How AWS’s chaos engineering tool can be leveraged to build resilient and high-performance applications

The concept of chaos engineering, which is gaining prominence in the tech world, was discussed in detail by Kousik Rajendran, Solutions Architect at AISPL in his masterclass at TechSparks 2021.
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Experts and technocrats have often reiterated that providing users with seamless solutions and applications is the need of the hour. 

While technology has made our lives easier, increased productivity, scalability, etc, it is also prone to failures, hacking, and other forms of disruptions. In such a scenario, how do you make your applications resilient and improve their performance?

The answer lies in chaos engineering, which is gaining prominence in the tech world.

In a masterclass titled ‘Chaos engineering for startups’ at TechSparks 2021, Kousik Rajendran, Solutions Architect at Amazon Internet Services Private Limited, discussed various challenges associated with distributed systems, chaos engineering and its role, key features and more. He also introduced AWS’s chaos engineering tool called AWS Fault Injection Stimulator (FIS).

This year, with the theme 'What's Next: Rethinking the future', TechSparks 2021, YourStory's flagship startup-tech conference, is dedicating itself to providing a platform for the most defining conversations on how disruptive technology innovations can shape our lives post-pandemic.

Role of chaos engineering

Kousik, in his presentation, highlighted that as systems grow larger and more complex, issues regarding their latency, scalability, liability, resilience, concurrency, and more also become more challenging. 

He further added that while testing applications is mandatory, it often doesn’t apply well on distributed systems and doesn’t address the complexity of production systems. 

“Testing happens in isolated and known conditions,” he said, concluding that testing is limited and doesn’t have a wider scope when it comes to predicting problems that can beset an application.

This is why chaos engineering is an important tool.

“It is the process of testing an application by creating disrupting conditions like server outages to observe how the system responds and then implement improvements,” he explained.

It improves the resilience and performance of the application, uncovers hidden issues, exposes blind spots, and more.

Kousik also pointed out that chaos engineering experiments don’t happen in a haphazard manner but rather in a “controlled environment” through “well-planned experiments”.

AWS’s FIS tool

AWS’s chaos engineering tool called AWS Fault Injection Stimulator or FIS claims to be easy to use. The user can leverage the tool which takes just minutes to start and can be easily shared. 

The FIS also creates and reproduces real-life situations of failures and disruptions. Moreover, this platform has ‘stop conditions’ alarm to rollback disruptions. 

FIS is based on four components – actions, targets, experiment templates, and experiments.

Actions are fault injection actions executed during an experiment. Targets refer to one or more AWS resources on which actions are carried out. Experiment templates define an experiment. “You can make experiments more complex by using the experiment templates,” Kousik explained. 

Some of the faults FIS solves include server error, stop, reboot and terminate instances, API throttling, increased memory or CPU upload, latency injection, terminate nodes, and a few more. 


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Edited by Kanishk Singh

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