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Release It!: Design and Deploy Production-Ready Software (Pragmatic Programmers)

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Whether it's in Java, .NET, or Ruby on Rails, getting your application ready to ship is only half the battle. Did you design your system to survivef a sudden rush of visitors from Digg or Slashdot? Or an influx of real world customers from 100 different countries? Are you ready for a world filled with flakey networks, tangled databases, and impatient users? If you're a deve Whether it's in Java, .NET, or Ruby on Rails, getting your application ready to ship is only half the battle. Did you design your system to survivef a sudden rush of visitors from Digg or Slashdot? Or an influx of real world customers from 100 different countries? Are you ready for a world filled with flakey networks, tangled databases, and impatient users? If you're a developer and don't want to be on call for 3AM for the rest of your life, this book will help. In Release It!, Michael T. Nygard shows you how to design and architect your application for the harsh realities it will face. You'll learn how to design your application for maximum uptime, performance, and return on investment. Mike explains that many problems with systems today start with the design.

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Whether it's in Java, .NET, or Ruby on Rails, getting your application ready to ship is only half the battle. Did you design your system to survivef a sudden rush of visitors from Digg or Slashdot? Or an influx of real world customers from 100 different countries? Are you ready for a world filled with flakey networks, tangled databases, and impatient users? If you're a deve Whether it's in Java, .NET, or Ruby on Rails, getting your application ready to ship is only half the battle. Did you design your system to survivef a sudden rush of visitors from Digg or Slashdot? Or an influx of real world customers from 100 different countries? Are you ready for a world filled with flakey networks, tangled databases, and impatient users? If you're a developer and don't want to be on call for 3AM for the rest of your life, this book will help. In Release It!, Michael T. Nygard shows you how to design and architect your application for the harsh realities it will face. You'll learn how to design your application for maximum uptime, performance, and return on investment. Mike explains that many problems with systems today start with the design.

30 review for Release It!: Design and Deploy Production-Ready Software (Pragmatic Programmers)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rod Hilton

    This remains one of the most important books software engineers can read. The second edition is even better than the first, updated to fix a lot of the "outdated" criticisms the first book gets, incorporating the modern DevOps movement, microservices, and modern technologies used in software engineering. I really just can't say enough about this book. It's required reading. If you're responsible for code that runs on networked production systems, failing to read this book should be a fireable off This remains one of the most important books software engineers can read. The second edition is even better than the first, updated to fix a lot of the "outdated" criticisms the first book gets, incorporating the modern DevOps movement, microservices, and modern technologies used in software engineering. I really just can't say enough about this book. It's required reading. If you're responsible for code that runs on networked production systems, failing to read this book should be a fireable offense. Skipping "Release It!" is professional negligence. Stop what you're doing and read this before shipping another line of code. Release It! is all about how to build cynical software, and once you start down that path you find that you can no longer think any other way. This book changes you and your career, it's just phenomenal. Even if you think you know everything in it because the patterns and practices it describes have become widespread, it's still worth reading. The second edition fixes - or at least somewhat improves - every minor complaint I had about the first edition, and reorganizes the information, adds a lot of great new sections, and removes outdated cruft. It's superior to the first edition in every way, and that was a 5-star book for me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rod Hilton

    You're wasting time reading this review, you could be reading this book instead. Release It! is one of the most important books I think programmers can read, easily as important as the oft-cited classics like The Pragmatic Programmer or the GoF book. Release It! isn't about writing super-spiffy code, or object-oriented design, but it should drastically affect how professional programmers write their code. It focuses on what engineers need to do to get their software into a state where it can actu You're wasting time reading this review, you could be reading this book instead. Release It! is one of the most important books I think programmers can read, easily as important as the oft-cited classics like The Pragmatic Programmer or the GoF book. Release It! isn't about writing super-spiffy code, or object-oriented design, but it should drastically affect how professional programmers write their code. It focuses on what engineers need to do to get their software into a state where it can actually be deployed safely in a production environment. It covers patterns and antipatterns to support (or subvert) stability as well as capacity, and the section of the book covering this is simply excellent. But then it goes beyond that to also discuss Operational enablement. Even if you're not into DevOps, and don't want to really be involved in DevOps work, this book gives you the tools and tips to do what aspect of DevOps is the purview of pure developers. Nobody who writes production enterprise software should write another line of code until they read this book. I honestly can't give it enough of a glowing endorsement. Like any other patterns book, a great deal of it will be familiar to people who have been in the industry for a while, and have come up with (or encountered) its principles on their own. But I guarantee, if there's a single thing in the book you haven't seen before, it'll be worth reading the entire book, pretty much every section is gold. My only complaint about it is that Michael Nygard has a tendency to go on randomish tangents, especially when talking about "case studies," which generally come off as the author trying too hard to convince the reader he knows what he's talking about. A lot of these stories are about things he personally encountered in his career, and how he fixed them, and each one has a weird arrogant quality, it's a little offputting to be honest, like Nygard is almost bragging. I get that these sections underscore the value of the ideas in the book, but there's something about how they're written that comes off boastful, or irritating in a way I can't quite put into words. What's more, the book STARTS with a particularly long one of these kinds of stories, making it kind of tough to get into the book. I actually tried to read it years ago and gave up on it very early. Only recently did I decide to revisit it and keep pushing forward (based on a co-worker's recommendation) and I'm extremely glad I did. I highly, highly recommend picking up this book and reading it cover to cover. It's a struggle at first due to the unfortunate decision to start it off with one of the most annoying sections of the book, but I implore you to power through it and keep reading. It's worth it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tom Purl

