The big question I keep asking myself is, “Is cloud a utility yet?” In other words, can I choose an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud based on utility pricing and expect the same thing I expect from a utility—as in, “it just works”—or is there more to it than that? In order to decide if the cloud is a utility yet, we need first to define the traits of a utility. There is a difference between electricity and gas, as well as between water and trash services. If cloud is a utility today, which type is it?
The world of cloud is changing yet again. IBM announced recently that it is acquiring Austin, Texas–based Gravitant. Financial details of the deal were not released.
Automation has evolved from its humble beginnings as a local basic scheduler kicking off scripts and tasks into an enterprise-level tool used in most, if not all, of the unique silos that encompass corporate IT. In this article, I focus on some of the different kinds of automation engines that are in use. This post will not even begin to touch on all of the different products and solutions that are out there, and I certainly won’t claim that there is any one right way or tool. However, I would like to go on record to say that, in my humble opinion, there is one primary wrong answer with automation, and that wrong answer is to be completely dependent on any one solution or product itself.
Steve Flanders (@smflanders) and I had a late-night Twitter conversation over the complexities inherent in cloud-native applications. My take was that we need to broaden our view and see the entire picture before we can delve into the weeds. Steve’s was that we need DevOps. I countered by saying we need better communication. In essence, we may have been saying the same thing, but we were on different planets, which led to a useful analogy. During the race to the moon, who were the systems engineers, the ones who saw the big picture of a program with well over 15 million moving parts, not to say people, involved?
A few years ago, I told HP’s product manager for public cloud that I thought all public cloud providers would run out of money and get out of the business. I was mostly being controversial to spark conversation. But HP has recently ceased selling its Helion public cloud. While this did prove me right in that case, I’m not sure every public cloud provider will remain unprofitable until it dies. I do think it is very hard to compete with AWS for a commodity public cloud. On the other hand, there are ways to build a public cloud that address clients who will not use AWS.
There are three pillars to the software-defined data centre (SDDC): software-defined compute, software-defined storage, and software-defined networking. Without any one of these three, the whole edifice of the data centre falls down. We build all three to be resilient, “designed for failure,” and robust. Each can be built and rebuilt from scripts that are stored in distributed version control systems. But at the bottom of every application stack in our SDDC, there is a database or file store that cannot—by definition—be re-created from scripts. This is the core data that we mine and make profit from. What happens if (or when) the edifice collapses? How is that core data protected, and is traditional backup up to the task?