Be attuned to subscription expiration

This is part of the Semicolon&Sons Code Diary - consisting of lessons learned on the job. You're in the vendors category.

Last Updated: 2021-05-16

I have a few incidents of sudden expirations of SASS products in recent memory that caused issues for me.

Incident 1

We had a Rollbar exception notification system in place at Project S. There were no exceptions reported for three weeks, despite the codebase being quite fresh and rapidly changing.

When I eventually logged in to Rollbar, I saw our subscription had expired. This happened without them notifying us on Slack, the main info conduit we used for Rollbar notifications.

I believe they should have pushed this information to Slack for our benefit. But I guess I could have been more on top of this, in the sense that I should have anticipated the client would not read the Rollbar emails and I should instead have asked Rollbar to notify me about expiration instead.

Incident 2

The Project B website went completely down when they exceeded their email credits with SendGrid. It was a bit silly of them to couple the email sending with magazine uploads and applications for internships. But nevertheless, it's probably an easy mistake to make.

Lessons

Ensure you also get notified (rather than just the client) of software subscription expirations.

Generally the lesson here is to always anticipate random exceptions from third party vendors (e.g. with credits or downtime) - e.g. by doing this work in a background job or rescueing from errors so that the main work still goes through