Coté Memo #052: Two types of clouds and headless doctors


  • Hey there! It’s been awhile. I warned you, things are monkey-balls over here.

Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

Software Defined Talk #15, with guest Andrew Shafer

If I don’t say so myself, I think Software Defined Talk has hit its stride. The three of us have a good mix and tone, and I hope you’re enjoying it.

At the spur of the moment, we had Andrew Shafer on our most recent episode, so we talked at length about Docker, both at a technical and strategy level. He’d just published a good article on the topic. It was a great conversation.

Also, you can hear me complaining about how my diamond shoes are pitching my toes, which is to say, wanting someone to fix calendaring.

There’s two kinds of clouds in the world…

I’m fond of pointing out the theory that, for the most part, cloud only matters if you’re talking about developers. You’re probably not going to run packaged software – SharePoint, Lawson, SAP, etc. – on cloud stuff: the incremental benefit vs. plain old virtualization (VMware) likely isn’t there (yet?). Thus, there’s this unhelpful discuss of cloud that doesn’t distinguish between running “old (mostly packaged) software” and (mostly net-new) custom written software. To put it another way, if you were doing lead qualification for cloud deals (public IaaS/PaaS or private), the first question should probably be “how many developers do you have on staff?”

There are exceptions, etc; hence: “theory.”

An old friend of mine, Zane, and I were discussing this in email recently. In reply to him complaining about over-hyping cloud, I replied:

Yeah, this assessment is pretty much right. I think the thing about cloud, to your point, is that unless you’re going to dramatically change the way you write applications, it’s just slightly better virtualization.

Now virtualization, that’s certainly a big deal…but the step order improvement from cloud is not that big [I’d theorize].

The part people often miss about cloud is the self-service/fulfillment changes. It’s about dramatically reducing the reliance of service desks and manual IT and instead automating provisioning new IT and the ongoing management of it (server is in bad state, reboot it). [Or, as covered in a recent DevOps Cafe podcast with Tom Limoncelli: in a cloud world, tickets are filed when things go wrong, not for any old request.]

“Private cloud” is another weird thing that I’ve yet to fully understand. It seems like just setting yourself up for the same old management problems, that maybe move a bit faster, but is it really so much better than just a bunch of VMware with self-service…or moving more of your stuff straight to SaaS? [I was called the “private cloud analyst who doesn’t believe in private cloud” in a briefing recently, which seems pretty much right.]

For developers – like yourself – cloud will always be more tedious than it seems…because you guys are doing more than just installing software and using SaaSes. I think the big hope for cloud is that (a.) IT admins have to spend less time manually caring and feeding for compute, storage, and networking (much of that work is manual now-a-days!), and (b.) companies move more and more of their on-premises packaged software to SaaS. Managing GMail (or even Office 365, I should hope) should be magnitudes of order more easy than managing on-premises Exchange. To me, this migration of on-premises packaged software to SaaS is the real boon…and why SaaS tends to be larger as a market and more valued.

We’ll see how it shakes out, but to my mind if there’s a SaaS version for a product it almost makes no sense to run the on-premises packages software on your own, or even colo’d somewhere…unless you have developers on staff, in which case there’s a whole other conversation to be had.

Fun & IRL

Inside Jokes: “Good luck with no fuckin’ head”

Another one of my inside jokes is an exchange from Barton Fink, which was brought to my attention (as with so many good movie lines that have become core inside jokes) by Chip:

Mastrionotti: Started in Kansas City. Couple of housewives.
Deutsch: Couple days ago we see the same M.O. out in Los Feliz.
Mastrionotti: Doctor. Ear, nose and throat man.
Deutsch: All of which he’s now missin’.
Mastrionotti: Well, some of his throat was there.
Deutsch: Physician, heal thyself.
Mastrionotti: Good luck with no fuckin’ head.
Deutsch: Anyway.

So, next time you see an absurd situation in front of you and someone’s asking you to fix it, just sigh and utter out, “good luck with no fuckin’ head.” I’ll know what you’re saying, and we’ll high-five.



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