The Future of above-the-line Tooling

Tuesday, March 15, 2022 - 9:45 am10:30 am

Richard I. Cook, MD, and John Allspaw, Adaptive Capacity Labs


Above-the-Line (AtL) tooling helps people working above-the-line of representation keep track of what is happening AtL. This sort of tooling is quite different from Below-the-Line stuff—e.g., top or htop. There are only a few AtL tools available but rapid growth seems likely. What should AtL tooling look like? What are the challenges to making it useful? What functions can AtL tooling support? This talk sets up a framework that you can use to assess and plan for future tooling and, possibly, spur you to build some yourself.

Richard I. Cook, Adaptive Capacity Labs

Dr. Richard Cook is a Principal with Adaptive Capacity Labs. He is an internationally recognized expert on complex system failures, post-accident reactions to failure, and human performance at the sharp end of these systems. He has investigated a variety of problems in such diverse areas as urban mass transportation, semiconductor manufacturing, military software, and internet-based business systems. His publications include "Above the Line, Below the Line," "How Complex Systems Fail," "Gaps in the continuity of patient care and progress in patient safety," "Operating at the Sharp End: The complexity of human error," "Adapting to New Technology in the Operating Room," "A Tale of Two Stories: Contrasting Views of Patient Safety," and "Going Solid: A Model of System Dynamics and Consequences for Patient Safety."

John Allspaw, Adaptive Capacity Labs

John Allspaw has worked in software systems engineering and operations for over twenty years in many different environments. John’s publications include the books The Art of Capacity Planning (2009) and Web Operations (2010) as well as the forward to The DevOps Handbook. His 2009 Velocity talk with Paul Hammond, “10+ Deploys Per Day: Dev and Ops Cooperation” helped start the DevOps movement. John served as CTO at Etsy, and holds an MSc in Human Factors and Systems Safety from Lund University.

SREcon22 Americas Open Access Sponsored by Blameless

@conference {278122,
author = {Richard I. Cook and John Allspaw},
title = {The Future of above-the-line Tooling},
year = {2022},
address = {San Francisco, CA},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = mar,

Presentation Video