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Arun Kumar Singh is now talking about a journey to self-healing infrastructure. #DevOpsDays He’s an SRE at Adobe, where each product has ~30k servers. If each server alerts once per week, that’s 30k alerts a week for the poor SRE! 😱 What to do?
Auto-remediation (self healing) is a workflow triggered by an alert or event, which fixes the problem. Simplest example: the server is off, turn it on again. #DevOpsDays Slide: general auto-remediation workflow
Arun’s team used to use SaltStack for auto-remediation. Pros: already used within Adobe; easy access management with LDAP; easy secret management; based on Python and yaml, so easy to extend. #DevOpsDays
SaltStack cons: with multiple projects and large infrastructure (=heavy traffic), there was a high chance of events getting stuck in the event bus. People didn’t want to add an extra config mgmt tool. No automatic ChatOps support. #DevOpsDays
The next solution they tried was Rundeck. 🤖 Pros: Adobe was already used in Adobe for deployments/self-service tasks; uses LDAP; no need for clients to install the agent; a rich API and ecosystem of plugins; *exceptional* role-based access control. 😄 #DevOpsDays
But the big con with Rundeck: no way to run complex workflows with if-else conditions. These had to be handled in the execution script. #DevOpsDays
This is turning into the story of Arun and the three bears. 👨🏾‍💻🐻🐻🐻 Finally, they decided on a StackStorm-based auto-remediation solution. Yay, complex workflows are easy here! #DevOpsDays
With StackStorm, all the possible scenarios that could cause an outage can be checked in parallel, saving time. It uses RabbitMQ/Kafka for streaming messages (so no event bus traffic jams). Also has chatops support, an active community, etc. #DevOpsDays
What’s the con?
Role-based access control is only available in the paid version. :( Arun’s team are now writing their own version. #DevOpsDays
Monitoring and analytics can show you where the pain points in your systems are. One server or process using loads of resources? You should fix that. But with auto-remediation, it’s not breaking things for your customers in the meantime. #DevOpsDays
When Arun’s team showed this application to different people, they came up with various suggestions for other uses for it. #DevOpsDays Auto-scaling? Scheduling tasks? Connecting microservices? Use the data for co-relation, anomaly detection or machine learning?
With the system they built using StackStorm, ~70% of outages get fixed by themselves! They have 40% less customer service outages and save 4 SRE hours per day. :) #DevOpsDays
Arun’s final advice: don’t celebrate adding more auto-remediation workflows. They’re just a bandaid for deeper problems. Celebrate when you remove them! #DevOpsDays
Q: you changed your mind twice on the technology you use for this. How painful was it?

A: very painful! But we had to do it; you have to make decisions based on what you want for the future, not just right now. #DevOpsDays
Q: can you tell us about some of the 30% of cases that can’t be automatically remediated?

A: mostly cases where there are lots of complicated dependencies between microservices, or between clouds (Adobe has three different clouds). #DevOpsDays
Ah, I just got Arun’s Twitter handle. Thank you for the informative talk, @arun_2803! #DevOpsDays
Q: you do have a feedback loop to fix the problems that lead to these auto-remediation events, right?

A: yes, we make sure that every auto-remediation event is linked to an SRE or developer ticket. #devopsdays
That was actually only about 1% of the question, because the questioner went on and on, answering his own questions (which @arun_2803 had already covered). Not cool. Conference staff managing Q&A should be bolder about cutting questioners off!
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