Earlier this week, the Internet had a conniption. In broad patches around the globe, YouTube sputtered. Shopify stores shut down. Snapchat blinked out. And millions of people couldn’t access their Gmail accounts. The disruptions all stemmed from Google Cloud, which suffered a prolonged outage—an outage which also prevented Google engineers from pushing a fix. And so, for an entire afternoon and into the night, the Internet was stuck in a crippling ouroboros: Google couldn’t fix its cloud, because Google’s cloud was broken.
The root cause of the outage, as Google explained this week, was fairly unremarkable. (And no, it wasn’t hackers.) At 2:45pm ET on Sunday, the company initiated what should have been a routine configuration change, a maintenance event intended for a few servers in