1. Overview

1.1. What is Socorro?

Socorro is software that implements a crash ingestion pipeline.

The Socorro code is hosted in a GitHub repository at https://github.com/mozilla-services/socorro and released and distributed under the Mozilla Public License v2.

The crash ingestion pipeline that we have at Mozilla looks like this:

digraph G {

   subgraph coll {

      client [shape=box3d, label="firefox"];
      collector [shape=rect, label="collector"];

   subgraph stores {

      s3raw [shape=tab, label="S3 (Raw)", style=filled, fillcolor=gray];
      pubsub [shape=tab, label="PubSub", style=filled, fillcolor=gray];

   processor [shape=rect, label="processor"];

   subgraph stores2 {

      postgres [shape=tab, label="Postgres", style=filled, fillcolor=gray];
      elasticsearch [shape=tab, label="Elasticsearch", style=filled, fillcolor=gray];
      s3telemetry [shape=tab, label="S3 (Telemetry)", style=filled, fillcolor=gray];
      s3processed [shape=tab, label="S3 (Processed)", style=filled, fillcolor=gray];

   subgraph processing {

      crontabber [shape=rect, label="crontabber"];
      webapp [shape=rect, label="webapp"];
      telemetry [shape=rect, label="telemetry"];

   client -> collector [label="HTTP"];
   collector -> s3raw [label="save raw"];
   collector -> pubsub [label="publish"];

   pubsub -> processor [label="crash id"];
   s3raw -> processor [label="load raw"];
   postgres -> processor [label="betaversionrule"];
   processor -> { s3processed, elasticsearch, s3telemetry } [label="save processed"];

   postgres -> webapp;
   webapp -> postgres;
   s3raw -> webapp [label="load raw"];
   s3processed -> webapp [label="load processed"];
   elasticsearch -> webapp;

   postgres -> crontabber;
   crontabber -> postgres;
   elasticsearch -> crontabber;

   s3telemetry -> telemetry [label="telemetry ingestion"];

   { rank=min; client; }

Arrows direction represents the flow of interesting information like saving crash information, loading crash information, pulling crash ids from queues, and so on.

Important services in the diagram:

  • Collector: Collects incoming crash reports via HTTP POST. The collector we use is called Antenna. It saves crash data to AWS S3 and publishes crash ids to Pub/Sub for processing.

  • Processor: Processes crashes and extracts data from minidumps, generates crash signatures, performs other analysis, and saves everything as a processed crash.

  • Webapp (aka Crash Stats): Web user interface for analyzing crash data.

  • Crontabber: Runs periodic housekeeping tasks.

Let’s take a tour through the crash ingestion pipeline!

1.2. A tour through the crash ingestion pipeline

1.2.1. Crash report generated by Breakpad Client (breakpad)

When Firefox crashes, the breakpad client assembles information about the crash in a minidump format. The crash reporter dialog prompts the user for some more information and whether to send the crash report to Mozilla.

If the user presses “Send crash report”, then the breakpad client sends the crash report as a multipart/form-data payload via an HTTP POST to the collector.

1.2.2. Collected by the Collector (Python, Falcon)

The collector (codename Antenna) is the beginning of the crash ingestion pipeline.

The collector handles the incoming crash reports and does the following:

  1. assigns the crash report a unique crash id

  2. adds a submitted time stamp to the crash report

  3. figures out whether Socorro should process this crash report or not

If Socorro shouldn’t process this crash report, then the crash report is rejected and the collector is done.

If Socorro should process this crash report, then the collector will return the crash id to the crash reporter in the HTTP response. The crash reporter records the crash id on the user’s machine. The user can see crash reports in about:crashes.

The collector then saves the crash report data to Amazon S3 as a raw crash in a directory structure like this:

        00007bd0-2d1c-4865-af09-80bc02160513    raw crash metadata
    00007bd0-2d1c-4865-af09-80bc02160513        list of minidumps for this crash
    00007bd0-2d1c-4865-af09-80bc02160513        minidump file

A crash id looks like this:

                             |  yymmdd
                             throttle result instruction

The collector then publishes the crash id to Pub/Sub for processing.

1.2.3. Processed by Processor (Python, Configman)

The processor pulls crash ids from the Pub/Sub subscriptions. It fetches the raw crash report data and minidumps from Amazon S3.

It processes the crash report with a pipeline of rules that transform the raw crash into a processed crash.

One of the rules runs the minidump-stackwalk on the minidump to extract information about the process and stack. It symbolicates stack symbols. It determines some other things about the crash.

Another rule generates a crash signature from the stack of the crashing thread. We use crash signatures to group crashes that have similar symptoms so that we can more easily see trends and causes.

There are other rules, too.

After the crash gets through the processing pipeline, the processed crash is saved to several places:

  1. Amazon S3

  2. Elasticsearch

  3. Amazon S3 (different bucket) to be ingested into the Telemetry data set

1.2.4. Investigated with Webapp aka Crash Stats (Python, Django)

The webapp is located at https://crash-stats.mozilla.org.

The webapp lets you search through crash reports and facet on aspects of them with Super Search.

The webapp shows top crashers.

The webapp has a set of APIs for accessing data.

You can create an account in the webapp by logging in.

By default, information in a crash report that’s personally identifiable information is hidden. This includes the user’s email address and the url the user was visiting when Firefox crashed.

1.2.5. Housekeeping with cronrun (Python, Django)

We have a cronrun Django command that acts as a self-healing command runner that can run any Django command with specified arguments at scheduled times. We use it to run jobs that perform housekeeping functions in the crash ingestion pipeline like:

  1. updating product/version information

  2. updating regarding bugs associated with crash signatures

  3. updating “first time we saw this signature” type information

cronrun jobs that fail are re-run. Some cronrun jobs are set up to backfill, so if they fail, they will eventually run for all the times they needed to.

See also

Code (Jobs)


Documentation (Jobs)


Socorro scheduled tasks (cronrun) documentation

Service: Crontabber

1.2.6. Telemetry (External system)

Socorro exports a subset of crash data to Telemetry where it can be queried.