PagerDuty Blog

Breakathon Returns—Fixes Needed!

It’s stressful when something breaks while you’re on call. Your phone rings and your heart starts pounding. You have to quickly assess what’s wrong and who needs to be looped in. The experience is even more amplified when it happens in the middle of the night when we’re bleary-eyed or out living life.

But regardless of your state of mind, when something breaks, it’s time to get to work—and fast.
While being on call and fixing major breaks as quickly as possible can make one feel like a superhero, it’s also definitely stressful and rarely fun.

Enter Breakathon. PagerDuty is hosting another Breakathon, a game of fixing a series of breaks. It’s a fun way to test your Ops chops, build some camaraderie with your team, and win some outstanding prizes while enjoying food and drinks. This year, Breakathon is being held the evening before PagerDuty Summit, our annual conference, officially kicks off.

Breakathon Details

We will create a series of failure scenarios (“breaks”), which start simply and progress to ever more complex failures. Participants will work in teams of two to four people to resolve the breaks one by one—creative thinking is encouraged. Success will be evaluated by both an automated process and a team of judges, and the members of first team to resolve all incidents will take home iPads or Nintendo Switches! Additionally, we have stellar door prizes for all attendees and special gifts for those who unlock specific achievements along the way. It’ll be fast, fun, and over in less than four hours!

Why only 4 hours and not 24 hours like a typical -thon, you ask? Great question! PagerDuty values and promotes healthy and balanced on-call schedules. Twenty-four hour shifts are neither healthy nor sustainable. We want to empower healthy lifestyles, good sleep hygiene, and humane work schedules. Come for the fun, eat and drink a little, and be home at a decent time for life’s other interests and obligations.

Doors open at 4:00 p.m. and our crew will be on hand to make sure you are set up and ready to dive in when the Breakathon kicks off at 5 p.m. The fun should wrap up by 8 p.m. Be sure to bring your laptop or whatever device you prefer to use to SSH into things.


Breakathon is being held at the Westin St. Francis (335 Powell Street, San Francisco, California) in Alexandra’s. Take the elevator from the hotel lobby to the 32nd floor to find the Breakathon crew.


4:00 p.m – Doors open
4:45 p.m. – Introduction and overview
5:00 p.m. – Break and fix things!
7:30 p.m. – Pencils down, laptops closed, and final results are tallied and announced
8:00 p.m. – Breakathon concludes

Breakathon Rules

To win first prize: The winning team has to solve all the challenges first or solve the most challenges of all teams. If there is a tie, the team that completed their challenges in the least amount of time will win.

Teams: Each team must have at least two and no more than four members. Coming alone? Don’t worry, we’ll help you find a team to join!

Register now: Space is limited, so reserve your spot today. Our stunning venue—on the 24th floor of the Westin St. Francis hotel—is limited to 150 people. The event is totally free, but registration is required. Pop on over to Eventbrite to secure your spot. Already registered? Invite a friend; absolutely everyone is welcome.

What to Bring

Please bring a laptop capable of SSH’ing and loading a webpage, along with a laptop power adapter. You will also need to use your Github account—if you don’t have one it’s easy and free to set one up.

Who Should Enter

If you are currently in an SRE or ops role, this event was made for you. If you want to become more operationally savvy, join and learn along. Everyone is welcome!

DevOps Fun Doesn’t Stop

Breakathon is being held in conjunction with PagerDuty Summit 2018, which takes place September 10–12 at the Westin St. Francis. This annual two-day conference is one of the biggest DevOps industry events of the year and brings together over 1,500 engineers, developers, and IT business leaders to share DevOps best practices, thought leadership, learnings from the field, and much more. Summit 2018 will empower attendees to respond faster to digital signals beyond just DevOps and IT.

Register today—we look forward to seeing you there!