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Unplanned down time

Online services, especially ones that provide the underlying infrastructure for running websites and applications, like Amazon Web Services, have two forms of down time - planned and unplanned.

Planned down time is when they know they need to shut down services for a scheduled amount of time to undertake upgrade and maintenance activities so that they can continue to operate at the high levels and at a larger scale in the future.

Unplanned down time is when their services go down due to a bug or some unforeseen circumstance. This requires an all hands on deck approach to fix the cause of the problem and to bring the services back up so as not to disrupt their customer experience.

All of us undergo planned and unplanned down times as well. While planned down time is the vacations we take to refresh and recover, unplanned down times are caused by illness and injury that incapacitate us for a few days before we are back to normal.

Unplanned down time invariably disrupts our plans and derails our deadlines and commitments. And there is nothing we can do about it.

Except to schedule enough planned down times in a timely manner so that we prevent the causes of unplanned down time from occurring.

The best way to avoid unplanned down times is to plan down times more effectively.

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