When Discord's Down, All Hell Breaks Loose

Press F, y’all. (Screenshot: Gizmodo)

Google’s suite of cloud computing services were hit with some technical difficulties most of the day Saturday that caused connectivity problems on at least one of the services dependent on it: Discord, a chat and voice platform geared towards gamers (don’t worry, it’s back up now).

Now, if you don’t use Discord, you likely didn’t notice anything was up.

But for those of us that do, let me tell you: It has been absolute chaos.

In a matter of hours, the hashtag “discorddown” started trending on Twitter as users worldwide posted about their struggles with latency and messaging failures. It may seem like much ado about nothing (and I’m sure plenty of reactions were played up for the fun of it) but Discord’s whole spiel is about building communities through dedicated servers, even if some of them fly screaming off the rails occasionally. When it goes down, so does an instant connection to slews of people users may interact with regularly; it feels more like losing your entire phone than missing a social media feed.

And just in terms of numbers, there as many Discord users as Fortnite players and they send roughly 100 million messages a day according to company estimates, and that is a lot of pissed off folks. A few seemed ready to take drastic measures, floating the idea of returning to ye old gamer chatrooms of ages past like the Nintendo DS’s Pictochat or the Wii U’s Miiverse, with other, more general services like Skype and AIM (RIP) also receiving shoutouts.

Discord began investigating the issue around 10am ET Saturday (Sunday, 2am AEDT) after the company’s engineers noticed “anomalously high iowait” across its databases, according to Discord’s online status report. A later update from Google pinpointed the problem as “an issue with SSD Persistent Disk and SSD Regional Persistent Disks,” a.k.a. where Discord and other services using GCP store data from their servers.

In a statement to Gizmodo, Discord described the hiccup as an “issue with Google Computer Platform that’s affecting our service” and that their team was “actively working with Google to resolve this issue.” The company also tweeted its apologies for the outage, which, of course, prompted several frustrated comments and many, many more memes.

When reached, Google offered no further comment than the details posted on its online status board, which marked the problem as resolved at approximately 5pm ET (Sunday, 9am AEDT).

A statement on Discord’s status board around the same time described the situation as “stable,” though the company said it’s still finalising recovery efforts with its search APIs.

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