T-SQL Tuesday #48 – Cloud Atlas

T-SQL Tuesday

T-SQL Tuesday is a recurring blog party, that is started by Adam Machanic (Blog | @AdamMachanic). Each month a blog will host the party, and everyone that want’s to can write a blog about a specific subject.

This month the subject is “Cloud Atlas”. If you want to read the opening post, please click the image below to go to the party-starter: Jorge Segarra (Blog | @SQLChicken).

My Perspective

In the past year, my career has a had a little shake up.  I left a development manager position, I took on a sales engineering position in the same industry, and finally I left all that madness and ended up as a full time DBA.  In that time, I’ve seen three different, yet similar takes on the cloud from three seperate compaines.

We don’t know

When I was making development choices, to include database decisions, we discussed the cloud.  I wrote a call center application that leveraged dynamically spun-up Asterisk in the cloud, as well as MySQL in the cloud (now defunct Xeround).  Those decisions were mine to make as it was more of a proof of concept than a dedicated product offering.  The reason the project didn’t move beyond the POC phase was the fear of substainable knowledge.  Who was going to run this contraption if I got hit by a bus?  Who knew how to manage Cloud computers?  The syadmin team certainly did not, the other developers were all .NET guys, and NOBODY knows how to manage MySQL.

In this case, all the push back was on the technology used, not the platform, but there was certainly push back on the platform as well.  At this company, they had limited resources who already had full plates which had no direct monetary reason for them to take on learning a new unproven platform.   These old systems using Visual FoxPro on legacy hardware is good enough to carry us into the future. (true story)

We dont’ Get It

After leaving the call center, I went to work as a Sales Engineer deploying and customizing the main call center solution I had been hacking away at for the previous years.  Being my first sales type job, I did not listen when my wife indicated 8 days of travel per month actually means 15, but I digress.   This company had a cloud based product based off SalesForce.com, but they didn’t really get ‘the cloud’.   When I think of the cloud, and I believe most technologist tend to agree, the cloud is a commodity.  Use what you want, stop when you want.  Its about on-demand, not long term contracts to lock you in, thats the old way.  This new mentality centers upon deliverying a service that someone can pay for a portion of (an hour/ a day/ a month) , and then leave if they don’t extract value from the service that was provided.  The provider was paid for the time service was provided, the user got the service they paid for, and there would be no need to play a legal game of how much money can I extract from you.

This company required 12-months upfront.  You had to know how many users you wanted and lump sum a payment right in the begining, before you had a chance to prove their product worked.  Prepay for a product I have yet to test drive?  I was not asked to get behind that product nor asked to help deploy it for customers.   I was asked to work on the Avaya based version of their product which I knew and loved (still do).   At this company, they are used to their old sales cycles, their old contracts, and the old way of doing things.  They just don’t  ‘get’ the most beneficial parts of the cloud, which is the availability to fail fast and move on if neccessary.

We have the cloud

At my current gig, they get the concepts, but eschew the public cloud in favor of a very robust private cloud, which they have truly embraced.  While I knew about VMware and the concepts, I’ve never learned as much about the products available in this space as I have while on this contract.  The team here understands how easy disaster recovery can become utilizing some of the enterprise cloud based tools.  They understand how maximizing resource utilization with virtualization saves time and money.  The team here gets virtualization, yet they still have a ‘keep it close’ mentality, which I understand due to the industry requirements.

In the End

The cloud is coming, neigh, it is here.  Just like those crazy horseless carriages, and desktop computers, it is here to stay.  With time, the hold outs will lower their guard and understand, and at some point, embrace the advantages that cloud based computing offers.  Others will, through time, understand what terms customers will accept with their new cloud offerings.   In time, just like other commodities, cloud services will be abundant, and cheap.