Killing of the Cloud – Was It A Contract Killing?

Chalk OutlineThe forensic team are deployed, bunched around the body on the floor, trying to determine the cause of death. The body is of Cloud — a lot had hung on Cloud’s success. Over in the corner, Chief Tech “E” Nerd makes a pronouncement: “This was a contract killing”.

Sharp intakes of breath all round — how can “E” be so certain? What are the tell-tale signs that makes this a seemingly open and shut case? Let’s bring in the TV trick of a “shimmer” to go back in time….

Cloud had been brought into the organization to sweep away the old guard. The previous incumbent had been holding the business to ransom for years. It demanded ever higher payments, but never seemed to deliver on its promises. It had been time for a new play, and Cloud was seen as the one to do this.

In a rush of good feeling, the old was replaced with the new — a leaner operation, with less bloat; a more modern approach to how things should be done.

At first, everything seemed to go well. The organization found that it could get on with its day-to-day tasks without the IT platform stopping them. Those wanting to try things out found that resources were available to them – they could try something, and if it worked it could go live. If not, it could be moved to sleeping with the fishes and no-one need know anything more about it.

Slowly, though, Cloud had shown his true colors. He brought in his friends from outside — Public Cloud and Hybrid Cloud joined what the organization now knew was only one part of the group: the Cloud they knew was really “Private Cloud”. The three Clouds started to take over — and make demands.

Things slowed down. Any request to carry out an action had to go through a decision making process. The three Clouds argued as to whether the task should be carried out by their teams. Often, Public Cloud would win the argument, and yet his team was the slowest of the three — and with Private Cloud claiming ownership of the organization’s data, performance was poor, and the organization suffered.

The organization was back where it started — the great hope of a silver bullet had got bogged down in the inertia of a mixed environment with little intelligence in where things should best be done. Governance had taken a big step backwards because discipline was an early casualty.

“Shimmer” over — back to the present.

“E” saw the signs of this descent into Cloud chaos. Around the body, monitors were lit up with red; trouble tickets stamped “unresolved” littered the ground. How could it all have gone so badly wrong?

“E” recognized that the issue was not with the three Clouds, but how they should work together, harmoniously. Without a common language around each other’s strengths and weaknesses, the Cloud family was always doomed to be a failure. Public Cloud was certain that his way was always going to be the answer, whereas Private Cloud believed that only he could cover security — Hybrid Cloud stood little chance of brokering deals between them.

If only they had agreed contracts with each other beforehand — been able to rapidly and effectively ask questions, such that if the organization needed this task or process to be done, they would have been able to figure out the best mix of Clouds to enable this to happen. It wasn’t quite as “E” had said — it wasn’t a contract killing, it was the lack of contracts that did it for Cloud.

To make cloud computing work well for an organization, some means of managing workloads in an intelligent and effective manner is required. Companies such as Egenera with its PAN Manager and VMTurbo with its Operations Manager are working towards providing such tools. IBM, within its Pure Systems and EMC with its ViPR concept are also looking at how the right workload can be in the right place at the right time.

When bringing the Clouds into your organization — make sure that you give them the right tools.  We don’t want another Cloud killing.

About the author
Clive Longbottom