Introducing Stormcrow

A SaaS company like Dropbox needs to update our systems constantly, at all levels of the stack. When it comes time to tune some piece of infrastructure, roll out a new feature, or set up an A/B test, it’s important that we can make changes and have them hit production fast.

Making a change to our code and then “simply” pushing it is not an option: completing a push to our web servers can take hours, and shipping a new mobile or desktop platform release takes even longer. In any case, a full code deployment can be dangerous because it could introduce new bugs: what we really want is a way to put some configurable “knobs” into our products,

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Meet Securitybot: Open Sourcing Automated Security at Scale

Security incidents happen. And when they do, they need to be dealt with—quickly. That’s where detection comes into play. The faster incidents are detected, the faster they can be handed off to the security team and resolved. To make detection as fast as possible, teams are usually aided by monitoring infrastructure that fires off an alert any time something even slightly questionable occurs. These alerts can lead to a deluge of information, making it difficult for engineers to sift through. Even worse, a large number of these alerts are false positives, caused by engineers arbitrarily running sudo -i or nmap.

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Annotations on Document Previews


Location-specific feedback has always been fundamental to collaboration. At Dropbox, we’ve recognized this need and implemented annotations on document previews. Our goal was to allow users to provide focused and clear feedback by drawing rectangles and highlighting text on their documents. We ran into a few main challenges along the way: How do we ensure annotations can be drawn and rendered accurately on any kind of document, with any viewport size, and using any platform? How can we maintain isolation of user documents for security? How can we keep performance smooth and snappy?

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Infrastructure Update: Pushing the edges of our global performance

Dropbox has hundreds of millions of registered users, and we’re always hard at work to ensure our customers have a speedy, reliable experience, wherever they are. Today, I am excited to announce an expansion to our global infrastructure that will deliver faster transfer speeds and improved performance for our customers around the world.

To give all of our users fast, reliable network performance, we’ve launched new Points of Presence (PoPs) across Europe, Asia, and parts of the US. We’ve coupled these PoPs with an open-peering policy, and as a result have seen consistent speed improvements.

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Improving the Responsiveness of the Document Detector

In our previous blog posts (Part 1, Part 2), we presented an overview of various parts of Dropbox’s document scanner, which helps users digitize their physical documents by automatically detecting them from photos and enhancing them. In this post, we will delve into the problem of maintaining a real-time frame rate in the document scanner even in the presence of camera movement, and share some lessons learned.

Document scanning as augmented reality

Dropbox’s document scanner shows an overlay of the detected document over the incoming image stream from the camera.

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NetFlash: Tracking Dropbox network traffic in real-time with Elasticsearch

Large-scale networks are complex, dynamic systems with many parts, managed by many different teams. Each team has tools they use to monitor their part of the system, but they measure very different things. Before we built our own infrastructure, Magic Pocket, we didn’t have a global view of our production network, and we didn’t have a way to look at the interactions between different parts in real time. Most of the logs from our production network have semi-structured or unstructured data formats, which makes it very difficult to track a large amount of log data in real-time.

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