The history of fire escapes: how to fail (Keynote)

When a datacenter goes offline, a server gets overloaded, or a binary hits a crashing bug, we usually have a contingency plan. We reduce damage, redirect traffic, page someone, drop low-priority requests, follow documented procedures. But why do many failures still come as a surprise? In this talk, we look at some real life analogs to preventing and managing software failures. Fire partitions. Public safety campaigns. Smoke alarms. Sprinkler systems. Doors that say “This is not an exit”. And fire escapes. What can we learn from the real world about expecting failure and designing for it?



Tanya Reilly

Tanya Reilly has been an SRE and Systems Administrator for 17 years and has seen so many things fail.