Designing for Failure Conditions

Today we hear from Chip Childers, product architect for SunGard’s Enterprise Cloud Services and partners with our product management and product engineering teams to drive the overall solution design of the service…CM

I’m a big fan of designing systems to deal with component failures. But let’s be honest, doing that perfectly is pretty darn hard.

In the research paper all possible sources of fault conditions have been classified into 16 different categories. In another paper, “Software Architecture Reliability Analysis using Failure Scenarios,” an 8-step failure analysis process is proposed for how to understand a system’s potential failure conditions. All this is about identifying and classifying fault conditions—neither provides any design or logic to resolve the issues

I’m going to go out on a limb, and declare that nobody is doing that type of full and formal analysis for their cloud applications. (OK, perhaps somebody, but certainly not many.)

So that’s the problem in a nutshell. How can you really say that you have fully designed for failure, given all of the possible failure conditions? And for the 90% of the cloud platform population that just want to get their apps built, how much time should they really be spending on solving this problem? And what if you have legacy applications that can’t be designed in a truly “failure proof” way?

This is where an enterprise class cloud infrastructure comes in. An enterprise cloud has the resiliency, redundancy, data restoration, disaster recovery and security capabilities needed to keep your system secure and operating, and the enterprise cloud provider backs those capabilities with a Service Level Agreement. Further, an enterprise cloud also offers 24/7/365 management and monitoring of your virtualized infrastructure.

Failure can not be completely avoided, but you are better off knowing that the underlying platform design was build with resiliency in mind and that you have someone watching your back when things do go wrong.

To what extent could an enterprise cloud transform your company?

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