Gotdotnet Emergency Update (The End is Near!)

Since Gotdotnet's troubled mega-deployment* on November 3, I've been trying to lie low and weather the storm of emails, blog posts and comments, phone calls, and forum threads about recurrent caching issues. Perhaps you have experienced them yourself? If so, you have my sincerest apologies and pledge that we are doing everything in our power to resolve these issues expeditiously and well.

Why is Gotdotnet Down?
Because we want to be able to drink and be merry at Gotdotnet's 5th Birthday Party on Friday. We took Gotdotnet down this morning to deploy a fix (we *hope*) for a disappointing issue that was introduced with our recent upgrade to .NET 2.0. I haven't had time to really dig into the technical aspects of this issue but essentially, session is not being maintained across our frontline server cluster. Apparently, Gotdotnet's caching logic worked in .NET 1.1 but doesn't work in 2.0. What I do know for sure is that this problem manifests itself in many pernicious and visible forms including sporadic "Operational Troubleshooting in Progress" messages and failure to maintain state on refreshes of the our main page, particularly in the list of recent Resource Center and User Sample uploads.

How long will Gotdotnet be down?
I expect it to be back up in the next couple of hours but I can't make any promises.

Why was there no forewarning of this site outage?
We wanted to deploy a fix the second we had one tested. That opportunity arrived this morning.

How many more times is this going to happen on Gotdotnet? It's getting old.
Hopefully, never again. The Gotdotnet team is working overtime to build out a robust test environment with a high level of fidelity between our test and production environments. We are hammering out a rigorous test process and have hired some of the best folks around to lend us a hand. This was a huge, one-time deployment and to quote Donald Rumsfeld, there were numerous known unknowns and unknown unknowns.

When is the next scheduled deployment?
December 6. I don't know if we will have to take the site down for this scheduled deployment.

What's it like to be the product manager of a Web site that everybody loves to dis?
A customer recently asked me this question...
I LOVE MY JOB! I love to confound expectations. Gotdotnet is a underdog, a mongrel with potential, a mutt with heart, and a base of loyal and vocal fans that is second to none. In my opinion, there is no glory greater than guiding an underdog to victory. When Gotdotnet stumbles, I agonize over it. I feel your pain. When Gotdotnet meets or exceeds your expectations, as it will, I will be supremely happy. I will exult!

*Gotdotnet's Mega-Deployment
Last week, we deployed:

  • A complete site redesign including logo, chrome, and front page layout.
  • Extensive IA improvements.
  • Upgrade from .NET 1.1 to .NET 2.0
  • CodeGallery "Featured Groups" and numerous fixes and features for CodeGallery, which launched on August 22.
  • A new, sitewide search based on MSN Search.
  • Brand new frontline Web servers (pre-deployed but essentially, part of the same deployment package.)
  • Brand new, 64 bit SQL Server boxes (Yukon) on the backend  (pre-deployed but essentially, part of the same deployment package.)

When our caching issue is resolved, I encourage you to come on down, check it out, and tell me how we can make it even better. The Great Gotdotnet Revival is in full swing.

Comments (6)
  1. Orand says:

    "The Gotdotnet team is working overtime"… There’s your quality problem right there!

  2. Bryant Likes says:

    Could you post a better message on the site itself? Or at least turn on parts of the site? I just want to download EntLib 2.0 and have been trying since yesterday.

  3. MSDNArchive says:

    Thanks for the feedback guys!

    I have created a work item to create better messages than the existing ones.

    We are ramping up another newhire today on the gotdotnet team to help us out with our overtime problem ;-). As anyone who has ever started or worked at a startup knows, managing growth is the biggest challenge you can face. Gotdotnet is essentially that: a startup and we’re determined to grow our team in addition to our feature set and user base.

    Thanks again for the feedback and I encourage you to keep it coming.

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