Heroku's uptime numbers are off


Heroku’s uptime for June under their rules is 99.28% but really it’s 96.25%.

Heroku Status in July

I like how Heroku added an info icon which links to a page explaining their modified uptime numbers. They added in the number of running applications affected in each outage. There are a few problems with this.

Firstly, idle applications do not count but unfortunately during many of these outages - idle applications can’t come online. I don’t believe I’ve heard of a service that said our site’s availability was 100% because you weren’t logged in right before the event happened. But for Bob who was logged in at the time, his uptime was 99.28%. Additionally I’ve not seen uptime reports take into consideration the number of accounts.

Secondly, how do they count the number of applications affected and how are they sure? During last month’s outage, I had several clients have their sites available but degraded and slow. Some sites were available one minute, gone the next and then back again. How do they count these?

At another company I recently worked with, we had several Heroku applications working in tandem in an SOA configuration. Such an event may have affected one application in some manner which would then affect the entire system. There’s no way to calculate that either.

So Heroku lists their uptime for June as 99.28% with all these new considerations in place which is still… pretty bad.

I’ll give Heroku a pass on Varnish being down for an hour since Cedar is the default but I won’t give them the API being offline for 4m as “Development” only because many DevOps operations require the use of the API. If you can’t scale up under load, then you have a production level problem.

The uptime for production only outages for June is 96.25%. Not 99.28%. This is based on number of minutes in the month and number of minutes production was down. Simple.

Recommendation to Heroku, if the numbers are hard to understand then get rid of them. AWS doesn’t have an uptime percentage on their status page. Trust us, we know June was a bad month for you.

Too bad Heroku doesn’t have a good view of what June looked like. Oh wait, I do.

Heroku status for June