Bringing development and IT operations together can help address many application deployment challenges. To address areas of quality these challenges require a toolset to manage and measure performance and improve reliability. There is a need for not only resilient platforms but also robustness of the data intensive applications that run inside them.
A Fault Inject Tool (FIT) is part of that solution and one way to provoke scenarios which will emphasise the impact of sometimes otherwise hidden issues. The FIT enables controlled causing of cloud platform issues such as resource stress and service or VM outages, the purpose being to observe the subsequent effect on deployed applications.
The FIT is being designed for use in a DevOps workflow for tighter correlation between application design and cloud operation, although not limited to this usage, and helps improve resiliency for data intensive applications by bringing together fault tolerance, stress testing and benchmarking in a single tool. Here are 5 compelling reasons why a FIT tool is useful for the developers of data intensive applications.
The coverage of testing is greatly improved to an overall plan by introducing faults that can flag up where applications need to be improved to operate under certain conditions. Often testing is not conducted locally on premise or in a production type environment, which then misses completely certain faults. Bringing a versatile FIT to the operational environment where only certain issues may be detected is therefore essential.
The capability of underlying computational devices have a direct affect on the ability to maintain a certain level of effectiveness under differing conditions. By manipulating available resources, the opportunity is there to observe application behaviour and make decisions about improvements around scalability, load balancing and multi-tenancy.
Before bringing a product to market, the process of evaluating the quality or capability of the product should be undertaken. Injecting faults to a running system in conjunction with controlled probing and measuring allows for development decisions to be made based on optimal application performance. Using a FIT in conjunction with techniques to measure key parameters.
Propagating faults through to observable failures or measurable performance loss shows a controlled process towards development and future dependability. This can ensure consistent operational performance resulting in economic advantage. By using a FIT, the starting point for such a process can be initiated and in conjunction with other tools across the DevOps deployment workflow an efficient managed process can then indicate and document potential issues which can be subsequently avoided.
Poor usability due to products being released to market without being rigorously tested can have a serious effect on the market success of a product. With regard to the impact on customers, this can be damaging, as they will receive ‘failure notifications’ or performance degradation resulting in a loss of confidence and a ‘Lost value of customer relationships’ as well as the direct ‘Value of lost contract revenue’. A painful ‘Public relations/crisis communications’ exercise will sometimes also have to be undertaken. To regain confidence and to protect against future attacks, costly face saving effort then has to be undertaken.
There can be a disruptive impact on employees and their time who firstly have to deal with the ‘Operational disruption’ that may have taken place and subsequently conduct lengthy ‘Technical investigations’ to fully understand the root cause before recommending and implementing a series of improvements. This is distracting and causes and ‘opportunity cost’ as employees are diverted from their day-to-day tasks.
Further, company shareholders as a result of nonperforming services can be subject to legal fees and litigation, fines relating to regulatory compliance, Insurance premium increases, a devaluation of trade names, a Loss of intellectual property and can often witness an increased cost to raise future revenue.
Craig Sheridan, FLEXI