As we launch into the world of automation, we are faced with waves of technology, each one better than the last. Some vendors start from scratch to develop an entirely new product, foregoing the old for the new. With all this technology, we often look at what we need and how we get it. We are trying to find that perfect wave: a wave of technology that will give us everything we need. Such a wave does not exist. How can you describe the indescribable? How can you determine what technology works best? To surfers, the perfect wave is often described by shape, duration, and big perfect barrels, but more often than not, they simply call it “the ultimate wave.”
As we journey to the cloud and next generation applications, or along the sometimes-narrow path of IT, we often look for the perfect wave: the one solution that will give us everything we need. We know it is not attainable, but we hope for it nonetheless. We either want to catch the best wave and claim to the world it is the perfect wave, or we catch all the waves hoping one is the perfect wave for us. None of these approaches lends itself to good business. In fact, catching the latest trend could be a disaster in the making.
However, there is one trend that is never going to be a bad decision. That is to have a good architecture for your environment and applications regardless of where they run. Architecture is the basis upon which we then design our environments. Know what questions to ask. The perfect wave cannot be designed. It can only be seen once you are on it. Without a good foundation and a good understanding of the business, the organization, the environment, and the applications, you may not recognize it when it shows up.
Knowledge is key. Good architectures are key. Architecture should not be limited to the here and now, or the past. It needs to be kept updated. Architectures also need to be enhanced to cover operations, security, business logic, IT as a Service, data protection, legal, cost, etc. The list is growing daily. A good architect will touch on all of these items. However, that also takes knowledge. (Check out our Secure Hybrid Cloud Reference Architecture).
As we ride the wave of technology, we need to be ready for change. The bottom could drop out and leave you on the reef, or the wind could shift, making everything come from a different direction. That shark you did not know about might take a big bite out of your own market. No matter how you look at it, change is inevitable. However, do you need to ride those waves? Does your business have enough knowledge, planning, and contingency plans to survive these shifts?
That seems to be the driving force behind the current trend in transformation: the need to allow for contingency plans to continue to ride the wave. For the last several years, IT has been asked to lower costs while making things more secure. To do that, we have had to automate, to remove the grunt work from our daily lives. As we head into the next year, we will see automation in more areas of IT. We still need one million security workers, yet these people do not yet exist. To solve that problem, security companies are developing ways to automate data collection across systems and perform automated analysis.
We have used automation to solve other, similar problems. As companies, our computing requirements change. We need automation to keep up, to once more gather data and analyze that data. Automation is the current wave, yet it is not the perfect wave. All automation does is change the perception of complexity. It seems easier; however, there are more moving parts today, and fewer people available when the automation breaks. Then, all the complexity it hides comes to the fore.
This has been the case since the wheel was invented. The wheel made things easier, yet introduced more complexity than human hands. We are still riding that wave of ever-increasing levels of complexity that make up modern technology. We just happen to be riding the wave started by our ancestors. Change is inevitable; so is searching for the perfect wave. Do not get caught up in the search. See the waves for what they are.