Recovery Oriented Computing

Imagine a computer that never crashes. Or a network immune to attack…

[Few] believe that speed is the only problem of computer hardware and software. Current systems crash and freeze so frequently that people become violent. Fast but flaky should not be our 21st century legacy.

Recovery Oriented Computing (ROC) takes the perspective that hardware faults, software bugs, and operator errors are facts to be coped with, not problems to be solved. By concentrating on Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) rather than Mean Time to Failure (MTTF), ROC reduces recovery time and thus offers higher availability. Since a large portion of system administration is dealing with failures, ROC may also reduce total cost of ownership. One to two orders of magnitude reduction in cost mean that the purchase price of hardware and software is now a small part of the total cost of ownership.

If we embrace availability and maintainability, systems of the future may compete on recovery performance rather than just SPEC performance, and on total cost of ownership rather than just system price. Such a change may restore our pride in the architectures and operating systems we craft.

It seems that, software and hardware engineers are getting very excited over the prospect of autonomic computing — systems built to recognize and recover from their own flaws without tying down a human administrator in the process… systems that “heal” themselves in the event of a failure.

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Personally, I’m looking forward to feeling nostalgic for the blue screen.

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