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Originally published in Queue vol. 10, no. 9
see this item in the ACM Digital Library



- Microsoft's Protocol Documentation Program
A Discussion with Nico Kicillof, Wolfgang Grieskamp and Bob Binder


(newest first)

Erik Aronesty | Mon, 01 Aug 2016 19:57:22 UTC

Taken a bit out of context of integration testing, this has proven to be an amazing technique for NLP.

Tom Limoncelli | Fri, 14 Feb 2014 00:59:19 UTC

Mark Neumann: None of the panel received permission to elaborate on unexpected impacts.

Mark Burgess | Sun, 30 Sep 2012 11:21:28 UTC

Sincere apologies for not realizing that Kripa is female in my comment above. The last of the group I might know personally, on some pleasant occasion.

Mark Neumann | Tue, 25 Sep 2012 16:36:48 UTC

This is a great article and I suspect this will become a more prevalent best practice.

Several times the panel suggests that customers are not impacted by these tests, but it's not clear that is possible. How often does a GameDay exercise result in an outage? ( Krishnan mentions losing their paging capability, but probably not directly customer impacting ). Robbins mentions powering off a facility, but also says it's important to "make clear the 'disaster' ... is merely simulated...".

Any chance of getting more elaboration on that?


David Caudill | Mon, 17 Sep 2012 16:20:29 UTC

Great article! One of the big human factors being glazed over here is psychosocial. When your engineering team is not accustomed to dealing with disaster, they are much more likely to reacted poorly, react too quickly, feel unrealistic levels of pressure, anxiety, and in general, handle the situation poorly. Going through a pseudo-disaster gives the team a chance to practice reacting calmly and confidently, and model the behavior for themselves. Allspaw's idea of blame-free problem review reinforces that. Good decisions don't come from anxious engineers. I'd guess that we all remember fire drills in school, and being told not to run. Same principle.

Mark Burgess | Mon, 17 Sep 2012 05:27:23 UTC

Nice discussion by these exquisite gentlemen! One thing that's in between the lines here is the notion of maintaining an equilibrium in the face of failure. Not all failures are catastrophic, indeed many catastrophic failures can be avoided by regular maintenance of small issues. Current industry lore is to wait for large failure and react, but a greater focus on the proactive measures might breed a better culture of resilience.

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