    I need to start by saying that this is one of the best technical books I have ever read. To me, it's easily as enjoyable and useful as Code Complete, The Pragmatic Programmer, or The Mythical Man Month. If you're a sysadmin, an architect, or a developer that works with medium-to-large-sized systems, then do the following: 1. Stop reading this post 2. Order this book from your library or buy it from The Pragmatic Programmer's web site 3. Owe me a pint :D What The Book Is Really About Actually, there i I need to start by saying that this is one of the best technical books I have ever read. To me, it's easily as enjoyable and useful as Code Complete, The Pragmatic Programmer, or The Mythical Man Month. If you're a sysadmin, an architect, or a developer that works with medium-to-large-sized systems, then do the following: 1. Stop reading this post 2. Order this book from your library or buy it from The Pragmatic Programmer's web site 3. Owe me a pint :D What The Book Is Really About Actually, there is one thing that I don't like about this book, but it really has nothing to do with the book. The description of this book on the Pragmatic Programmer's web site sucks. It's vague, and it really gives the potential reader a tiny amount of insight into the book's contents. What it should have said is that this book contains *tons* of great information on designing, deploying, maintaining and *improving* medium-to-large-sized IT systems. It's filled with patterns, anti-patterns, and general best practices that should be part of the shared lexicon of every developer, administrator, and system architect. Also, it does a good job of giving you enough information to be useful without boring you to death. And finally, it's written very well and is a joy to read. The Highlights Thread Dumps & Garbage Collection Tuning The internals of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) have been a black box to me for the majority of my career in IT. Thankfully, this book has provided excellent examples of how you can troubleshoot and improve your system using tools that interrogate and manipulate a JVM at runtime. For me, this was the most interesting and useful part of the book, and I am looking forward to seeing what can be gained by tuning and "poking at" the JVM's that are in the system that I maintain. Patterns and Anti-Patterns It's great to finally find a book that codifies some patterns that administrators and architects can use. Transparency I thought that I new a lot about monitoring and transparency before reading this book, but now I know better. I especially like the concept of a unified "OpsDB", and I am eager to build something like this myself for the system that I maintain. Integration Point Risks I always knew that integration points (e.g. data feeds, databases, LDAP providers, etc.) added risk to you system, but the author does a great job calculating the actual risk. Also, he shows you many ways in which you can avoid brittle integration points. Caveats I have one warning about this book, but it's half-hearted. This book is what I would all Java-centric. All of the case studies involve systems that are written in Java, and some of the sections will only apply directly to you if you are working with Java-based software. But does that mean that you should avoid this book if you are working with Ruby, PHP, or .Net-based software? Absolutely not. Even though there are a few small sections of the book that won't directly apply to your line of work, most of them will apply in an indirect way, regardless of your platform. And the other 94% of the book will directly apply to medium-to-large systems of every stripe.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael Koltsov

    There's a relatively short list of books I would like to keep on my desk. Most often those books are references and a composition of famous quotes. After I've read this chap I'd like to have it on my work desk at any moment. This book is a perfect mix of lots of useful technical insights, practices and recommendations got from the author's hard-earned experience combined with some of the soft-skills you need to make your software and its maintenance (which as the author states costs more than the There's a relatively short list of books I would like to keep on my desk. Most often those books are references and a composition of famous quotes. After I've read this chap I'd like to have it on my work desk at any moment. This book is a perfect mix of lots of useful technical insights, practices and recommendations got from the author's hard-earned experience combined with some of the soft-skills you need to make your software and its maintenance (which as the author states costs more than the initial 1.0 version) as smooth as possible with as much of interrupted sleep as you could possibly get. The book is definitely outdated, some of the references to particular technologies look odd and obvious (if not even funny). Nevertheless, I will put this book in one row with the "SRE book" & "Project Phoenix" as it combines them both. My score is 5/5

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Yakushev

    A must-read for every software engineer who builds complex systems.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lino

    It's on overview of how systems break in production and how to avoid it. The author manages to take a pretty dry subject and produce a book that is very easy to read. Now, it's pretty dated in a few places. It's from 2007, when the term DevOps wasn't even widely used yet. At the same time it's interesting to see how a lot of it still holds. There are too many references to JVM-speficic issues. I don't think this ruins the experience for readers working outside the JVM, but it's strange seeing cas It's on overview of how systems break in production and how to avoid it. The author manages to take a pretty dry subject and produce a book that is very easy to read. Now, it's pretty dated in a few places. It's from 2007, when the term DevOps wasn't even widely used yet. At the same time it's interesting to see how a lot of it still holds. There are too many references to JVM-speficic issues. I don't think this ruins the experience for readers working outside the JVM, but it's strange seeing casual references (garbage collection tuning, permgen size, JSP, JMX, etc) in several places while the book title/subtitle/cover/description say nothing about it. Perhaps that's from a time when coding for enterprise meant exclusively Java.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sergey Shishkin

