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What is Chaos Engineering in DevOps?

What is Chaos Engineering

Today’s consumers expect a zero-downtime experience from the digital products and solutions they use. Businesses competing to deliver increasingly use chaos engineering, especially in DevOps, to prepare against potential malfunctions.

Chaos engineering could be ideal if you are looking for something beyond development and testing. Stay tuned as we discuss how you can utilize your DevOps knowledge to enhance the resilience and reliability of existing software. We will go through its concept, benefits, potential employers, and the advantages of choosing the right DevOps bootcamp that will set you on the path to success.

What is Chaos Engineering?

Chaos engineering is the practice of stress testing a software system under development. You simulate multiple disruptive events such as server failures, security flaws, API throttling, and system overload and assess the robustness of the software. This helps identify undetected inefficiencies, clear the process bottlenecks, and improve performance. You can locate the possible events before they occur and improve the process to prevent them.

What is Chaos Engineering: Examples

Chaos engineering involves framing the worst possible failure scenarios and injecting them into the software. Here are some examples of such scenarios.

  • A massive increase in traffic, high CPU load, and server overload, such as on New Year’s Eve when people send messages on WhatsApp worldwide
  • Website pages experience long loading times and crashes due to high traffic and huge data input, such as during the Amazon festival sales
  • Failure of dependency, micro-component, and availability zones
  • Host failure and cloud memory are being exhausted due to improper allocation and major overlap of usage
  • Using a load balancer instead of security groups that protect resources and filter the traffic
  • Random deregistration of ECS container
  • Sudden deletion of multiple Kubernetes nodes

Such scenarios help simulate the actual events, which is why several multinational companies, such as Amazon, Netflix, Google, and Facebook, have successfully employed chaos engineering. Let us understand how they employed this practice to build robust software.

  • Every year, Google performs Disaster Recovery Testing (DiRT), conducting experiments such as sudden outages due to natural disasters, widespread data loss, or abrupt algorithm modifications. They inject system errors that simulate the worst-case scenarios and assess their system performance.
  • Netflix has developed an array of tools called the Simian Army. Each tool, such as the Chaos Monkey, is programmed to impose a certain failure randomly during working hours. The response to the failure reveals its capability and shortcomings, based on which Netflix can then revisit, remedy, and prevent them.
  • Amazon schedules events called ‘GameDay,’ during which the developers expose their software to various possible problems, such as payment failures, loss of information, and delays in loading pages. The system is tested for its reliability and response to service degradation. The detected flaws are noted, and steps are taken to prevent them.

Also Read: What is Continuous Deployment? Exploring a Critical Component of DevOps

How Does Chaos Engineering Work?

The working principles of chaos engineering include developing scenarios and procedures to test a particular aspect of the systems. Here are the chief steps involved:

  1. Select the parameters and establish the baseline. This is critical for understanding the system’s deviation from the steady state. Hence, you must define the parameters to be tested and determine the steady-state benchmarks.
  2. Frame a hypothesis about the disruption’s effect on the steady state. The hypothesis must examine the steady state’s reliability and resilience and indicate possible deviations.
  3. Apply multiple variables and test the parameters of the system. Assess the effect of the variables on the system across the organization to better understand large-scale failures. Automate disruptions and run the test in production.
  4. Identify the root cause and develop measures to prevent the issues. Integrate the measures in the system and retest it to check its operation.

What is Chaos Engineering and Why is It Needed?

Chaos engineering is the equivalent of crash testing used in the automotive industry. Just as it involves intentionally crashing vehicles against an obstacle to test their resilience and safety levels, the software is deliberately crashed to test its reliability.

Such a foolproof evaluation practice is necessary, especially for a fluid process such as DevOps, where multiple processes run simultaneously. It is but natural that by 2023, almost 40 percent of businesses planned to integrate chaos engineering into the DevOps operation.

Further, it improves the incident response and helps assess the system’s readiness to tackle major failures. It enhances the process and prepares the system for similar failures in the future, thereby lowering the unplanned downtime by 20 percent.

Chaos engineering is critical for identifying software flaws that may have fallen through the cracks during automated testing. It also works as an additional barrier to potential flaws that may hamper a smooth DevOps operation. This requires innovation from the developers, who are encouraged to think outside the box. The developers can integrate chaos engineering observability in every stage of DevOps.

Chaos engineering also helps root out the deficiencies in the collaboration between the developer and operation teams. The teams can exchange ideas based on individual experiences and arrive at new failure modes.

Such a reliable system translates into smoother delivery, deployment, and higher customer satisfaction. The enterprise’s reputation as one with minimal disruptions and rapid recovery goes a long way in retaining existing customers and attracting new ones.

