Applying the Principles of Chaos to Serverless

Thursday, 2018, August 30 - 09:0009:55

Yan Cui


Chaos engineering is a discipline that focuses on improving system resilience through experiments that expose the inherent chaos and failure modes in our system, in a controlled fashion, before these failure modes manifest themselves like a wildfire in production and impact our users. Netflix is undoubtedly the leader in this field, but much of the publicised tools and articles focus on killing EC2 instances, and the efforts in the serverless community has been largely limited to moving those tools into AWS Lambda functions.

But how can we apply the same principles of chaos to a serverless architecture built around AWS Lambda functions?

These serverless architectures have more inherent chaos and complexity than their serverful counterparts, and, we have less control over their runtime behaviour. In short, there are far more unknown unknowns with these systems.

Can we adapt existing practices to expose the inherent chaos in these systems? What are the limitations and new challenges that we need to consider?

Yan Cui

Yan is an experienced engineer with nearly 10 years of experience working with AWS. He is a regular speaker at user groups and conferences internationally, and he is also the author of AWS Lambda in Motion and a co-author of F# Deep Dives. In his spare time he keeps an active blog at where he shares his thoughts on topics such as AWS, serverless, functional programming, and chaos engineering.

SREcon18 Europe/Middle East/Africa Open Access Videos
Sponsored by Indeed

Open Access Media

USENIX is committed to Open Access to the research presented at our events. Papers and proceedings are freely available to everyone once the event begins. Any video, audio, and/or slides that are posted after the event are also free and open to everyone. Support USENIX and our commitment to Open Access.

Presentation Audio

@inproceedings {218967,
author = {Yan Cui},
title = {Applying the Principles of Chaos to Serverless},
booktitle = {SREcon18 Europe/Middle East/Africa (SREcon18 Europe)},
year = {2018},
address = {Dusseldorf},
url = {},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},