Hacking Live Systems

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After my evening jog, I hopped onto the QA environment around 11pm because I wanted to look something up for another blog post I was writing. Instead of being greeted with the welcome screen of the app, I get redirected to our homepage. All kinds of warning flags were going off in my head, but I couldn't collect my thoughts because of the runner high. Did I break something before I left work? Did I forget to deploy the latest code base to QA? Were we going to lose a night of quality QA from the team in India?

My fears were confirmed when I signed on to chat. Kyle was online. Kyle is never online this late. I shoot him a quick message, "can you reach devtrunk?". Just as I hit return, I get a message from Minh, "did you change the deploy stuff?". QA in India had nothing to test on. Things were looking grim.

Deep breath, and go!

Do a fresh deploy. Interesting, the deployment went through without a hiccup.

SSH into the QA box, look at the Apache logs. Interesting, Apache's down. Let's bring her back up.

Hit the page. Interesting, still getting redirected. Must be a bad config.

Scan through httpd.conf, scan through the included vhosts. Interesting, they all look ok...

WAIT! There's no vhost defined for devtrunk, the QA environment. But I saw it earlier today... Let's find an old working config and put that guy in for now.

Reloading Apache...

devtrunk lives!

I have never been happier to see Domo-kun.

It's funny when these situations come up. Programmers go into this 'turbo' mode. They start typing really fast, fixing and breaking things left and right. This surge of energy can't be sustained for a long period of time, so it's really important that they both diagnose and fix the problem before they burn out. I left out all the details in my description for the solution, but they involved a lot of window switching, poorly typed out IM messages, and a lot of keystrokes.

Man, what a rush. I'm not sure what gave me more of a workout, a 45 minute hour run, or typing frantically while figeting my leg.

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