A good DevOps program will train you to identify opportunities to implement chaos engineering and set you on a path to becoming proficient in it.

Also Read: What is DevSecOps? Definition, Benefits, Best Practices

Chaos Engineering vs. Testing

Chaos Engineering shares its principles with software testing. However, the scope and purpose of each practice are significantly distinct.

Testing is conducted at various levels during the DevOps process. It may be automated to test small codes. It may be performed at the end of each stage of the DevOps operation. You may also test the entire software after the development is completed. However, in this case, you focus on assessing whether its features run properly and removing any bugs found during the testing.

You will typically choose standard and optimum conditions with minor variations to evaluate the system performance on diverse devices and operating systems. However, the software is not subjected to major and deliberate failures. Hence, testing may not reveal the software’s deficiency in a disruptive failure.

This is where chaos engineering comes in. Chaos engineering puts the software through multiple large-scale failure scenarios to see if its features can still run properly and how quickly it can recover. You can imagine every possible malfunction that can seriously affect DevOps operations and the organization. Here, you are not only focusing on making the software work. You concentrate on remedying its flaws, recovering, and installing measures to work against the malfunction and maintain the software’s performance.

What is Chaos Engineering: Advantages and Disadvantages

As a DevOps professional, you’ll be expected to choose the right method for applying chaos engineering to your organization’s system. Knowing the pros and cons of this method is essential for making desirable decisions.

Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of chaos engineering.


  • Detects hidden flaws and inefficiencies in the system.
  • Indicates the system’s performance in the event of a major failure.
  • Estimates the financial and efficiency loss in various worst-case scenarios.
  • Prepares the employees for possible failures.
  • Inculcates critical and risk-based thinking in employees who explore various possible failures.
  • Improves the system by providing an opportunity to put up measures against the failures.
  • It prevents financial loss by making the system more resilient and responsive.
  • Reduces production incidents.
  • Trains the employees to establish and implement correct and rapid responses.


  • It needs extreme caution to prevent incorrect process steps affecting the final results.
  • Requires substantial financial investment for a multi-level and widespread implementation.
  • Lacks a monitoring and tracking interface.
  • Works only on certain kinds of deployment.
  • Primarily utilizes configuration files and scripts.

Also Read: What is DevOps Automation? A Beginner’s Guide

Which Companies Use Chaos Engineering?

The popularity of chaos engineering has grown tremendously as its benefits have become increasingly evident. Almost 60 percent of enterprises worldwide, including industry giants such as Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, Twilio, Stitch Fix, Microsoft, and Google, have implemented it at least once.

Some other companies that employ chaos engineering are from diverse sectors such as FMCG, finance and banking, and service sectors.

For instance, LinkedIn developed a ‘LinkedOut’ framework where developers explore every application aspect that can fail and apply it throughout the website. The developers can inject multiple incidents and identify deficiencies in their application.

National Australia Bank is a great example of how a traditional organization adopts digitalization and builds a resilient system. NAB utilizes Chaos Mokey, the tool that Netflix developed to test its system and implement measures that automatically take care of routine issues such as server overload and page loading errors.

S&P Global uses chaos engineering to evaluate its systems for redundancy, disaster recovery, dependency loss, and latency. As a financial leader, it has to be on its toes to prevent any mishap that may result in a loss of money and reputation. Hence, chaos engineering is vital to keeping its systems robust and secure.

Here’s a quick list of some more companies that have chosen Chaos Engineering to build and maintain reliable systems:

  • Walmart
  • GrubHub
  • Target
  • Lenskart
  • Orange S.A
  • Dailymotion
  • Nationwide

Build the In-Demand Skills for a Successful DevOps Career

Chaos engineering is crucial to prevent massive data and financial losses. As an aspiring DevOps professional, you must be fluent in the fundamentals and applications of DevOps to choose the right time and method for implementing chaos engineering. Enrolling in comprehensive online DevOps training can help you strengthen your basics in DevOps and equip you with the necessary skills.

This well-structured bootcamp will hone your skills in DevOps methodology, configuration management, containerization, continuous delivery, continuous integration, and deployment automation. You will learn tools such as Terraform and Ansible. This course includes modules based on the Docker Certified Associate (DCA) examination. Grab this opportunity to work on capstone projects under the guidance of industry experts to boost your career in chaos engineering and DevOps.

You might also like to read:

Embracing Efficiency and Automation with GitOps: A Comprehensive Guide

CI/CD Pipeline: Continuous Integration vs. Continuous Deployment vs. Continuous Delivery

Infrastructure as Code in DevOps: Basics and Best Practices

What is Continuous Integration in DevOps? A Beginner’s Guide

DevOps Metrics: Measuring DevOps Success

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