At technology giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook, engineers have pioneered techniques that help make their websites just as hard to kill. If a server goes on the fritz, a series of servers shut down, or even an entire data center goes dark, these sites are supposed to just keep chugging along. That's vitally important since every second of downtime means lost revenue.
Now, a team of open source developers wants to make it easier for just about any company to build the sort of resilient cloud computing systems that run online empires like Google. They call their project CockroachDB, billing it as a database with some serious staying power. That may sound like an odd name for a piece of software, but co-creator Spencer Kimball—a former Google engineer—says it's only appropriate. "The name is representative of its two most important qualities: survivability, of course, and the ability to spread to the available hardware in an almost autonomous sense."