The Virtual Basil Fawlty


In the 1970's BBC comedy show Fawlty Towers, John Cleese manages to turn harmless everyday situations into total disasters, with very little effort. It is a marvellous example of how to inject faults into what could have been a smoothly operating hotel, and demonstrating just how things fall apart as the unexpected happens. Injecting faults isn't always that easy, unfortunately (or should that be fortunately)?

I recently read an article by Steve Chessin in ACM Queue about fault injection, where he discusses how the UltraSPARC II and III systems from the late 1990s and early 2000s supported hardware fault injection in order to test the ability of the system to recover from faults. In this case, injecting faults was a bit more difficult than roaming around in a hotel beating your hapless waiter with a frying pan or insulting the guests. In the article, he makes a very important statement:

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