Maelstrom: Mitigating Datacenter-level Disasters by Draining Interdependent Traffic Safely and Efficiently

Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI)

By: Kaushik Veeraraghavan, Justin Meza, Scott Michelson, Sankaralingam Panneerselvam, Alex Gyori, David Chou, Sonia Margulis, Daniel Obenshain, Ashish Shah, Yee Jiun Song, Tianyin Xu


We present Maelstrom, a new system for mitigating and recovering from datacenter-level disasters. Maelstrom provides a traffic management framework with modular, reusable primitives that can be composed to safely and efficiently drain the traffic of interdependent services from one or more failing datacenters to the healthy ones.

Maelstrom ensures safety by encoding inter-service dependencies and resource constraints. Maelstrom uses health monitoring to implement feedback control so that all specified constraints are satisfied by the traffic drains and recovery procedures executed during disaster mitigation. Maelstrom exploits parallelism to drain and restore independent traffic sources efficiently.

We verify the correctness of Maelstrom’s disaster mitigation and recovery procedures by running large-scale tests that drain production traffic from entire datacenters and then restore the traffic back to the datacenters. These tests (termed drain tests) help us gain a deep understanding of our complex systems, and provide a venue for continually improving the reliability of our infrastructure.

Maelstrom has been in production at Facebook for more than four years, and has been successfully used to mitigate and recover from 100+ datacenter outages.