    This book is a battle proven must read for any software engineer. Even after 7 years since the book has been published, pretty much every advice in it remains valid and relevant. The idea of the operations database has found market confirmation in products like Splunk. The Curcuit Breaker pattern has ever since been implemented numerous times in various OSS libraries. A seasoned developer would have probably been learned some of the advice the hard way. Nonetheless I've picked up a lot of wisdom This book is a battle proven must read for any software engineer. Even after 7 years since the book has been published, pretty much every advice in it remains valid and relevant. The idea of the operations database has found market confirmation in products like Splunk. The Curcuit Breaker pattern has ever since been implemented numerous times in various OSS libraries. A seasoned developer would have probably been learned some of the advice the hard way. Nonetheless I've picked up a lot of wisdom from the book, liked Michael's storytelling and appreciated his very broad perspective.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Simon Eskildsen

    This book is an incredible introduction to creating and maintaining resilient web applications in realistic, chaotic environments. This book has changed how I approach development more than any other. Every developer with something in production should read it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Zbyszek Sokolowski

    Great book showing different aspects and clues of delivering software to production. Many software architects are "short sighted" and thinks about make a software which passes unit/integration tests and are failing shortly after release books describes such cases shows good approaches and different ways to deal with the problem and testing like chaos monkey. quotes: Armed with a thread dump, the application is an open book, if you know how to read it. You can deduce a great deal about applications Great book showing different aspects and clues of delivering software to production. Many software architects are "short sighted" and thinks about make a software which passes unit/integration tests and are failing shortly after release books describes such cases shows good approaches and different ways to deal with the problem and testing like chaos monkey. quotes: Armed with a thread dump, the application is an open book, if you know how to read it. You can deduce a great deal about applications for which you’ve never seen the source code. You can tell: What third-party libraries an application uses What kind of thread pools it has How many threads are in each What background processing the application uses What protocols the application uses (by looking at the classes and methods in each thread’s stack trace) As much as RMI made cross-machine communication feel like local programming, it can be dangerous because calls cannot be made to time out. As a result, the caller is vulnerable to problems in the remote server. The amazing thing is that the highly stable design usually costs the same to implement as the unstable one. A robust system keeps processing transactions, even when transient impulses, persistent stresses, or component failures disrupt normal processing. This is what most people mean by “stability.” It’s not just that your individual servers or applications stay up and running but rather that the user can still get work done. The more tightly coupled the architecture, the greater the chance this coding error can propagate. Conversely, the less-coupled architectures act as shock absorbers, diminishing the effects of this error instead of amplifying them. events that caused the failure is not independent. A failure in one point or layer actually increases the probability of other failures. If the database gets slow, then the application servers are more likely to run out of memory. Because the layers are coupled, the events are not independent. precise about these chains of events: Fault A condition that creates an incorrect internal state in your software. A fault may be due to a latent bug that gets triggered, or it may be due to an unchecked condition at a boundary or external interface. Error Visibly incorrect behavior. When your trading system suddenly buys ten billion dollars of Pokemon futures, that is an error. Failure An unresponsive system. When a system doesn’t respond, we say it has failed. Failure is in the eye of the beholder...a computer may have the power on but not respond to any requests. Triggering a fault opens the crack. Faults become errors, and errors provoke failures. That’s how the cracks propagate. At each step in the chain of failure, the crack from a fault may accelerate, slow, or stop. caused a remote problem to turn into downtime. One way to prepare for every possible failure is to look at every external call, every I/O, every use of resources, and every expected outcome and ask, “What are all the ways this can go wrong?” Think about the different types of impulse and stress that can be applied: Tight coupling allows cracks in one part of the system to propagate themselves—or multiply themselves—across layer or system boundaries. A failure in one component causes load to be redistributed to its peers and introduces delays and stress to its callers. This increased stress makes it extremely likely that another component in the system will fail. That in turn makes the next failure more likely, eventually resulting in total collapse. In your systems, tight coupling can appear within application code, in calls between systems, or any place a resource has multiple consumers. A butterfly style has 2N connections, a spiderweb might have up to , and yours falls somewhere in between. One wrinkle to watch out for, though, is that it can take a long time to discover that you can’t connect. Hang on for a quick dip into the details of TCP/IP networking. Every architecture diagram ever drawn has boxes and arrows, similar to the ones in the following figure. (A new architect will focus on the boxes; an experienced one is more interested in the arrows.) You have to set the socket timeout if you want to break out of the blocking call. In that case, be prepared for an exception when the timeout occurs. Once we understood all the links in that chain of failure, we had to find a solution. The resource pool has the ability to test JDBC connections for validity before checking them out. It checked validity by executing a SQL query like “SELECT SYSDATE FROM DUAL.” Fortunately, a sharp DBA recalled just the thing. Oracle has a feature called dead connection detection that you can enable to discover when clients have crashed. When enabled, the database server sends a ping packet to the client at some periodic interval. If the client responds, then the database knows it’s still alive. If the client fails to respond after a few retries, the database server assumes the client has crashed and frees up all the resources held by that connection. The most effective stability patterns to combat integration point failures are Circuit Breaker and Decoupling Middleware. Hunt for resource leaks. Most of the time, a chain reaction happens when your application has a memory leak. As one server runs out of memory and goes down, the other servers pick up the dead one’s burden. The increased traffic means they leak memory faster. Stop cracks from jumping the gap. A cascading failure occurs when cracks jump from one system or layer to another, usually because of insufficiently paranoid integration points. A cascading failure can also happen after a chain reaction in a lower layer. Your system surely calls out to other enterprise systems; make sure you can stay up when they go down. Scrutinize resource pools. A cascading failure often results from a resource pool, such as a connection pool, that gets exhausted when none of its calls return. The threads that get the connections block forever; all other threads get blocked waiting for connections. Safe resource pools always limit the time a thread can wait to check out a resource. If you are running in the cloud, then autoscaling is your friend. But beware! It’s not hard to run up a huge bill by autoscaling buggy applications. Make sure your systems are easy to patch—you’ll be doing a lot of it. Keep your frameworks up-to-date, and keep yourself educated. That’s why I advocate supplementing internal monitors (such as log file scraping, process monitoring, and port monitoring) with external monitoring. A mock client somewhere (not in the same data center) can run synthetic transactions on a regular basis. That client experiences the same view of the system that real users experience. If that client cannot process the synthetic transactions, then there is a problem, whether or not the server process is running. If you find yourself synchronizing methods on your domain objects, you should probably rethink the design. Find a way that each thread can get its own copy of the object in question. This is important for two reasons. First, if you are synchronizing the methods to ensure data integrity, then your application will break when it runs on more than one server. In-memory coherence doesn’t matter if there’s another server out there changing the data. Second, your application will scale better if request-handling threads never block each other. One elegant way to avoid synchronization on domain objects is to make your domain objects immutable. When the time comes to alter their state, do it by constructing and issuing a “command object.” This style is called “Command Query Responsibility Separation,” and it nicely avoids a large number of concurrency issues. In object theory, the Liskov substitution principlestates that any property that is true about objects of a type T should also be true for objects of any subtype of T. In other words, a method without side effects in a base class should also be free of side effects in derived classes. A method that throws the exception E in base classes should throw only exceptions of type E (or subtypes of E) in derived classes. Libraries are notorious sources of blocking threads, whether they are open-source packages or vendor code. Many libraries that work as service clients do their own resource pooling inside the library. These often make request threads block forever when a problem occurs. Of course, these never allow you to configure their failure modes, like what to do when all connections are tied up waiting for replies that’ll never come. A blocked thread is often found near an integration point. These blocked threads can quickly lead to chain reactions if the remote end of the integration fails. Blocked threads and slow responses can create a positive feedback loop, amplifying a minor problem into a total failure. Remember This Recall that the Blocked Threads antipattern is the proximate cause of most