When Automation Attacks: Revisiting "Automate All The Things"

Due to the evolving Coronavirus/COVID-19 situation, SREcon20 Americas West has been rescheduled to June 2–4, 2020.
More information is available here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - 5:20 pm6:00 pm

J. Paul Reed, Netflix


Automation is a cornerstone of DevOps, SRE, and modern operations practices, the A in DevOps' venerable CAMS, and the subject of one of its oldest, most famous memes: "Automate ALL the things."

But are there processes we shouldn't automate? What if HOW we automate actively causes us (and the systems we're responsible for) harm? We'll take a look at what human factors have to do with automation as well as at some of the impacts and challenges pervasive automation has presented for systems administrator and SREs, along with some important considerations when automating our complex, living socio-technical systems, and some strategies to cope when those shell scripts strike back!

J. Paul Reed, Netflix

J. Paul Reed began his career in the trenches as a build/release and operations engineer. After launching a successful consulting firm, he now spends his days as a Senior Applied Resilience Engineer on Netflix's the CORE team, focusing on incident analysis, systemic risk identification and mitigation, Resilience Engineering, and human factors expressed in the streaming leader's various socio-technical systems.

Reed is an internationally recognized speaker on operational socio-technical complexity challenges and opportunities, Resilience Engineering, and DevOps and holds a Masters of Science in Human Factors & Systems Safety from Lund University.

@conference {247320,
author = {J. Paul Reed},
title = {When Automation Attacks: Revisiting "Automate All The Things"},
year = {2020},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
month = mar,