Click here to close now.


Apache Authors: Liz McMillan, Craig Lowell, Jim Scott, AppDynamics Blog, Dana Gardner

Blog Feed Post

Move over Reliability, Resilience has arrived

[This article was originally written as a guest post for Puppet Labs and published at their blog on January 9th, 2014.]

If you haven’t yet noticed that prioritization of non-functional requirements (NFRs) is changing amongst your user base, you will soon. For decades, we have held to the same familiar set of NFRs. Every team had its own definition and particular spin on NFRs, but the usual suspects are accessibility, availability, extensibility, interoperability, maintainability, performance, reliability, scalability, security, and usability.

But new priorities have surfaced, as IT has experienced a sea change over the past few years. Some organizations have even adopted completely new NFRs. The rise of DevOps has coincided with these changes, and the movement’s principles enable IT teams to more readily adapt to rapidly changing requirements.

Your grandfather’s mainframe was very reliable

Historically, IT system designs were praised for reliability. Robust and stable systems could “take a licking and keep on ticking.” As computing became more pervasive, scalability became the watchword. Systems should be able to grow and expand to meet increasing demands.

Scalability as an NFR priority represents just a slight shift from reliability as an NFR. Both operated off the mindset that the original system design was valid. Reliability ensures that the system continues to provide the stated functionality over time, and scalability ensures that you can do so for an increasing demand set.

Roughly 10 years ago, things began to shift as more and more organizations embraced movements like agile or XP, and architectural models like Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). These initiatives promoted adaptation and response to change as desirable system qualities. Next, cloud computing introduced us to the notion of elasticity, further promoting the values of flexibility and responsiveness to change.

A resilient system is a happy system

The state of the art for system design is always evolving, and we see noticeable leaps forward every few years. The current phase of evolution is toward resilient systems.

Legacy system designs relied upon expensive infrastructure with multiple-redundant-hot-swappable-live-backup-standby-continuity-generators (or whatever vendors are peddling lately). In contrast, resilient system designs embrace failure and promote the use of cheap, commodity hardware, coupled with distributed data management, parallel processing, eventual consistency, and self-healing operational nodes.

Some portion of your system is likely to go down at some point, and resilient systems are designed with that expectation. Resilient systems and resilient processes are able to continue operation (albeit at diminished capacity) in the face of failure.

The prioritization of resilience over reliability as an NFR can be seen within the DevOps movement, the development of the Netflix Simian Army, and the rise of NoSQL data management solutions.

DevOps and resiliency

DevOps is a multi-headed beast, more a movement guided by a set of principles than a tangible and well-defined construct. While organizations are free to adopt aspects of DevOps that suit their needs, one common thread is that of resilience. Failure is seen as an opportunity to improve processes and communication, rather than as a threat.

The principles of continuous integration and continuous delivery that are core to most DevOps practices exemplify a resilient mindset. Where the classic waterfall model relies upon detailed front-end design and planning with an all-or-nothing development phase and late-stage testing, DevOps teams are more agile, embracing a “fail early, fail often” model. This approach results in more resilient and adaptable applications.

Netflix Simian Army

Netflix gained world renown when the company broadcast details of its Simian Army work in 2010 and 2011. Through the automated efforts of Chaos Monkey, Chaos Gorilla, and a slew of other similar utilities, failure is simulated in order to develop more resilient processes, tools, and capabilities.

John Ciancutti of Netflix writes, “If we aren’t constantly testing our ability to succeed despite failure, then it isn’t likely to work when it matters most — in the event of an unexpected outage.”


A third illustration of the growing fascination with resilient, self-healing systems is the transformation now going on in the data realm. Data and metadata management have evolved considerably from the relational databases of yore. Modern data management strategies tend to be distributed, fault-tolerant, and in some cases even self-heal by spawning new nodes as needed. Examples include Google FS / Bigtable, in-memory datastores like Hazelcast or SAP’s HANA, and distributed data management solutions like Apache Cassandra.

Miko Matsumura of Hazelcast notes, “Virtualization and scale-out power new ways of thinking about system stability, including a shift away from ‘reliability,’ where giant expensive systems never fail (until they do, catastrophically), and towards ‘resiliency,’ where thousands of inexpensive systems constantly fail—but in ways that don’t materially impact running applications.”

Keeping pace with the cool kids

It’s often said that the only constant is change. The DevOps movement positions organizations to embrace change, rather than fear it. Continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous feedback loops between dev teams and ops teams facilitate an enhanced degree of agility and responsiveness.

As business and society evolve, our system design priorities must adapt in parallel. The cool kids will change the game again at some point, but for right now, “change” means designing systems and supporting processes that are responsive and adaptable by prioritizing resilience over reliability.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Kyle Gabhart

Kyle Gabhart is a subject matter expert specializing in strategic planning and tactical delivery of enterprise technology solutions, blending EA, BPM, SOA, Cloud Computing, and other emerging technologies. Kyle currently serves as a director for Web Age Solutions, a premier provider of technology education and mentoring. Since 2001 he has contributed extensively to the IT community as an author, speaker, consultant, and open source contributor.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new data-driven world, marketplaces reign supreme while interoperability, APIs and applications deliver un...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud without worrying about any lock-in fears. In fact by having standard APIs for IaaS would help PaaS expl...
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
Organizations already struggle with the simple collection of data resulting from the proliferation of IoT, lacking the right infrastructure to manage it. They can't only rely on the cloud to collect and utilize this data because many applications still require dedicated infrastructure for security, redundancy, performance, etc. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Emil Sayegh, CEO of Codero Hosting, will discuss how in order to resolve the inherent issues, companies need to combine dedicated and cloud solutions through hybrid hosting – a sustainable solution for the data required to manage I...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley. The program, to be aired during the peak viewership season of the year, will have a major impac...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk will be on IBM Cloudant, Apa...
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, will look at different existing uses of peer-to-peer data sharing and how it can become useful in a live session to...
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target - this makes the integration of these separate pipelines and the coordination of software upd...
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, will discuss the impact of technology on identity. Should we federate, or not? How should identity be secured? Who owns the identity? How is identity ...