failures. Use proven primitives. Learn and apply safe primitives. It might seem easy to roll your own producer/consumer queue: it isn’t. Any library of concurrency utilities has more testing than your newborn queue. Defend with Timeouts. You cannot prove that your code has no deadlocks in it, but you can make sure that no deadlock lasts forever. Avoid infinite waits in function calls; use a version that takes a timeout parameter. Always use timeouts, even though it means you need more error-handling code. Autoscaling can help when the traffic surge does arrive, but watch out for the lag time. Spinning up new virtual machines takes precious minutes. My advice is to “pre-autoscale” by upping the configuration before the marketing event goes Self-denial attacks originate inside your own organization, when people cause self-inflicted wounds by creating their own flash mobs and traffic spikes. You can aid and abet these marketing efforts and protect your system at the same time, but only if you know what’s coming. Make sure nobody sends mass emails with deep links. Send mass emails in waves to spread out the peak load. Create static “landing zone” pages for the first click from these offers. Watch out for embedded session IDs in URLs. Too often, though, the shared resource will be allocated for exclusive use while a client is processing some unit of work. In these cases, the probability of contention scales with the number of transactions processed by the layer and the number of clients in that layer. When the shared resource saturates, you get a connection backlog. When the backlog exceeds the listen queue, you get failed transactions. At that point, nearly anything can happen. It depends on what function the caller needs the shared resource to provide. Particularly in the case of cache managers (providing coherency for distributed caches), failed transactions lead to stale data or—worse—loss of data integrity. When a bunch of servers impose this transient load all at once, it’s called a dogpile. (“Dogpile” is a term from American football in which the ball-carrier gets compressed at the base of a giant pyramid of steroid-infused flesh.) A pulse can develop during load tests, if the virtual user scripts have fixed-time waits in them. Instead, every pause in a script should have a small random delta applied. Dogpiles force you to spend too much to handle peak demand. A dogpile concentrates demand. It requires a higher peak capacity than you’d need if you spread the surge out. Use random clock slew to diffuse the demand. Don’t set all your cron jobs for midnight or any other on-the-hour time. Mix them up to spread the load out. Use increasing backoff times to avoid pulsing. A fixed retry interval will concentrate demand from callers on that period. Instead, use a backoff algorithm so different callers will be at different points in their backoff periods. We can implement similar safeguards in our control plane software: If observations report that more than 80 percent of the system is unavailable, it’s more likely to be a problem with the observer than the system. Apply hysteresis. (See ​Governor​.) Start machines quickly, but shut them down slowly. Starting new machines is safer than shutting old ones off. When the gap between expected state and observed state is large, signal for confirmation. This is equivalent to a big yellow rotating warning lamp on an industrial robot. Systems that consume resources should be stateful enough to detect if they’re trying to spin up infinity instances. Build in deceleration zones to account for momentum. Suppose your control plane senses excess load every second, but it takes five minutes to start a virtual machine to handle the load. It must make sure not to start 300 virtual machines because the high load persists. A quick failure allows the calling system to finish processing the transaction rapidly. Whether that is ultimately a success or a failure depends on the application logic. A slow response, on the other hand, ties up resources in the calling system and the called system. Memory leaks often manifest via Slow Responses as the virtual machine works harder and harder to reclaim enough space to process a transaction. More frequently, however, I see applications letting their sockets’ send buffers getting drained and their receive buffers filling up, causing a TCP stall. This usually happens in a hand-rolled, low-level socket protocol, in which the read routine does not loop until the receive buffer is drained. Many APIs offer both a call with a timeout and a simpler, easier call that blocks forever. It would be better if, instead of overloading a single function, the no-timeout version were labeled “CheckoutAndMaybeKillMySystem.” Apply Timeouts to Integration Points, Blocked Threads, and Slow Responses. The Timeouts pattern prevents calls to Integration Points from becoming Blocked Threads. Thus, timeouts avert Cascading Failures. Apply Timeouts to recover from unexpected failures. When an operation is taking too long, sometimes we don’t care why…we just need to give up and keep moving. The Timeouts pattern lets us do that. Consider delayed retries. Most of the explanations for a timeout involve problems in the network or the remote system that won’t be resolved right away. Immediate retries are liable to hit the same problem and result in another timeout. That just makes the user wait even longer for her error message. Most of the time, you should queue the operation and retry it later. Circuit Breaker Not too long ago, when electrical wiring was first being built into houses, many people fell victim to physics. Now, circuit breakers protect overeager gadget hounds from burning their houses down. The principle is the same: detect excess usage, fail first, and open the circuit. More abstractly, the circuit breaker exists to allow one subsystem (an electrical circuit) to fail (excessive current draw, possibly from a short circuit) without destroying the entire system (the house). Furthermore, once the danger has passed, the circuit breaker can be reset to restore full function to the system. Leaky Bucket pattern from Pattern Languages of Program Design It’s a simple counter that you can increment every time you observe a fault. In the background, a thread or timer decrements the counter periodically (down to zero, of course.) If the count exceeds a threshold, then you know that faults are arriving quickly. Operations needs some way to directly trip or reset the circuit breaker. The circuit breaker is also a convenient place to gather metrics about call volumes and response times. Circuit breakers are effective at guarding against integration points, cascading failures, unbalanced capacities, and slow responses. They work so closely with timeouts that they often track timeout failures separately from execution failures. The Bulkheads pattern partitions capacity to preserve partial functionality when bad things happen. Pick a useful granularity. You can partition thread pools inside an application, CPUs in a server, or servers in a cluster. Consider Bulkheads particularly with shared services models. Failures in service-oriented or microservice architectures can propagate very quickly. If your service goes down because of a Chain Reaction, does the entire company come to a halt? Then you’d better put in some Bulkheads. Nevertheless, someday your little database will grow up. When it hits the teenage years—about two in human years—it’ll get moody, sullen, and resentful. In the worst case, it’ll start undermining the whole system (and it will probably complain that nobody understands it, too). There are few general rules here. Much depends on the database and libraries in use. RDBMS plus ORM tends to deal badly with dangling references, for example, whereas a document-oriented database won’t even notice. One log file is like one pile of cow dung—not very valuable, and you’d rather not dig through it. Collect tons of cow dung and it becomes “fertilizer.” Likewise, if you collect enough log files you can discover value. Ship the log files to a centralized logging server, such as Logstash, where they can be indexed, searched, and monitored. To a long-running server, memory is like oxygen. Cache, left untended, will suck up all the oxygen. Low memory conditions are a threat to both stability and capacity. Improper use of caching is the major cause of memory leaks, which in turn lead to horrors like daily server restarts. Nothing gets administrators in the habit of being logged onto production like daily (or nightly) chores. Even when failing fast, be sure to report a system failure (resources not available) differently than an application failure (parameter violations or invalid state). Reporting a generic “error” message may cause an upstream system to trip a circuit breaker just because some user entered bad data and hit Reload three or four times. Avoid Slow Responses and Fail Fast. If your system cannot meet its SLA, inform callers quickly. Don’t make them wait for an error message, and don’t make them wait until they time out. That just makes your problem into their problem. Reserve resources, verify Integration Points early. In the theme of “don’t do useless work,” make sure you’ll be able to complete the transaction before you start. If critical resources aren’t available—for example, a popped Circuit Breaker on a required callout—then don’t waste work by getting to that point. The odds of it changing between the beginning and the middle of the transaction are slim. Sometimes the best thing you can do to create system-level stability is to abandon component-level stability. In the Erlang world, this is called the “let it crash” philosophy. We must be able to get back into that clean state and resume normal operation as quickly as possible. Otherwise, we’ll see performance degrade when too many of our instances are restarting at the same time. In the limit, we could have loss of service because all of our instances are busy restarting. With in-process components like actors, the restart time is measured in microseconds. Callers are unlikely to really notice that kind of disruption. You’d have to set up a special test case just to measure it. Actor systems use a hierarchical tree of supervisors to manage the restarts. Whenever an actor terminates, the runtime notifies the supervisor. The supervisor can then decide to restart the child actor, restart all of its children, or crash itself. If the supervisor crashes, the runtime will terminate all its children and notify the supervisor’s supervisor. Ultimately you can get whole branches of the supervision tree to restart with a clean state. The design of the supervision tree is integral to the system design. Crash components to save systems. It may seem counterintuitive to create system-level stability through component-level instability. Even so, it may be the best way to get back to a kn

