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Setting Sail for Stability

It's been 5 days since we had to turn all tenant workloads down for 10h while we performed "open-heart" surgery on our storage nodes. The root cause of our storage issues, it turned out, was some poor defaults applied to new ceph metadata pools when the SSD-based /config volumes were first added. At that time, our size / load wasn't significant enough to bring the issue to light.

Since the fix was applied (extending the pg_num on the blockpool from 1 to 32), we've not seen another I/O issue, nor pods stuck waiting on restarting.

So.. now that the fire is out, and we're enjoying a period of nice, calm, stability, here's what's coming...

Focus on observability

I'm spending the next few days working on tidying up our internal observability - we're generating so many metrics (most of them unnecessary) that we're missing signal in the noise. It's early days yet, but our friend @brett (the developer of Annatar) has pointed me to Mimir as a replacement for Prometheus, on the basis that we might be able to expose beautiful per-tenant Grafana dashboards!

Bugs / Suggestions are now in GitHub

We were originally tracking bugs and suggestions in Discord forum channels, but it became too hard to manage / triage these over time, and the channels ended up as a sort of "dumping ground" for ideas/bugs.

With the assistance of some industrious elves, we've moved the bugs and suggestions to a GitHub project board. The idea is that the board will help promote visibility of current / upcoming changes, and allow the more popular requests (or more severe bugs!) to "bubble to the surface".

Here are links you can use to create new bugs / suggestions:


You can also get these links in Discord by typing !bug or !suggestion

Alpha channel is now.. beta

Until now, we've had two release channels - bleeding-edge-alpha, and daily-release-stable. Recent bugs have made it clear that we need a middle-ground, where significant changes can have a few days to surface their bugs (like the upcoming RDTClient upgrade).

Behind-the-scenes, I've moved my breaking-development changes into an unversioned, "alpha" chart, and promoted the existing alpha chart to beta. The idea is that beta gets upstream updates to containers immediately as they become available (like Plex or Radarr updates), whereas stable users continue to get these during the daily maintenance windows.

New apps and breaking changes will be tested in alpha first, before being merged (with much fanfare!) into dev, and ultimately rolling into stable.

If you're a power-user/guinea-pig, and you'd like to be on the beta channel to receive and pre-test updates, let me know!

Price-balancing is coming

I've been working on the previously-announced price-balancing planned for 1 April. The goal is to better align our app prices with our costs, such that we achieve profitability (or at the very least, break-even on cash expenses).

Existing subscriptions won't be repriced

Existing subscriptions will not be repriced1. The price you're currently paying for your apps, will remain the price, for as long as you're subscribed.

Because it's important to me that our pricing be transparent, I've deployed kubecost into the cluster - in a few days, we'll have accurate data on which to base per-app pricing, and I'll make another announcement.

Kubecost does all sorts of clever things, but the basic take-away for us is that it can give us a base rate per-app calculated on actual CPU / RAM usage, and apportion the cost of "spare capacity" across the apps (because it's impossible to run the cluster at 100% utilization!). For details on how costs are calculated, if you like to geek out on this stuff, see the OpenCost specification.

So, no firm details yet, just be advised that (a) change is coming, and (b) existing subscriptions will be unaffected.

Bug fix : WebDAV rolled back to rclone 1.65.2

Overnight the cluster auto-updated our rclone instances to 1.66.0, and broke WebDAV access for subscribed tenants. I've rolled this back to 1.65.2 (previously working version), and prevented further automatic upgrades until we can fix this!

Today's scoreboard

Metric Numberz Delta
Total subscribers 384 +30
๐Ÿ‘ฝ Zurg mounts: 138 +7
๐Ÿ’พ ElfStorage in TBs 77 +12
Tenant pods 41072 -261
๐Ÿฆธ Elf-vengers 4 -
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐ŸŽ“ Trainees 2 -
Bugz squished 1 -
New toyz - -


Thanks for geeking out with us, and please share these posts with related geeks!

  1. Because (1) I think it's a better experience for existing users, and (2) it turns out that adjusting rates on individual apps in combined subscriptions is a gigantic PITA in Wordpress/Woocommerce, and therefore not worth doing! 

  2. On the surface, this looks like a loss, but we actually dropped down to around 3500 pods a week ago when I cleared out 10% wastage from pods which hadn't properly been cleaned up!