from around the country reported that their staff were able to keep working.

    Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 2.09.56 PM.png

    But it didn’t last. Less than half an hour later, we received more alerts from other newsrooms of service interruptions that in some cases hadn’t let up since they’d first been reported.

    Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 2.10.52 PM.png

    By this point it was abundantly clear that we’d let our users down on two counts. They’d been forced to deal with unplanned downtime and even more confusingly, were doing so without any guidance from us.

    Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 2.11.57 PM.png

    Finally, at 11.45pm CST – a full two hours after the Kansas State Collegian had first reported difficulties accessing Camayak – we recovered full service.

    This morning, over an hour and half later, we sent our first responses to the people who’d reached out to us for help.

    Why we messed up

    First off, we’re profoundly sorry for letting our users down on two fronts last night. People use Camayak because it’s a more efficient way to work and we’ve always prided ourselves on our response times to any urgent difficulties our users are having.

    So what went wrong?

    Downtime

    Last night we experienced an outage, which we’re currently investigating. We’ll be updating our blog with our root cause analysis, later.

    Usually we’re in a position to react to such outages by monitoring our systems and adapt on-the-fly. Unusually, we didn’t respond like that last night. This is because we had a gap in our engineering and support coverage.

    Lack of support

    We’re used to ‘after hours’ questions from newsrooms, because that’s often when newsrooms get busy. We also work with newsrooms that are based in Pacific and other ‘later’ timezones. So the timing of last night’s issues was not outside of our predictable scope of activity.

    We’re a distributed company – which comes with timezone/support benefits – and decided three years ago that having a co-founder on the same timezone as many of our users was a sensible idea (we also have coverage for Central, Eastern and GMT/BST timezones). I’ve been living in Los Angeles ever since and am usually the first to respond to support questions from the Pacific timezones. We aim to get back to urgent requests within ten minutes.

    Last night however, I was not on the West Coast and our Central hub was off duty as our downtime began. As you’ll see from the time-stamps in this post, I’m currently in London, along with our GMT/BST hub that only came on duty at 6.30am local time (12.30am CST and 10.30pm PST).

    While these were highly unusual circumstances for our service and team, they shouldn’t have affected our service levels and we deeply regret that they did.

    What we’re going to do about it

    We’re going to publish the results of our root cause analysis for the outage Camayak experienced. Update: our analysis and remediations are listed here.

    Despite being spread across multiple timezones, we’re also taking steps to make sure our engineers and support team can be alerted to critical needs, even when they’re not on-call. The situation we ran into last night has never happened before but is a timely reminder for us to make sure we have a plan in place for urgent events that might occur when we’re all asleep or off duty.

    We’re hugely grateful for how responsive and patient our users are and won’t forget this as an example of how we can keep improving. We messed up and are determined not to let it happen again.

    If you’d like to follow-up with me, please reach out to roman@camayak.com.

  10. We Messed Up

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    This evening, we messed up. Over the last four hours you may have been affected by several periods of Camayak downtime that have prevented you from logging in and doing all the things you rely on us to help you do. Camayak has been back up for the last hour but we have more questions to answer, which we’re going to do in a separate blog post, shortly.

    Update: you can read our follow-up post here.