There’s No Wrong Way To Eat a Cloud

December 2, 2010 by John Ellis

An Allosaurus proving there's no wrong way to eat a cloudMega-awesome BlueLock engineer Bill Barbour recently posted a great snippet from marketing guru Seth Godin on the BlueLock quote board:

Once you overload the user, you train them not to pay attention. More clutter isn’t free. In fact, more clutter is a permanent shift, a desensitization to all the information, not just the last bit.

And it’s hard to go backward.

This Seth-ism is true not only with user interface design and information overload, but also reflects how the constant bombardment of tools that promise to make you "cloud-ready" can make this whole cloud technology thing seem needlessly complex. The current media coverage and blog blitzes about creating cloud-ready applications can make you feel woefully unprepared if you don’t have a build grid dedicated to continuous integration, on-demand provisioning via some programmatic first-order language, a MapReduce cluster, a 100-node NoSQL database fabric and an immense automated dashboard notifying you to every quantum tunneling event.

It doesn’t have to be this hard.

I think a good deal of software engineers and infrastructure gurus are excited about the possibilites that accessible cloud technology brings. That excitement has powered a ton of innovations, notably the current devops revolution that is accelerating software engineering and delivering applications faster than ever before. We now have applications like Pallet and Chef that can provision and re-provision cloud computing infrastructure in a dependable and repeatable manner. However, just because Pallet and Chef now exist does not mean you have to use them in order to fully leverage a cloud hosting strategy.

If you can move faster with bash scripts via SSH, go with it. If your provisioning strategy consists of deploying the same vApp template over and over again, rock on. If you can do configuration management just as easily with Git or Subversion, have at it. If you wish to provision your cloud computing infrastructure with the same slipstream ISO used for your physical hardware, do so to your heart’s content. One of the advantages of cloud computing is that you have the latitude to manage your hardware as you see fit, unbound by the constraints of a capital expense form every time you want to expand. Create your own Linux distro, load up enterprise applications from the 1980′s, build a virtual machine from a series of floppy disks.

One of the advantages of BlueLock’s VMware Cloud is that you can begin hosting your applications just as you always have, even if you’re accustomed to a physical data center. As your needs expand and you wish to try out different devops approaches, you can easily do so with little risk. With cloud hosting you can manage your infrastructure however you want while still having room to try something new and accelerate your applications when you feel the whim.