All posts by “Elbert

7 Things You Need To Stop Doing To Be More Productive, Backed By Science

A great article by CamMi Pham that really resonates.

“There’s a notable distinction between being busy and being productive. Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being productive. Being productive is less about time management and more on managing your energy. It is the business of life. We need to learn how to spend the least amount of energy to get the most benefits.”

Read the full article here.  It’s worth it.

Back to normal after data center power outage

The data center that houses Nirvana’s front-end web servers suffered a prolonged power outage last night. It took a lot longer than anyone expected (or wanted) before the thousands of VMs at their facility, including ours, were able to be brought back online. The high-level sequence of events is available here.

We’re back online now and everything is running normally.
Please accept our sincere apologies if you were unable to login this morning.

We don’t usually talk much about our infrastructure (as we figure it’s not that interesting to most GTD’ers), but given recent events I suppose this might be one of those times when people might like to know more.

Over the past few months we’ve been incrementally migrating our infrastructure to a geographically distributed and fault tolerant cloud architecture, hosted at Amazon AWS.  They are truly amazing, and we are in good company.

Our databases are already running as multi-AZ replicated RDS instances, so they were unaffected by the power outage.

In a frustrating twist of fate, we had planned on moving the remainder of our web servers to AWS yesterday, but decided to push the migration back a week (as we’ve been working a lot of Saturday nights lately and we kinda wanted a break), and Linode, where we’ve been happily hosted for years, winds up having a major outage — the exact type of event we have been working hard to mitigate by moving to our new architecture.  Arrrrgh.

Having our servers auto-scaling and load-balanced across multiple data centers will significantly reduce the chances of outages in the future.  In light of last night’s events, it can’t come soon enough.  Thanks for sticking with us, and sorry again for the unexpected downtime.

OpenSSL “Heartbleed” and Nirvana – We’re Good

You may have read in the news this week that a major bug, nick-named heartbleed, was reported in OpenSSL, the cryptographic library used by websites to encrypt and protect information transmitted over the internet.

Nirvana servers are not affected by this vulnerability. We run an earlier version of OpenSSL that is not vulnerable to the heartbleed bug. (version 1.0.0a to be precise)

That said, if you use the same email/password combination to login to Nirvana that you use on other affected sites, it might be wise to change your Nirvana password, as those sites may have been exploited to expose your passwords in transit.  This will reset/rotate your authentication tokens throughout our systems, and you should be good to go.