Let’s embark on a thought experiment that envisions a zombie attack on an infrastructure while contemplating how DevOps principles can be implemented to ensure effective protection against this threat and maintain the operational continuity of our system. Throughout this thought experiment, we will explore how DevOps principles, along with those of Site Reliability Engineering (SRE), can be effectively applied to secure our infrastructure and keep its functions operational.

We will imagine what the different stages of automated defense should be, from early detection of zombies to the implementation of physical or virtual barriers, all the way to automated responses to attacks. We will also discuss the concept of resilience and the importance of team training to handle unexpected situations.

While this scenario may not likely feature among the future hit series on your favorite video-on-demand platform, it offers an intriguing perspective on the impact of automation and site reliability engineering in the realm of DevOps and, more broadly, in managing the operational continuity of our technological infrastructures.

Zombies Attack!

The Zombie Threat

Our technological infrastructure is suddenly faced with an unexpected menace: a horde of hungry zombies. This threat poses a unique challenge, characterized by unpredictable attacks and a lack of conventional logic. In this context, zombies symbolize a latent danger to the continuous operation of our infrastructure.

DevOps Defense

DevOps principles can be mobilized for defense. Indeed, DevOps, traditionally focused on operational efficiency and collaboration, provides a solid framework for responding to unforeseen situations. Automation, early detection, and rapid response to attacks will be key elements of our defense strategy.

Now, let’s delve into more specific solutions for automating the defense of our infrastructure against unexpected assailants.

Automating Defense

One initial solution is to implement automated mechanisms, as advocated by DevOps principles.

Early Detection of Zombies

The first crucial step in defending our infrastructure against zombies is to detect their presence as early as possible. In the realm of DevOps, this equates to establishing automated monitoring systems capable of identifying early signs of the attack. These early detection systems are essential for enabling a rapid and coordinated response:

  • Real-time Monitoring: Automation of real-time monitoring is essential for swiftly detecting unusual activities or signs of zombies. Utilize tools for monitoring logs, metrics, and performance to continually monitor the state of your infrastructure.

  • Automated Alerts: Configure automated alerts that trigger as soon as suspicious activity is detected. These alerts can be sent via email, through instant messaging systems, or dedicated communication channels within your teams.

  • Behavior Pattern Analysis: Employ behavior pattern analysis to identify anomalies. Machine learning tools can be trained to recognize normal behavior patterns in your infrastructure and flag any deviations.

  • Automated Event Correlation: Implement automated event correlation systems to link monitoring data and identify potential indicators of compromise. These systems can identify patterns that would be challenging to spot manually.

  • Integration with Security Tools: Integrate your automated monitoring systems with security tools such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and intrusion prevention systems (IPS). This enables a swifter response to detected threats.

  • Automated Penetration Testing: Implement automated penetration tests to identify potential vulnerabilities in your infrastructure. These tests can be run regularly to detect weaknesses before they can be exploited by assailants.

  • Automated Monitoring Dashboards: Create automated monitoring dashboards that provide a real-time overview of your infrastructure’s status. These dashboards enable your teams to quickly track key indicators.

Implementing Automated Barriers

Once the presence of zombies is detected, the rapid implementation of physical or virtual barriers is necessary to halt them. DevOps can assist in automating this process using scripts and rules to deploy barriers in a coordinated manner.

  • Isolation Scripts: Develop automated scripts capable of isolating parts of the infrastructure affected by zombies. These scripts should be able to disable access to compromised areas and prevent the spread of infection.

  • Deployment of Dynamic Firewalls: Utilize dynamic firewalls that can be configured automatically to block traffic from suspicious or unauthorized sources. These firewall rules can be deployed in response to security alerts.

  • Automated Resource Scheduling: Employ automated resource scheduling to distribute the load in order to avoid a concentration of zombies in a given area. Automation can automatically distribute traffic to healthy servers.

  • Automated Traffic Redirection: Implement mechanisms for automated traffic redirection to divert zombies to quarantine zones. This can be achieved using redirection rules at the network switch or server level.

