Anti-Fragile - Micro Services Love Stress

When it comes to architecture safety, we traditionally refer to systems as being fragile or robust. But, there is in fact a triad – Fragile, Robust and Anti-Fragile!

antifragile-microservices-and-devops-a-study-4-638Over the years, companies have invested millions in their architecture and with each passing addition these architectures grow increasingly complex till they are a mass of technological spaghetti. When faced with such architecture we are afraid to touch it with fear of completely unraveling it. This is what a fragile system looks like; a system where even the slightest change can result in a complete breakdown.

The solution routinely sold to us is to make it robust, more resilient. This solution consists of wrapping a fragile system in layer upon layer of protection – much like bubble wrapping a delicate wine glass – and these layers will need to eventually be removed to affect any changes. A robust system will at it’s best ignore changes and at it’s worst will resist change. This is dangerous in the present environment of constant change.

Micro Services offer us the third option – to build an anti-fragile system! An anti-fragile system simply put is a system that not only thrives but also benefits from stress – the stress of run time, of change, of failure. It gets better with stress and allows us to embrace change and agility.

An example is Netflix’s Simian Army. This is a tool that systematically destroys their existing system to expose weaknesses and forces the system to improve, to handle runtime conditions better and to change faster.


Imagine a system that allows you to destroy it and comes out of that better than before! THIS is what Micro Services bring. By allowing for mistakes, stresses, and weaknesses they lead us to take leaps in innovation instead of baby steps. We can call Micro Services just another name for SOAs or call them a buzzword but what they bring to the table – anti-fragility, flourishing on change, innovation – are more than just buzzwords. They are a reality if we want to stay relevant!

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Written By: Meghna Verma Meghna Verma is the Content Manager at Captain Dash.  You can reach her on Twitter @M3GV3RMa .