Post-Mortem: Repository deletion broken on May 6, 2021

There was a severe service degradation of our reference server. We want to give you some insight into what happened.

On May 6 we deployed a database migration that lead to corrupted indexes, which also lead to this service degradation for 1 hour and 47 minutes.


The corruption made it impossible to delete repositories from the database. As deleting repositories is also done in various other OBS workflows we have seen problems with:

  • Deleting a project
  • Deleting a repository
  • Changing request status (merging)
  • Updating a project via XML (API and meta tab)

All of those ended in an error. Merging requests did not clean up the package/project used as source for it.

Root Causes

MariaDB database corruption when doing foreign key modifications with FOREIGN_KEY_CHECKS=0.


Deployment of a database migration.


Changing the database migration to not use FOREIGN_KEY_CHECKS=0 when changing indexes that have a foreign key constraint. Rather delete/re-create it. PR#11112


We got errors about the database problems on our errors tracker.

Action Items

No immediate action items.

Lessons Learned

What Went Well

Collaboration among the team to resolve this.

What Went Wrong

  • We did not extensively test the migration up front.
  • As the error was happening in various workflows we were not immediately aware of this being a general problem. No alert went off.
  • We spent too much time getting the service into working state again. Maybe we should have tried a rollback, but that would also have not helped in this case. Still, 1 hour 47 minutes is a long time.

Where We Got Lucky

We worked around the root cause by accident. Just by trying to recreate indexes even though the database said the index was fine.

Timeline (times in UTC)

  • 10:04 We triggered a deployment which included the database migration
  • 10:42 We noticed an increased amount of database exceptions in our error tracker and started to investigate
  • 11:00 We decided against a rollback as this schema migration included also a data migration and the exceptions did not occur too frequently. The database also kept telling us everything is fine.
  • 11:31 We involved a mariadb expert
  • 11:47 We tried recreating the index in the database manually
  • 11:47 Miraculously the service returned to a normal state
  • 11:48 We continued to investigate the root cause
  • 13:30 We noticed an error about missing/corrupt files when looking at the DB engine status (SHOW ENGINE INNODB STATUS;)
  • 14:44 We were able to reproduce the issue in isolation
  • 16:03 We worked around the root cause in the migration