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    The original edition of this book introduced me to stability patterns and their evil twins, stability antipatterns. I've referenced its terminology countless times since reading it, especially Steady State, Circuit Breaker, and Fail Fast. I always include this on my list when newer developers ask what they should read. It's chock full of wisdom about distributed systems that no one bothers to teach you in school. The techniques here make the difference between code that will topple over at the s The original edition of this book introduced me to stability patterns and their evil twins, stability antipatterns. I've referenced its terminology countless times since reading it, especially Steady State, Circuit Breaker, and Fail Fast. I always include this on my list when newer developers ask what they should read. It's chock full of wisdom about distributed systems that no one bothers to teach you in school. The techniques here make the difference between code that will topple over at the slightest breeze and the architecture that will get you through your business's peak season without getting paged. The second edition builds on this and adds even more. Rather than just tacking on a new chapter about Docker or something at the end, it's completely overhauled and reorganized. The most obvious change is that it really seems plugged into the zeitgeist, covering the latest crop of open-source PaaS tools with a deeply pragmatic eye from someone who has seen both thoughtful applications of tools and inexperienced devs chasing shiny things. I especially appreciated the expanded section on deep networking issues (Interconnect). And the sections covering zero downtime deployments included nicely articulated concepts that I hadn't encountered before, such as grouping steps under "Expansion" and "Cleanup." I see conceptualizations as one of the most useful parts of reading these sorts of book, because they'll help you communicate about these ideas for years to come. This edition suffers a bit from the Second System effect. Despite having a nearly identical page count, it didn't feel as tightly focused and tries to cover a bit too many related subjects like security and even organizational issues like decision-making feedback loops. I would also have loved more case studies because I'm a sucker for disaster root cause analysis. The only two new ones in this edition were publicly published (Reddit and S3) so didn't include as much juicy details. Those minor critiques aside, this remains an indispensable and peerless book on building software for the real world.

