Cause of eBay outage remains a mystery

The auction site has restored most functions yet is still using its old user interface, while engineers are still looking for the cause.

2 min read
More than a week after eBay's latest outages began, the company has not restored its new user interface and still has not identified the root cause.

eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said the company's No. 1 priority has been to get the computers back up to the performance levels they were at before the outages. In order to do that, he said that the company has removed a number of recently added features, including the new interface. Once the company is comfortable that the system is running reliably--with all recently removed items restored -- eBay will focus on finding the cause of the outages.

"We're getting closer and closer to working on that," Pursglove said.

The new interface was put in place on June 9, the same day the latest spate of outages began. Pursglove said engineers have already restored features such as "My eBay" and the search function was back up.

Although eBay engineers are "pretty confident" that the new interface did not cause the system outages, Pursglove said the interface is one of the few items that still needs to be restored. He attributed that to caution on the engineers' part.

"They're adding each piece on one by one," he said. "It's like road testing a car."

Pursglove said that the problem "manifested itself" with software from Sun Microsystems, but was careful to say that the company is not blaming Sun for the outages. He said the company is exploring several possible causes and plans to meet with Sun and Oracle to discuss the outages.

eBay's site went down for six hours on June 9, for nearly 22 hours over June 10 and 11, and intermittently during last weekend. The problems were the latest in a string of multi-hour outages over the last month.