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Release It!, 2nd Edition by Michael T. Nygard

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Failure Modes

Sudden impulses and excessive strain can both trigger catastrophic failure. In either case, some component of the system will start to fail before everything else does. In Inviting Disaster [Chi01], James R. Chiles refers to these as “cracks in the system.” He draws an analogy between a complex system on the verge of failure and a steel plate with a microscopic crack in the metal. Under stress, that crack can begin to propagate faster and faster. Eventually, the crack propagates faster than the speed of sound and the metal breaks explosively. The original trigger and the way the crack spreads to the rest of the system, together with the result of the damage, are collectively called a failure mode.

No matter what, your system ...

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