  11. 5 out of 5

    James Healy

    This book radically influenced the way I build and deploy software. It's a whirlwind tour through designing code that behaves well in production, the many ways interaction between multiple systems can fail, deployment styles that avoid scheduled downtime, and case studies to demonstrate the surprises that happen in the real world. For those new developing and deploying production software the pace might be hard to follow, but those with a bit of experience under their belt will find this triggers This book radically influenced the way I build and deploy software. It's a whirlwind tour through designing code that behaves well in production, the many ways interaction between multiple systems can fail, deployment styles that avoid scheduled downtime, and case studies to demonstrate the surprises that happen in the real world. For those new developing and deploying production software the pace might be hard to follow, but those with a bit of experience under their belt will find this triggers memories, provides a language and framework to understand the issues you've encountered in production, and patterns to help you manage those issues when they reoccur. For those that haven read the first edition of Release it, the second edition is worth a revisit. A lot has changed in 10 years, and the book has been significantly updated to account for that. I like the logical progression of the new book outline too - Creating Stability, Designing for Production, Delivering your System.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sergey Teplyakov

    I've been working on project that heavily used clouds and high availability for relatively short period of time but even that experience helped me to appreciate this book. The book predates all the dev-ops hype, but still gives you tons of suggestions how to build a robust, scalable and easy-to-understand-when-something-goes-wrong application: think about failure, every possible component WILL fail in production. Every possible 'joint' like external system interaction will be broken. Every possib I've been working on project that heavily used clouds and high availability for relatively short period of time but even that experience helped me to appreciate this book. The book predates all the dev-ops hype, but still gives you tons of suggestions how to build a robust, scalable and easy-to-understand-when-something-goes-wrong application: think about failure, every possible component WILL fail in production. Every possible 'joint' like external system interaction will be broken. Every possible and impossible situation will occur and you should be prepared for that: not by trying eliminate it, but by accepting that disaster will happen. Some of the advises are a bit outdated (but look at the title, the book is from 2007!), and some of them are less clear that I wanted to, but overall the book is helpful.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Szymon

    "Release It!" is a great book every software developer, architect, designer or even QA engineer should read. It focuses on principles and guidance so it may feel like it misses some level of details. However, if it focused more on the specific tools instead of principles, it would quickly become outdated. You won’t regret spending time with the book - it is 336 pages of useful and never outdating knowledge. Highly recommended! My full review can be found here: https://e.printstacktrace.blog/relea "Release It!" is a great book every software developer, architect, designer or even QA engineer should read. It focuses on principles and guidance so it may feel like it misses some level of details. However, if it focused more on the specific tools instead of principles, it would quickly become outdated. You won’t regret spending time with the book - it is 336 pages of useful and never outdating knowledge. Highly recommended! My full review can be found here: https://e.printstacktrace.blog/releas...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Roman Pichlík

    Even almost seven years after publishing the book is a source of inspiration in designing production friendly software. I wish i could read the book three years ago. It would safe few sleepless nights to me and my colleagues. The book would deserve to being extend about e.g. Cloud, Software As A Service and even DevOps since they are key change drivers in release/deployment process nowadays. Anyway worth reading and thumbs up.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Andreea Lucau

    You can tell from the first use case the writer worked with big websites and using Java. Still, the book is full of useful advice on how to design software projects in terms in scalability, transparency, adaptability and ease of troubleshoot. I enjoyed the style - the examples are well chosen and the level of details is not to deep, just enough to explain why some decisions are better than the others and how to apply good judgement when needed.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Aleksey

