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Instapaper in 31-hour outage, says it needs a week to restore all data

Pinterest-owned web scrapbook 'hit system limit for hosted database', probably in AWS

Web scrapbook Instapaper has suffered a 30-plus hour outage and is warning of a week-long restore time.

Instapaper allows users to save "all of the interesting articles, videos, cooking recipes, song lyrics, or whatever else you come across while browsing” and then makes those clippings available on any device on which you choose to run the service.

But on February 8 the service “suffered from an outage that has extended through this morning [February 9th].”

In an email to users, the company says the outage lasted 31 hours of downtime, during which time its team “were able to rebuild a database instance to get Instapaper back online!”

But not all of it: Instapaper has now blogged that “this instance only has the last six weeks of articles. For now, anything you’ve saved since December 20, 2016 is accessible.”

The good news is that there has been no data loss. The bad is that the email to users says: “The full database exports are taking much longer than anticipated.” The company therefore aims to get the full archives "available by next Friday, February 17 at the latest.”

The bad news is that the company says the fault came about because “ appears we hit a system limit for our hosted database that’s preventing new articles from being saved.” Instapaper reached that conclusion after “multiple hours on the phone with our cloud service provider”.

The Register thinks that provider is probably Amazon Web Services, because Pinterest product engineer Brian Donohue took to Medium last year to detail how the website uses AWS for search and uses MySQL and Sphinx. Instapaper is owned by Pinterest.

Whoever provides Instapaper's cloud, the service doesn't look to have its finger on the pulse if it can approach and exceed a “system limit on our database.” Which is bad news for Instapaper and parent company Pinterest.

We'll keep you appraised of any further news in this saga. ®

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