Putting Antenna in production

High-level things

Antenna is a WSGI application that uses Gunicorn as the WSGI server.

We use nginx in front of that, but you might be able to use other web servers.


Make sure to use HTTPS–don’t send your users’ crash reports over HTTP.

Gunicorn configuration

For Gunicorn configuration, see Dockerfile. You’ll want to set the following:


The number of Antenna processes to spin off. We use 2x+1 where x is the number of processors on the machine we’re using.

This is the workers Gunicorn configuration setting.


This is the number of coroutines to spin off to handle incoming HTTP connections (crash reports). Gunicorn’s default is 1000. That’s what we use in production.

Note that the Antenna heartbeat insinuates itself into this coroutine pool, so you need 2 at a bare minimum.

This is the worker-connections Gunicorn configuration setting.


This has to be set to gevent. Antenna does some GeventWorker specific things and won’t work with anything else.

This is the worker-class Gunicorn configuration setting.

Health endpoints

Antenna exposes several URL endpoints to help you run it at scale.


Always returns an HTTP 200. This tells the load balancer that this Antenna instance is handling connections still.


This endpoint returns some more data. Depending on how you have Antenna configured, this might do a HEAD on the s3 bucket or other things. It returns its findings in the HTTP response body.


Returns information related to the git sha being run in the HTTP response body.

For example:

    "commit": "5cc6f5170973c7af2e4bb2097679a82ae5659466",
    "version": "",
    "source": "https://github.com/mozilla-services/antenna",
    "build": "https://circleci.com/gh/mozilla-services/antenna/331"


Intentionally throws an exception that is unhandled. This helps testing Sentry or other error monitoring.

This is a nuissance if abused, so it’s worth setting up your webserver to require basic auth or something for this endpoint.


Will this run in Heroku? Probably, but you’ll need to do some Heroku footwork to set it up.

Will this run on AWS? Yes–that’s what we do.

Will this run on [insert favorite environment]? I have no experience with other systems, but it’s probably the case you can get it to work. If you can’t save crashes to Amazon S3, you can always write your own storage class to save it somewhere else.

EC2 instance size and scaling

We’re setting up Antenna to run on Amazon EC2 x4.large nodes. Antenna isn’t very CPU intensive, but it is very network intensive (it’s essentially an upload server) and it queues things in memory.

Our cluster is set to autoscale on network in. When network in hits 600,000,000, then it adds another node to the cluster. Network in is being used as a proxy for number of incoming crashes.

For Socorro, our median incoming crash is 400k and our typical load is between 1,500 crashes/min.

Antenna on two x4.large nodes can handle 1,500 crashes/min without a problem and without scaling up.

What happens after Antenna collects a crash?

Antenna saves the crash to the crash storage system you specify. We save our crashes to AWS S3.

So, yay–we have raw crash data on AWS S3. What happens next?

Currently, we have s3:PutObject events for v2/raw_crash prefix trigger an AWS Lambda function socorro-pigeon. That takes the crash id andadds it to a RabbitMQ queue. We have a processor that watches that queue, pulls the crash data from AWS S3, processes it and then the crash continues through our crash ingestion pipeline.

You could do something along these lines. You could write your own crash storage class that does other things.


Antenna doesn’t start up

Antenna won’t start up if it’s configured wrong.

Things to check:

  1. If you’re using Sentry and it’s set up correctly, then Antenna will send startup errors to Sentry and you can see it there.
  2. Check the logs for startup errors. They’ll have the string “Unhandled startup exception”.
  3. Is the configuration correct?

AWS S3 bucket permission issues

At startup, Antenna will try to Head the AWS S3 bucket and if it fails, will refuse to start up. It does this so that it doesn’t start up, then get a crash and then fail to submit the crash due to permission issues. At that point, you’d have lost the crash.

If you’re seeing errors like:

[ERROR] antenna.app: Unhandled startup exception: ... botocore.exceptions.ClientError:
An error occurred (403) when calling the HeadBucket operation: Forbidden

it means that the credentials that Antenna is using don’t have the right permissions to the AWS S3 bucket.

Things to check:

  1. Check the bucket and region that Antenna is configured with. It’ll be in the logs when Antenna starts up.
  2. Check that Antenna has the right AWS credentials.
  3. Try using the credentials that Antenna is using to access the bucket.

Logs are getting lost / StatsD data is getting lost

Depending on how you’re collecting logs and StatsD data, it’s possible that you might lose this data if Antenna is under so much load that it’s saturating the network interface.

You might see evidence of this by seeing lines in the logs saying a crash was saved, but no line indicating it was received. Or vice versa.

You might see evidence of this in StatsD when incoming crashes and saved crashes off by a large number.

Things to check:

  1. What’s the network out amount for this node? Is it too low?
  2. What happens if you increase the capacity for the node? Or if the node is in a cluster, add more nodes to the cluster?

The save_queue_size > 0 and climbing

This means Antenna is having trouble keeping up with incoming crashes.

Things to check:

  1. Increase or decrease the number in the concurrent_crashmovers configuration variable.

    Too many will cause a single crash to take longer to save.

    Too few will reduce the efficiency regarding parallelizing around network I/O slowness.

    If you’ve already tuned this configuration variable, skip this step.

  2. Increase the number of nodes in the cluster to better share the load.

  3. Increase the node capacity so that it has more network out bandwidth.