October 25, 2009
After that title, I should put "SEO Expert" on my business card...
Two weeks ago, Brendon Burton, over at "Story of a Sysadmin wrote a great article about "the cloud", and I've been wanting to reply to it since then. It's called "Automation is the cloud", and it starts with a very laudable, though difficult goal.
I think it is important that as technologists and sysadmins, we do what we can to bring clarity to what “The Cloud” is and how it affects and benefits you.
Well, let me tell you, I'm on board for that. I hear the phrase "cloud computing" and I have mental images of this:
Brandon concentrates on the automation aspect of cloud computing. That certainly is a large part of it. The automation of virtualization, of networking, of deployment, and of pretty much everything else. It is certain, a cloud won't scale without that. If you've got to manually deploy and configure an arbitrary number of virtual machines, you're going to go insane before you even build up a good mist, let alone a whole cloud.
Although Brandon does a great job talking about the necessary automations that go into making a cloud, one thing that was outside of the scope of the article that someone should talk about is abstraction. Not only does the cloud deal with automating vast numbers of virtual data, it also abstracts it.
To me, the concept of "the cloud" is apathy. What server does your machine run on? What storage array(s) does the drive and your data live on? Who cares?
The cloud is not the sum of its parts. The cloud is the layer above that. It's the platform upon which your machines (and everyone else's) run. And as Brandon wrote, that platform is automated from top to bottom. It has to be, otherwise it doesn't work.