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Creating Chaos … Engineering

In today’s world, we deal with essential complexity in our systems. As we get closer to a microservices like architecture, we could have multiple layers of dependencies, where each service on its own might have been functionally and abilities tested, but harder to simulate when one service or dependency might go rogue in a specific circumstance in an entire workflow. This interaction (or just behavior change in different environments, configurations) is too complex for humans to predict.

The discipline of Chaos Engineering is to create these ‘random’ scenarios (eventually in an automated fashion) and build the resiliency into the system as a whole, while increasing the velocity at which value is delivered to consumers. In this talk, we will discuss the principles for Chaos Engineering, how to plan for introducing chaos in your organizations and why a culture of DevOps is essential for it to succeed. We will also talk about where chaos experiments should be run, using business metrics to measure an experiment’s results, permeating the results to all teams as well as how to scale it across a larger organization by enabling each team to run their own experiments.

Finally, we will also discuss our team’s journey to Chaos Engineering at Cerner, including experiments we have run and what we learnt from them. The goal will be for attendees to walk out excited about Chaos Engineering and also with ideas on starting on the path to adopt it in their organizations.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand Chaos Engineering
  • Application of real examples and how they could be internalized for an organization
  • Knowledge around how to plan to implement Chaos Engineering
  • Ideas around business metrics to use

Webinar Presenter

Shahzad ZafarShahzad Zafar is the Vice President of Engineering at Rx Savings Solutions. Before joining Rx Savings Solutions in 2018, he worked at Cerner for 13 years, where he led the Cloud Platform development business unit while being an agile coach as well.

Shahzad has a degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2005 and also received his Masters in Business Administration from the University of Kansas in 2009. He joined Cerner in 2005 as a software developer, working on C++ and Java. He got the benefit of seeing projects being run in a waterfall methodology before transitioning to Agile development. As an Agile Champion and Coach, Shahzad gets the opportunity to work with other teams to offer support and guidance to setup productive and successful teams by leveraging Lean/Agile methodologies. He has also been involved in initiatives to enable DevOps within the organization.

Shahzad is also a board member for AgilehoodKC and speaks regularly at meetups and conferences such as LeanAgileKC, KCPMI PDD, Agile2018 and KCDC. He also teaches classes around Information Technology in the University of Kansas Business School’s Graduate program.


Mike Watson, VP Engineering @ Synerzip