OSCON Shocker: The Cloud is Not All Rainbows and Unicorns!

It's called the NetFlix Effect, and it has nothing to do binge consumption of your favorite TV series. Many CIOs have read about NetFlix on AWS, how wonderful it is, and want all that cloud goodness for their enterprise. At Oscon's Open Cloud Day, David Nailey ("recovering SysAdmin" and commiter to Apache CloudStack) argued that that hope is something like the imaginary animals in a Bestiary -- descriptions by people who don't have a lot of experience, and illustrations by people even further removed from the original source. 

Nailey went on to say that the cloud can be great for certain things (you should have your application testbed in the cloud now!), but thinking the cloud will solve all your problems is a little like believing in unicorns. Here are some of the things Nailey offered for you to consider when moving enterprise apps to the cloud: 

1) Value
Businesses are about value, so be clear about how moving your app to the cloud will make it cheaper/better/faster.

2) Pay for Use
Is your enterprise app ready to work in a provisioning model? (E.g. Are you ever going to shut off your ERP app?) You aren't saving any money if the provisioning isn't happening.

3) Fiefdoms
Consider how your apps reflect the org structure. What cultural shifts are required to have a different architecture of your apps?

4) Fragility
The cloud is a fault-friendly environment, and most cloud providers that say "Plan for failure." Worse yet, they provide a 99.9999% uptime SLA, and the give you back $100 for your outtage. How is your app architected to deal with downtime? 

This doesn't mean the cloud is bad or wrong, but be clear about what enterprise applications are good candidates to move to the cloud.

The cloud is also having a big impact on internal IT. The cloud (AKA availability of free public services), is forcing enterprises to rethink their IT services. "People are really more empowered at home than at work," explained Chris Launey, Director of Cloud Services at Disney. Launey doesn't want Disney developers to come up with an idea over the weekend, begin developing it using free services they can access at home, and then run into a brick wall when they try to implement it at work on Monday. The expectation is that things need to be much, much faster. Fast is the new cheaper. Fast is the new better, and fast must be even faster. He said, "I challenge my team to "do things 'cloudly.' " That means we need to: make requests stupidly easy, provide fast delivery, allow for painless management, provide data transparency and granular billing. 

The Open Cloud Day at OSCON was look at the “state of cloud” in 2014, where industry practitioners provided their take on the state of public and private cloud, IaaS, and PaaS platforms. The day was inspirational and cautionary, just like a unicorn.


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