The Kernel Panic

I was on a conference call with a few other technicians and a few managers today, explaining that, no, unfortunately, they did not quite understand what had happened the day before. The manager assumed that we had a large influx of traffic that caused the site to go down, but unfortunately, that was not the case. I explained to him that our primary database had suffered a kernel panic, and the failover database did not, in fact, fail over. The manager then asked me a question that I had not thought of before, and one that gave me pause. What is a kernel panic? If you have ever been on one of these types of calls, you know that they are always rather uncomfortable. The manager is upset because something went wrong, and on top of that it was something that they don’t fully understand. During such conversations I’ve found that it is normally best to keep explanations correct, but succinct. I explained that a kernel panic is what happens when the operating system encounters an error that it cannot recover from. That explanation seemed to be enough for him, but as I thought about it later, I found that

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