For developers, development teams, and DevOps organizations, 2017 brought forward a growing stack of open source technologies that were proven out by early adopter cloud teams. Those technologies are now being rapidly mainstreamed thanks to some heavy lifting by the CNCF and the broader cloud native community. So now is the time to resolve to make three powerful changes for 2018!
1. Simplify Your Life:
So you’ve been experimenting with open source technologies from Docker to Kubernetes to Istio. Perhaps you’ve stood these up locally on your laptop, in your lab, or experimentally up on AWS. Congratulations, this is a great first step! But trust me, keeping that environment up and running, updated with the latest releases and patches, and scaled to meet the needs of your broader organization is painful, expensive, time consuming, and foolish, considering that cloud providers are now offering managed services that do that for you – typically for no more than the cost of your current infrastructure as a service (IaaS) resources (compute, storage, network). 2017 should be the last year we give out “I Stood Up My Own Kubernetes” participation trophies. There’s no reason in 2018 to spend valuable developer and DevOps time running and maintaining your own open source platforms when cloud providers are doing the work for you in a secure, cost-effective package. There are plenty of better ways to differentiate, compete, expand your skills, and grow your career in 2018 – building, running, and maintaining your own open source based platform is not one of them. Move to a managed open source-based service in 2018 and simplify your life. You’ll thank me later!
2. Declare Your Independence:
Take a self-inventory of the cloud providers your org uses and how much money you spent on them in 2017 versus 2016. My guess is that you will find you are developing a significant business and technical risk exposure based on single vendor cloud lock-in. Open source technologies actually give you leverage to choose the cloud vendor that works best for you from a cost, use-case, technical, and/or business perspective. In particular, serverless has been one of the big remaining closed and proprietary cloud native technology areas to date. This has forced enterprises to choose between cloud lock-in or adopting early service tools like AWS Lambda. That’s all about to change in 2018 as a set of open serverless projects (e.g., http://FnProject.io/ ) and CNCF efforts move forward. “Open on Open” is the only way to move open serverless forward in 2018 — building serverless solutions on an integrated stack on top of a Kubernetes foundation. So, 2018 is the year to ditch lock-in and break free from your captive cloud situation. Don’t be a prisoner in your own cloud.
3. Focus on What Matters:
Imagine if all cloud providers offered the same core set of open source-based services (e.g., Docker, Kubernetes, Kafka, Cassandra, etc.), and the only cost was for the IaaS resources you used. If this were true, then you could focus on choosing a solution based on what really matters to you. Hey, that is true now! The market moved in 2017 from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market with all the major cloud vendors offering similar, core OSS-based services — at least on the surface. The difference now comes down to what matters to you. And in particular the “ilities” like scalability, security, availability, reliability, and usability become key differentiators to consider. Often that can be described as “enterprise-grade” or “open source for grownups.” Open source can be free and fun, but when you need to run your enterprise apps on it, you’ll want to go top-shelf and reach for the good stuff — and that’s where the “ilities” come in. In 2018, focus on what really matters to you, be an informed buyer, and ask the hard questions when it comes to running your apps on these infrastructures.
Open source technologies are already making developer’s lives better and their projects healthier. Now it’s time to simplify your life with managed services versus going down the DIY “hard way” path. Break free from cloud lock-in and declare your independence from captive clouds. And finally, in 2018 focus on what matters to you when it comes to choosing a cloud service — now that the playing field is evening out in your favor. And most of all, have a spectacular 2018!