7 Mins Read  September 16, 2019  Neel Vartikar

Chaos Engineering : Why the World Needs More Resilient System


In the present world, chaos engineering refers to the distributive form of experimentation across multiple systems to build a specific hierarchy in the system’s efficiencies to be able to withstand any failure. If you have a basic idea about such a system, then it is easy to understand that uncertainties are more likely to happen here. The methods presented over multiple interfaces contains lots of interacting instances where it is possible for a lot of things to malfunction directly.

For example, the network can go down, and the hard disk might fail, overloading of any functional component may occur, etc. In the worst-case scenario, you can also count these events to accelerate the outages, decrease performance, and lead to other undesirable activities. Usually, it is not possible to prevent all such uncertainties, but identification of the weakness in the system before they occur can be made. Doing it makes the issue easy to fix and prevents all such events for the future. The system can be developed as more stable and resilient. 

Chaos engineering is a process of qualitative experimentation on any hierarchy and infrastructure which can present its weakness or highlight it. It is an empirical method for the verification and detection of potential leads today for more accurate and resilient systems. It Develops more confidence in any other operational function. It is a disciplinary module which was brought into the light of DevOps solutions by the engineers of Netflix. It’s the only motive is to build confidence in the distributed systems present. A significant aspect includes the consistency in the availability factor and raising resilience.

A majority of platforms and organizations are migrating to the cloud architecture as the business has already shifted, following the needs and requirements of new technology and its incorporation into the platforms. These values of the system push the architectural hierarchy to a point where it becomes essential to provide scalability and redundancy in it. 

Why Precisely Chaos Engineering?

On a broad platform, chaos engineering refers to the approach which is made to learn about the actual working of your system’s behavior by implementing any simple discipline of empirical exploration. You can refer to the experiment conducted by scientists to understand the physical and social phenomena of any related being. It is based over the tests which are done to learn more about the specified systems.

Applying this helps to improve the resilience associated with any order. By designing and implementing the experiments, one can learn most of the dynamics of policy. The outcomes of learning from this experiment can let you know about the potential leads that in turn, can expose the weakness associated with the system. The weak points which are then present in the system can be learned and addressed actively to dominate the responsive models. 

How Exactly Is It Different From Testing Procedurals?

At present, the dynamics of chaos engineering and testing have to superimpose consideration, and they even have individual significance in tooling. For example, you can refer to the number of experiments conducted by Netflix that depend upon fault injection to amplify the effects for study.

The primary difference between both of them is that testing refers to the specially designed approach, which is only suitable for one condition, while chaos engineering refers to the multiple methods to generate something unique. If you want to detect or identify the complexity of any behavioral defection in the system, then injecting communication failures is always a better choice.

For this purpose, latency and errors are still on the right side. If you want to explore things like massive traffic, alterations associated in the race, misrepresentation, production of several datasets for various operators, and several other unplanned combinations of messages. 

For instance, if any consumer-facing website, instantly receives a collision in traffic which eventually generates more revenue, it is hard to justify it as a call of fault or defect. Instead, we explore the impact that it had over the system. In the same manner, testing fragments the system in other possible ways but it does not allow interference or exploration with the open field of such things.

In testing, the assertion is carried out between the given conditions and outputs received from the specifications. This method is generally binary and examines if a property is true or false. It does not reveal anything. Instead, it just allocates valency for any known ownership. It is worth it as the experiments often generate innovations in knowledge and even lead to new avenues for further exploration. 

Chaos engineering is a segment of experimentation which produces innovations in the system. It does not entail testing the known details (which can easily be tested with integration tests). You will be able to digest it easily from the below-mentioned examples which represent the inputs for such experiments. 

  • I am stimulating the system failure of the entire data center.
  • I am deleting the Kafka topics in a scattered manner over the variety of multiple instances, to recreate an issue which might have occurred earlier.
  • Injection of latency for any predefined period between multiple services for any selected or calculated amount of traffic.
  • Runtime injection.
  • Combining constructions for any targeted instance and allowing other fault injection techniques to occur before the instructions. It is also referred to as code insertion.
  • I am forcing the system clocks to sync with each other.
  • I am enabling input and output errors to implement the associated routine.

Principles and Other Dynamics of Chaos Engineering

At present, the world of software engineering is actively changed by the distributed software systems which are changing the dynamics every passing second. It is essential for them to adopt the latest practices that can increase the productivity and flexibility of the system.

The fundamental problem with a distributed system is that when all the individual segments are functioning correctly, the interaction among them can result in unpredictable outcomes. Predictable outcomes are associated with rare, yet disruptive real-world programs that tend to affect the production (which makes the distributed system inherently chaotic). 

