Post-Mortem: Conflict with ruby standard gems on May 10, 2022

There was a severe service degradation of our reference server. On 2022-05-10 a deployment of OBS failed and led to a downtime. We want to give you some insight into what happened.

Impact was offline for 20 minutes. No one was able to work with the API or user interface. Services depending on OBS (like where taken down by this too.

Root Causes

After the update of the strscan ruby gem in our bundle, we had two strscan versions on our production installation. One provided by Ruby 3.1 stdlib (3.0.1) and one by our gem bundle (3.0.2). bundler itself requires strscan to function and loads from stdlib by default. During booting bundler noticed the mismatch and wasn’t able to spawn new instances of the application anymore.

Could not spawn process for application /srv/www/obs/api: The application encountered the
following error: You have already activated strscan 3.0.1, but your Gemfile requires strscan 3.0.2.
Since strscan is a default gem, you can either remove your dependency on it or try updating to a
newer version of bundler that supports strscan as a default gem. (Gem::LoadError)


Merging and deploying the strscan gem update.


The deployment showed failures and we received alerts from our monitoring.


Setting back the version of strscan by monkey patching the version number defined in the Gemfile.lock and restarting the server resolved the incident.

Action Items

  • Reverting the version update and deploying again. ✔️
  • Pin the version of strscan until it’s solved/released upstream in the bundler dependency psych. ✔️
  • Try if we can make our production and CI bundle setup more similar.

Lessons Learned

What Went Well

Collaboration among the team to resolve this.

What Went Wrong

Our continuous integration cycle did not catch this as we are bundling differently on production. On CI we bundle to vendor/bundle on production we bundle to /usr/lib64/obs-api/. Apparently those paths lead to a different load order.

Where We Got Lucky

No permanent damage or data loss.

Timeline (times in UTC)

  • 14:24 Started the deployment which wasn’t successful.
  • 14:26 We started to receive alerts.
  • 14:28 We declared an incident and started to follow our Incident Management Protocol.
  • 14:31 Tried to turn it (apache) on and off again.
  • 14:32 Detected the conflict of the gem versions in the log files.
  • 14:41 Monkey patched the version of strscan from 3.0.2 back to 3.0.1 in the Gemfile.lock.
  • 14:41 Restarted the server.
  • 14:42 Alerts resolved itself.