Between 8:20 a.m. and 9 a.m., Twitter completely crashed, leaving many users devastated and distraught. We desperately cast about for answers in the bittersweet shelter of other social networks, begging our Facebook friends and our Tumblr followers for an answer to the long-lasting outage. An error page brought no relief: “Whole server runtime (in this case Ruby engine) is down and web server send raw code to client browsers,” a helpful commenter attempted to clarify, but we still had no idea what % = reason actually meant. It was a rough 40 minutes.
The service came back up a few hours ago, but Twitter hadn’t explained itself until now. So what happened? Was it a hacker attack? Olympic overload?
In the run up to its recent IPO, a number of outlets reported that the daily deal giant Groupon was running short on cash. Over at the Motley Fool, Evan Niu noted that the company had $243.9 million in cash and equivalents at the end of September, compared with $465.6 million in accrued merchant payables, that is, the money they owed people who ran Groupon deals.
The company ended up raising $700 million, but according to a source familiar with its business, there still isn’t enough cash on hand to make critical structural improvements the company needs to grow. Groupon is shelling out millions every month on hosting costs, and paying a premium to third parties. The company is very eager to construct it own data center, but simply can’t afford it.