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

Note: Presentation times are in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

Wednesday, 13 October, 2021 - 15:1015:40

Robert Barron, IBM


The International Space Station has been orbiting the Earth for over 20 years. It was not launched fully formed, as a monolith in space. 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. While the modules independently deliver both functional and non-functional capabilities, they were designed, developed, and built by different countries on Earth at different times and once launched into space (deployed in multiple different ways) somehow manage 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 talk, I will describe the way the space station was developed and the lessons SREs can learn from it.

Robert Barron, IBM

Robert works for IBM as an SRE, ChatOps, and AIOps Solution Engineer who enjoys helping others solve problems even more than he enjoys solving them himself. Robert has over 20 years of experience in IT development & operations and is happiest when learning something new. He blogs about operations, space and AIOps at https://flyingbarron.medium.com.

SREcon21 Open Access Sponsored by Indeed

@conference {276671,
author = {Robert Barron},
title = {Microservices above the {Cloud{\textemdash}Designing} the International Space Station for Reliability},
year = {2021},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = oct

Presentation Video