Why Does the World Need More Resilient Systems

A resilient system is a valuable and readily available system which offers durability with it. It tends to maintain an acceptable dynamics of service in the situation of failure or error. You can say that it can withstand the storm (a form of control chaos engineering). Hence it is essential to identify the weaknesses in advance so that prevention can be done against their manifestation into aberrant behavior. The failings present in the system can take the form of incompetent settings when any specific service is not available, retry storms from the improper timeouts, outages when any downstream dependency receives an excess of traffic, cascading fail when any failure crashes at a certain point, and a lot of others. Hence, away is required to organize this chaos inherited in any system and take advantage of the raising flexibility of the system. 

Practices in Chaos Engineering

The behavior of a distributed system is learned by observing and analyzing all the consequences in a controlled experiment (which we call cross-engineering). To address the uncertainty of the associated distributed system at a specific parameter or scale, chaos engineering is assumed as the experimentative facilitation to reveal the weaknesses of the system. This process of experiment conduction follows four necessary steps-

  • Initially, the “steady-state” is defined, which is the measurable output of the corresponding system that indicates general behavior.
  • This steady-state is then hypothesized, which follows the continuation in the experimental and control group.
  • The variable gets reduced, which reflects the real-time and real-world events like a server crash, hard drive malfunction, network connection troubles, and many others.
  • That hypothesis then gets disproved by analyzing differences in study states between the control group and the experimental group. Later it is explained.

The harder the disruption in steady-state, the more is the confidence generated in the behavior of the system. In case the weakness remains undiscovered, then it gives a target to improve isolation before the aberrant behavior manifests in the specific order on a large scale.

Principles in Chaos Engineering

In the below-mentioned principles, you will clearly understand the idea of application of chaos engineering. There is a certain degree of its persuasion through which we can correlate the stability of a distributed system on a scale. Let’s start with the principles-

  • Building hypothesis

It involves the building of theory around the steady-state, where measurable amounts of outcomes are focused on any corresponding system. The measurement of such outputs for any time duration collects the proxy of its steady-state. There are few metrics which represent the steady-state behavior, like the system’s overall output, latency percentile, error rates, etc. During the experiments, systematic action is focused on, and chaos engineering verifies if the system does or doesn’t work (it not just focuses or tries for validation on its working).

  • Variation in real-world events

We have already learned that cure engineering reflects the real-world events and prioritizes them by their potential impact or through any other predicted frequency. There are a few real-world events which respond in case of system failures like software failures, server death, a spike in traffic, or any other uncertainty. For the prevention, it is better to consider that the event which is capable of disruption in the steady-state behavior of the system is an active variable in chaos engineering experiment.

  • Experiment formulations in production

Systems which receive different platforms behave differently. This behavior gets more distinct under the influence of the environment and other patterns. The act of the distributed systems is uncertain and can easily change at any moment. Hence, only the real traffic sample can provide the exact request path. To ensure the authenticity of the request path where the system gets reliability for current system deployment, chaos engineering considers the experiment to be performed directly on traffic.

  • Experiment automation

Here, the experiments are run continuously because manual takeover is labor-dependent and unsustainable. It becomes essential to automate operations, and in this race, chaos experiment develops the automation for the system. It not only provides the orchestration of the corresponding system but also helps in the analytical conclusion.

The Future of Chaos Engineering

As the details of chaos engineering follow, it is still not the emerging dimension of distributed systems. With the increase in complex behavior of the software system, the requirement to find more innovative solutions always remains a priority. Hence it can be assumed that the research communities and other practices will contribute a lot to its recognition as an experiment a discipline, and keep pushing it forward. The future of chaos engineering can be summarized in the below-mentioned areas as well-

  • In the field of case studies

In a majority of scalable organizations, it is observed that they are applying more or less the same concepts. We can expect them to evolve more with time. They can even formulate the application to demonstrate or represent this technique. It will depict that it is not just limited to Netflix.

  • Withstanding turbulent conditions

The testing procedures during the production are a hectic routine to follow. As it introduces a different approach in a real-world event, it considers that the experiment is demarcating between experimental groups and the others. In the future, it may have a more powerful impact.

  • With tooling

Chaos engineering has major roads in Netflix, where lots of tools are used to develop in-house work along with the infrastructure. Hence, it can be estimated that more set of tools will be built, which may also represent the reusable form across multiple platforms.

  • The event injection infrastructure

The scale of event injection into any systematic model is significant, especially when a combination of events are considered. It is more probable that multiple failures trigger the impact as compared to the single event.


In the present world of software integration, chaos engineering is the most incredible practicing tool which can change software designing and engineering on a large scale. This also follows the highest operations, whereas other practicing tools can only address flexibility and velocity of the system. Chaos engineering deals with the uncertainty of a distributed system in a comprehensive manner, and its principles provide a way to modulate them quickly. Under this approach, it is ensured that the customer or the user gets what he expected.

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