Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Charles Araujo

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Cloud Security, @DevOpsSummit

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Even Netflix Goes Down Once in a While By @Neotys | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

Thanks to their constant evaluation of cloud operations, the severity of the outage was not extensive

Even Chaos Generating Netflix Goes Down Once in a While

Where were you on February 3, 2015 at 3:40 p.m. PST? Snowed in? Desperately trying to refresh Netflix? If so, you weren't alone. It turns out even best and biggest companies experience failure from time to time. Despite the success of their Chaos Monkey approach to operations, the Internet streaming media provider experienced an outage for a little over an hour. Responses from users ranged from outrage to well, hysteria. You can read more about the media frenzy and see how the masses took to twitter to discuss here.

All was not lost however. Thanks to their constant evaluation of cloud operations, the severity of the outage was not extensive. Given the level of dedication Netflix has to constant self-improvement, you can be sure that in the future, they will be learning from this experience to stay on top of potential issues. That being said, we can still look at what Netflix has done right thus far, and how they maintain a service that so rarely has outages.

Method Behind the Madness: Netflix's Chaos Infrastructure
Netflix definitely subscribes to the saying: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Their strategy integrates quality assurance with the operational infrastructure. This combination provides for the ultimate chaos-proof product. In accordance with the best Testing in Production (TiP) procedures, this type of testing is conducted in a live environment, and familiarizes developers with uncommon situations on a regular, controlled basis. It also unites the QA team and operational team, which reduces miscommunication in the production process.

Netflix's Chaos Monkey randomly simulates the failure of various components within the application stack at random times. Engineers must be alert and ready to find a solution for future recovery scenarios. There's a method behind the madness. The genius is that by embracing failure, they actually reduce its potential to wreak havoc.

Netflix has found ways to function despite major hiccups. They keep operational processes at the forefront, reducing the amount of angry customers, as well as the potential for lost revenue. Some of their techniques include displaying popular picks instead of the entire personalized menu and making streaming the utmost priority. If Netflix can hold on to their ability to suggest and stream movies during a major outage, they've won.

Getting to the Root of the Problem
There's more logic beyond the chaos system than one might think. Netflix puts into practice the exact techniques for root cause analysis. To put this strategy to work, you must:

  • Define the issue at hand.
  • Discover why it happened.
  • Develop strategies to reduce the likelihood that the problem will happen again and assess potential risk factors.

Of course, of all of these steps it's the discovery process that is the most difficult. Here, Netflix instills the "5 Why's" principle, which means that they ask themselves five times why the problem occurred. Asking yourself "why" as many times as possible will encourage you to review the angle from all sides and get deep enough to see the roots of the problem. They ask themselves what circumstances were present which allowed or caused its occurrence? How can they change and manipulate those circumstances to prevent it from happening again?

In the problem solving phase, it is imperative to use data collection which provides information about the duration, direct impact and potential effects on other instances. By implementing this technique, Netflix spots weak points in their system and develops the automatic recovery system needed to strengthen them.

Gorilla Warfare and the Simian Army
Netflix's chaos-causing monkey is actually pretty serious business. The entire Simian army consists of several different monkeys who each have different tasks. As a unit the Simian army is responsible for causing a variety of failures within the cloud. The security of the cloud is tested by identifying any abnormal conditions and assessing Netflix's ability to function in spite of them.

Each service, or monkey, has its own specific role. Some of the most vital members of the troop include:

  • Chaos Monkey disables systems within groups. Despite its troublemaking ways, it only runs during business hours so that engineers are available to solve the problems as quickly as possible.
  • Conformity Monkey helps maintain status quo. He looks for instances within groups and disables them. The idea behind this practice is that the instances can be re-launched at a later date appropriately.
  • The Security Monkey is Conformity's right hand primate. His tasks are primarily two-fold: looking for vulnerabilities or security violations while checking SSL and DRM certifications for validity.
  • Janitor Monkey keeps the place looking neat. He trashes unused resources.
  • The Chaos Gorilla lives up to his name. This big guy simulates a full-scale outage of a complete Amazon availability zone.

The monkey team continues to grow to provide a complete cloud testing strategy. Best of all, the Simian Army is open-source and allows them to test the cloud's operation and security at any time.

Incorporate Simulated Users for Maximum Results
You may not be ready to deploy the entire Simian army, but there are lots of ways you can put in place your own early warning systems to keep cloud operations running as smoothly as possible. One great way of doing this is with products like NeoSense. NeoSense generates simulated users, which highlight weak spots in performance happening within business transactions in the production environment. The critical data these simulated users generate allows teams to spot problems before a catastrophic situation occurs. It also gives operations teams the ability to get working quicker, with more informed data so they can get systems back up and running.

Beyond Monkeying Around
Jokes aside, we can see that Netflix's strategies for cloud operational testing are right on target. They do more than allow developers to identify weak areas - they maximize testing for failure in real, everyday environments. By doing so, the emphasis is moved from dealing with paralyzing fear to building necessary solutions. This technique is applicable to a multitude of tech enterprises that need to provide the highest level of service for their demanding users.

More Stories By Tim Hinds

Tim Hinds is the Product Marketing Manager for NeoLoad at Neotys. He has a background in Agile software development, Scrum, Kanban, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and Continuous Testing practices.

Previously, Tim was Product Marketing Manager at AccuRev, a company acquired by Micro Focus, where he worked with software configuration management, issue tracking, Agile project management, continuous integration, workflow automation, and distributed version control systems.

@CloudExpo Stories
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. Commvault can ensure protection, access and E-Discovery of your data – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise. In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Part...
Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, is an accomplished digital business executive with extensive global expertise as a strategist, technologist, innovator, marketer, and communicator. For over 30 years across five continents, he has built success with Fortune 500 corporations, vendors, governments, and as a leading research analyst and consultant.
"Cloud computing is certainly changing how people consume storage, how they use it, and what they use it for. It's also making people rethink how they architect their environment," stated Brad Winett, Senior Technologist for DDN Storage, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Brad Winett, Senior Technologist for DDN Storage, will present several current, end-user environments that are using object storage at scale for cloud deployments including private cloud and cloud providers. Details on the top considerations of features and functions for selecting object storage will be included. Brad will also touch on recent developments in tiering technologies that deliver single solution and an end-user view of data across files and objects...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
It is ironic, but perhaps not unexpected, that many organizations who want the benefits of using an Agile approach to deliver software use a waterfall approach to adopting Agile practices: they form plans, they set milestones, and they measure progress by how many teams they have engaged. Old habits die hard, but like most waterfall software projects, most waterfall-style Agile adoption efforts fail to produce the results desired. The problem is that to get the results they want, they have to ch...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors!
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
"We view the cloud not as a specific technology but as a way of doing business and that way of doing business is transforming the way software, infrastructure and services are being delivered to business," explained Matthew Rosen, CEO and Director at Fusion, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), held June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...