    This book is a rare gem. It is full of valuable insights and is written in a very good language. Which makes this book not only valuable source of information but also a pleasure to read. I would set 10 starts rating out of 5 possible if I could. Definetely recommend it to any software developer or system engineer.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Enzo Altamiranda

    A stellar career in software engineering with all its hard-earned lessons packed into a single, easy-to-digest book. Release It! Is an essentially practical book that stems from the author's perceived lack of focus on developing software so that it runs in a production environments. What would these kind of systems with a focus for real-world use look like? He starts by outlining stability anti-patterns. These are bad practices often found in the design of systems which render it more fragile, a A stellar career in software engineering with all its hard-earned lessons packed into a single, easy-to-digest book. Release It! Is an essentially practical book that stems from the author's perceived lack of focus on developing software so that it runs in a production environments. What would these kind of systems with a focus for real-world use look like? He starts by outlining stability anti-patterns. These are bad practices often found in the design of systems which render it more fragile, and in consequence will let operators have less sleep. I divided these three categories: coding deficiencies, systemic effects and spontaneous effects. On the other hand there are also stability patterns, schemas we should consider implementing in order to counter anti-patterns and to make our system more robust. For example, adding timeouts to our calls, using separating middleware to reduce coupling and complexity, among others. These I classified into: self-preservation, systemic cooperation and system management. Subsequent chapters touch on important aspects of a system, for example, analyzing best practices at different layers of abstraction starting at the bare metal and bits to the end-user-interacting application. How to make systems evolvable, using chaos as an ally in increasing robustness, and continuous deployment with its significance in guaranteeing well-functioning systems and happy costumers. All in all, this is a great book that should be read by all software engineers dealing with complex systems, specially if you're just starting your career and have started taking more responsibility. I promise you'll find much of value in these pages.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mitchell

    This was a discussion book at my current company. As a starting point for conversation, it worked well enough. It definitely had some challenges. Writing a software related book almost implies specific technologies. But specifying these technologies almost immediately makes the book out of date, as in this one. But only dealing in concepts makes the book impenetrable. But just rambling your way through chapters just makes it annoying. This book was uneven, but it championed better logging and me This was a discussion book at my current company. As a starting point for conversation, it worked well enough. It definitely had some challenges. Writing a software related book almost implies specific technologies. But specifying these technologies almost immediately makes the book out of date, as in this one. But only dealing in concepts makes the book impenetrable. But just rambling your way through chapters just makes it annoying. This book was uneven, but it championed better logging and metrics, so how bad could it be?

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jelena K

    Perfect reading! Can't wait for the updated version of this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kristjan Wager

    If you are in the business of making software systems, odds are that you might have heard about Nygard's book. People have raved about it since it was published in 2007. That being the case, it had been on my to-read list for a while, but without any urgency. Then I went a conference where I heard two sessions with Michael Nygard presenting his ideas. After that, I knew I had to get hold of the book straight away. Release It! is something as rare as a book which is groundbreaking while stating the If you are in the business of making software systems, odds are that you might have heard about Nygard's book. People have raved about it since it was published in 2007. That being the case, it had been on my to-read list for a while, but without any urgency. Then I went a conference where I heard two sessions with Michael Nygard presenting his ideas. After that, I knew I had to get hold of the book straight away. Release It! is something as rare as a book which is groundbreaking while stating the obvious. First of all, Nygard makes the simple point that we (meaning the people in the business) are all too focused on making our systems ready to pass QA's tests and not on making ready to go into production. This is hardly news, but it's the dirty little secret of the business. It's not something you're supposed to say out loud. Yet Nygard does that. And not only that, he dares to demand that we do better. Having committed this heresy, he goes on to explain how we can go around doing that. He does that in two ways. First he present us for the anti-patterns which will stop us from having a running system in production, and then he present us for the patterns which will make it possible to avoid them. Or, if it's not possible to avoid them, to minimize the damage caused by them. That's another theme of Nygard's book. The insistence that the system will break, and the focus on implementing ways to do damage control and recovery. The book is not only aimed at programmers, though they should certainly read it, it's also aimed at anyone else involved in the development, testing, configuration and deployment of the system at a technical level, including people involved in the planning of those tasks. As people might have figured by now, I think the hype around the book has been highly warranted, and I think that any person involved in the field would do well to read the book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    This book is fantastic. Let's be frank: I'm biased, because the author is a friend and colleague, and I know some of the stories he tells from personal experience (I'm even in one of them, anonymously). Nygard writes very well, taking complex concepts and breaking them down into their components, and leaving the reader with essential takeaways of the patterns that create problems and the patterns that can prevent them. The term is never used in this book, but the concept of DevOps underlies the This book is fantastic. Let's be frank: I'm biased, because the author is a friend and colleague, and I know some of the stories he tells from personal experience (I'm even in one of them, anonymously). Nygard writes very well, taking complex concepts and breaking them down into their components, and leaving the reader with essential takeaways of the patterns that create problems and the patterns that can prevent them. The term is never used in this book, but the concept of DevOps underlies the whole thing. Nygard is talking about the key challenge in creating web-scale application software - how do you make sure that the things you are building are actually going to work when you put them into production? Doing that is not about performance or security testing (although those things are essential), it's about designing performance into your applications up front. And that means really thinking about the way they are going to interact, and what those interactions are going to mean at scale. I've read this book cover to cover twice, and gone back to read selections a dozen times. I've recommended it to every web architect I know. I consider it essential reading for anyone trying to create web applications to scale.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    I was pretty sure I'd like it when, early on, I came across the following quote: "...sites are now expected to be available 24 by 7 by 365." Footnote: "That phrase has always bothered me. As an engineer, I expect it to either be '24 by 365' or '24 by 7 by 52.'" This book has a lot of good information on building web applications that can withstand very high load. It is well-written, and he does a very good job of explaining the reasons why different approaches are particularly good or bad. I have n I was pretty sure I'd like it when, early on, I came across the following quote: "...sites are now expected to be available 24 by 7 by 365." Footnote: "That phrase has always bothered me. As an engineer, I expect it to either be '24 by 365' or '24 by 7 by 52.'" This book has a lot of good information on building web applications that can withstand very high load. It is well-written, and he does a very good job of explaining the reasons why different approaches are particularly good or bad. I have not finished it simply because that is not an area of focus for me right now. But if I ever find myself developing web applications for tens of thousands of users, I'll be returning to this book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ivan

