BBC failure


  • “Not my circus, not my monkeys” – Polish saying

That Polish saying is one of my favourite sayings these days. It vividly captures to spirit of letting go of things that are simply not your problem or concern. But sometimes you need to embrace those monkeys. In the world of software development (my day job), one “monkey” actually literally seeks out failure for you. As Jamie Allen, director of Global Services, Typesafe explains, in the BBC Academy piece “The Need for Resilience

  • A further approach is to use tools, such as Netflix’s open-source library, Chaos Monkey, to actually target and destroy one’s own software instance within an availability zone on purpose. This encourages teams to build in the necessary resilience from very early on. By using auto-scaling groups (ASGs), a software instance can automatically appear in a different availability zone when one is taken down, thereby maintaining a service…These are tools that go out and break things."

BBC goes onto elaborate on its own ethos of embracing failure in its technical approach…

  • “You should decouple as many of the parts of your infrastructure as possible so they are not dependent on each other. The advent of microservice architecture has popularised this approach by dividing out separate components in a system so that they can be isolated from one another. We embrace failure by creating the very failures we’re concerned about. And that encourages good architecture and good design.”

And Russ Miles of Simplicity Itself articulates the essence of Antifragility in achieving this resilience…

“These are systems that want stresses. They get better with stress”