Revisiting the Aviation Safety vs. Networking discussion

Vadim Antonov avg at kotovnik.com
Fri Dec 25 18:17:44 CST 2009


> I can see situations in the future where people's lives could be
> dependent on networks working properly, or at least endangered if a
> network fails.

Actually it's not the future. My father's design bureau was making
hardware, since 70s (including network stuff) for running industrial
processes of a kind where software crash or a network malfunction was
usually associated with casualties.  Gas pipelines, power plants, electric
grids, stuff like that.

That's a completely different class of hardware, more of a kind you'd find
in avionics - modules in triplicate, voting, pervasive error correction,
etc.  Software was also designed differently, with a lot more review
processes, and with data structures designed for integrity checking (I
still use this trick in my work, which saves me a lot of grief during
debugging) and recovery from memory corruption and such.

I'd be seriously loath to put any of the current crop of COTS network
boxes into a life-critical network.

--vadim





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