Conf42: Site Reliability Engineering 2021

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Microservices above the Cloud - Designing the International Space Station for Reliability

Robert Barron
AIOps, ChatOps & SRE @ IBM

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The International Space Station has been orbiting the Earth for over 20 years. It was not launched fully formed, as a monolith in space. Instead, it is built out of dozens of individual modules, each with a dedicated role - life support, engineering, science, commercial applications and more. Each module (or container) functions as a microservice, adding additional capabilities to the whole. Not only do the modules need to function together, delivering both functional and non-functional capabilities, they were designed, developed and built by different countries on Earth and once launched into space (deployed in multiple different ways), had to work together - perfectly.

Despite the many (minor) reliability issues which have occurred over the decades, the ISS remains a highly reliable platform for cutting edge scientific and engineering research.

In this session I will describe the way the space station was developed and the lessons Site Reliability and DevOps Engineers can learn from it.

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