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MongoDB fell over under load when it ran out of memory. The failure was catastrophic and not graceful due to a a query pattern that involved a read-load with low levels of locality (each user check-in caused a read of all check-ins for the user’s history, and records were 300 bytes with no spatial locality, meaning that most of the data pulled in from each page was unnecessary). A lack of monitoring on the MongoDB instances caused the high load to go undetected until the load became catastrophic, causing 17 hours of downtime spanning two incidents in two days.

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