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September 22, 2014

Beware of Do-It-Yourself Network Stress Tests

Recently, Facebook ran an experiment to test the resiliency of its core network. The company shut down an entire data center to see whether its emergency safeguards were capable of kicking in and maintaining uptime.

According to Facebook Head of Global Engineering Jay Parikh during the @Scale conference in San Francisco, this experiment was no small matter.

“This is tens of megawatts of power that basically we turned off for an entire day to test how our systems were going to actually respond,” he said.

While it’s not clear what facility was shut down for the experiment (the company has several facilities across the U.S. and Europe), it is clear that an entire region was turned off. And the test worked, as Parikh explained that the entire experiment was actually “pretty boring” for the Facebook team.

But it’s important to realize that an experiment such as this doesn’t come without risks. Suppose, for instance, something went wrong during the experiment and service was not able to be readily restored. The company could be faced with many problems for the particular surrounding region. Facebook encourages its engineers to take risks and embrace failure without being reckless, and the company also takes precautions to minimize failure. But Facebook also has the resources of a major enterprise to back such an experiment up and maintain the safety and stability of its customer data.

Smaller networks without such resources are therefore encouraged to stay away from DIY stress tests. If you are genuinely concerned about the resiliency of your core network, you should instead look into managed services which can provide a comprehensive assessment of your technological infrastructure. Hiring a team of trained professionals will give you the peace of mind to ensure your network is healthy without having to risk crippling your business in the process.

Click here to learn more about how Apex managed IT services in Norwalk, CT can provide this test for you. 

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