  • Automated Patch Deployment: If vulnerabilities are exploited by zombies, automatically deploy patches to plug them. Automation can enable a swift response by applying security patches.

  • Credential and Access Management: Automate credential and access management to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to certain parts of the infrastructure. Unused or compromised accounts should be automatically disabled.

  • Security Certificate Management: Utilize automation for security certificate management. Expired or invalid certificates should be renewed automatically to prevent security breaches.

Automated Response to Attacks

When a zombie attack is underway, automated response is imperative to minimize potential damage and ensure operational continuity. Automation can be used to manage the response to attacks in a consistent and rapid manner, while minimizing disruptions to the rest of the infrastructure.

  • Real-time Data Replication: Employ real-time data replication to automatically back up critical data. This minimizes data loss during an attack and facilitates post-incident recovery.

  • Automatic Service Recovery: Implement mechanisms for automatic service recovery. In the event of service unavailability, automation can automatically restart the service or switch to a backup instance.

  • Automated Security Reassessment: Automate the reassessment of the security of the entire infrastructure following an attack. This ensures that no residual vulnerabilities are left behind by the attack.

Resilience and Redundancy

The resilience of the infrastructure and the implementation of redundancy mechanisms play a crucial role in preventing collapse in the event of a zombie attack. Let’s explore the significance of these measures in ensuring operational continuity.

  • Business Continuity Plan: A well-defined business continuity plan is essential to anticipate and manage the consequences of a zombie attack. This plan should include detailed procedures for post-incident recovery, resource reallocation, and crisis management.

  • System Redundancy: System redundancy involves having backup components or servers ready to take over in case of failure. By automating failure detection and switchover to backup systems, you can minimize service interruptions.

  • Automated Failover: Automation can facilitate seamless failover between primary and backup systems when needed. Automated failover systems can be configured to respond quickly to failures and ensure smooth operational continuity.

  • Automated Backup and Restoration: Automate the process of backing up critical data and restoring it in case of loss. Regular automated backups ensure data protection and swift recovery.

  • Automated Resilience Testing: Schedule automated resilience tests to periodically assess your infrastructure’s ability to withstand attacks. These tests can simulate zombie attack scenarios and help identify areas in need of improvement.

  • Ongoing DevOps Team Training: Ensure that your DevOps team is trained in resilience and redundancy management. Automation of training and simulation exercises can contribute to strengthening the team’s skills.

DevOps Team Training

Team training holds crucial importance in dealing with unforeseen situations, even as improbable as a zombie apocalypse.

  • The Need for Training: Preparedness is key in managing crisis scenarios, even the most unusual ones. Team training ensures that each member understands their role in the event of a zombie attack and knows how to act quickly and effectively.

  • Zombie Attack Simulation Exercises: Organize simulation exercises to train your team. These fun exercises simulate an attack and allow members to practice their skills in a real-world scenario.

  • Emergency Scenarios and Response Protocols: Develop specific emergency scenarios and tailored response protocols. Ensure that every team member understands these protocols and knows how to follow them when needed.

  • Security Automation Training: Security automation training is essential to ensure that your team can respond rapidly and cohesively. Train team members in using automated tools and scripts to enhance security.

  • Continuous Skill Updates: The field of security and crisis management is constantly evolving. Ensure that your team regularly attends training and courses to stay updated with the latest trends and best practices in security.

  • Interdepartmental Collaboration: Foster interdepartmental collaboration within your teams. Ensure that each member understands the roles of others and can work effectively as a team to address challenges.


While the idea of a zombie apocalypse may seem like a highly improbable risk in the real world, this exploration highlights the importance of preparation, training, and automation, which are fundamental elements of DevOps. They can be used to mitigate an attack in any scenario. Ultimately, they ensure operational continuity, security, and infrastructure resilience, whether the threat is fictional or real.

Jean-Jerome Levy

Written by

Jean-Jerome Levy

DevOps Consultant

Seasoned professional in the field of information technology, I bring over 20 years of experience from working within major corporate IT departments. My diverse expertise has played a pivotal role in a myriad of projects, marked by the implementation of innovative DevOps practices.