    Awesome! Must read for anyone who is(or wants to be) exposed to designing and running largely distributed(enterprisey) systems. In fact I'd recommend it to any engineer. The book has plenty of real life stories, as well as good suggestions on how problems could have been mitigated beforehand. Some of my takeaways: - Resource pools as a way contain failures within broken integration points (properly cooked: low contention, configurable, with timeouts and handling 'no free resource found' case 'schedu Awesome! Must read for anyone who is(or wants to be) exposed to designing and running largely distributed(enterprisey) systems. In fact I'd recommend it to any engineer. The book has plenty of real life stories, as well as good suggestions on how problems could have been mitigated beforehand. Some of my takeaways: - Resource pools as a way contain failures within broken integration points (properly cooked: low contention, configurable, with timeouts and handling 'no free resource found' case 'scheduling service not available at the time') - Costs of sessions, deep links and implicit costs of being not efficient(e.g. slow = more contention = slower) - We(the IT) serve the business, architecture is a way of expressing this, beauty is derived

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michael Korbakov

    One of the most interesting books I read recently. Usually this kind of material is pretty boring to read, but Michael Nygard presented it in a smooth and sometimes even funny way. Content-wise, even a seasoned person with experience of running software systems in production will find something interesting. I believe that after reading this book plus "Continuous delivery" by Humble and Farley developer can feel really prepared for terrors of a live production environment. I really want to see a s One of the most interesting books I read recently. Usually this kind of material is pretty boring to read, but Michael Nygard presented it in a smooth and sometimes even funny way. Content-wise, even a seasoned person with experience of running software systems in production will find something interesting. I believe that after reading this book plus "Continuous delivery" by Humble and Farley developer can feel really prepared for terrors of a live production environment. I really want to see a second edition of this book, extended with chapters about clouds, NoSQL databases and other things that became popular after book's publishing in 2007.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sebastian Gebski

    To be honest, I've got something different than expected. What I was looking for was another 'Continuous Delivery' - a book about modern practices of shortening the delivery cycle, filled with examples / cases / ideas. What this book is actually about is the overall quality of software products (looked at from very various perspectives) and how do different types of flaws impact the product / service in the end. As you can see, this is a far wider (& more generic) topic - if this is what you' To be honest, I've got something different than expected. What I was looking for was another 'Continuous Delivery' - a book about modern practices of shortening the delivery cycle, filled with examples / cases / ideas. What this book is actually about is the overall quality of software products (looked at from very various perspectives) and how do different types of flaws impact the product / service in the end. As you can see, this is a far wider (& more generic) topic - if this is what you're looking for, you'll be very happy as the book is quite decently written. I've enjoyed it as well, even if I was looking for something else.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Borys

    Very cool book! Totally. Awesome use cases (I wish there were more). This book will introduce you to another world where systems break, code goes awry, users are frustrated, SLAs violated : to the real world in short :) I think developers would benefit most from this book, because from my experience, we're often too focused on getting code deployed and deal with problems that arise later, well, later. I think product managers and architects are more experienced in this area (I hope so!) and there Very cool book! Totally. Awesome use cases (I wish there were more). This book will introduce you to another world where systems break, code goes awry, users are frustrated, SLAs violated : to the real world in short :) I think developers would benefit most from this book, because from my experience, we're often too focused on getting code deployed and deal with problems that arise later, well, later. I think product managers and architects are more experienced in this area (I hope so!) and therefore will be less surprised, but they should read this book anyway.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Max

    Excellent overview of important concepts, if you're planning on writing software that gets used by lots of people. Lots of Java examples, but they illustrate patterns and antipatterns that any programmer should be thinking about, regardless of the specific technology being used. I'm probably going to make a habit of skimming this book regularly throughout my software career.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jens Rantil

    Required reading for every developer and ops person. Occasionally somewhat JVM-centric but for the most part generic enough to apply to most computer systems. I love that many chapters are split into patterns and anti-patterns. After 9 years of experience in the field of IT I recognized most patterns and anti-patterns and it made me happy to see someone had written them down!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Luca

    I thought I'd go for 5 stars while reading most of it. I ended up with four because I found last chapters to be a bit confusing. Anyway the book is full of wisdom and I would argue for calling it a must.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Axel Velazquez

    It was ok. Basically it is one of those books where you are learning as you read funny catastrophes. It is just like reading post mortems of events that happened in the tech industry , which is totally valuable.

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