May 10, 2012

Five ways cloud is like coffee

Ansley Kilgore

Five ways cloud is like coffee1. You rarely like the first taste.

My first drink of coffee was straight black, without cream or sugar. It was the nastiest thing I ever tasted. Even with cream and sugar, it is definitely an acquired taste. Cloud is very much the same way. If you’ve been running physical servers, you have certain performance expectations, and cloud might not come through in the same way. But once you get past that first taste and better understand it, you’ll start to like it. Just don’t pour cream and sugar into your cloud. That would not be good.

2. Once you start using it regularly, you’re addicted.

Caffeine is an addictive substance and causes your body to crave it. The more you drink it, the more you need it. Likewise, once you start learning how to move workloads into the cloud, you start to like the “on-demand” nature of it. Servers that once took days to install now take mere minutes. Software that took substantial configuration can be cloned and imaged for exact copies across multiple servers. You start showing off how quickly you can get that application up and running, and next thing you know… you want to use the cloud for EVERYTHING!

3. Too much will make you jittery.

I occasionally drink too much coffee. Actually, I do it all the time. Coffee jitters are a bummer. So are cloud jitters. Once you’ve moved all your servers into a public cloud, you start to wonder if your cloud provider is going to have an outage. You get nervous about security. You no longer have physical access to your environment. You start thinking it’s all a mistake. Your hands start shaking, your voice trembles and you’re a nervous wreck. You get jumpy when someone at the water cooler asks you how all the migrations are going. Why? Did something just go down? Is something not working right? Did I remember to turn off the dev server that I’m paying for hourly? You can reduce the jitters by keeping your cloud consumption down. Before you buy too much, figure out how much you really need. Figure out what you can offload to the cloud and what you need to keep with a service provider (or in-house) where you have more control. This will reduce the uncertainty and the jitters.

4. You won’t know if you like the new variety until you taste it.

At home, I buy whole bean coffee and grind it up in small batches. When I find a particular roast I like, I tend to drink the same type for a long time. But every once in a while, I need to change it up. What to choose? Colombian? Hawaiian Kona? Guatemalan? French Roast? I don’t know if I’m going to like the one I’m about to buy. It usually turns out to be pretty good. After you get the cloud jitters (see above), you might be tempted to switch. But which one? Will it support your applications? How quickly can new instances come online? Can you use your current images, or do you have to make new ones? Does it handle volumes the same way? Will its storage model fit your requirements? It’s enough to give you hesitation, but once you give the new one a try, you might just like the flavor.

5. You can get it anywhere, anytime.

You can’t throw a brick without hitting a Starbucks®. There are also a number of other coffee chains, independent coffee shops, gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. There is absolutely no reason to be without access to coffee, ever. Likewise, you can get your cloud fix anytime you need it. On-demand network access to infrastructure and applications gives you round-the-clock cloud resources from anywhere you have an Internet connection. If you are near a human population, there is no reason to be without access to your cloud service while you sip your coffee.

Coffee is a commodity product, and so is cloud. But while you can buy coffee anywhere, the best tasting coffee comes from a premium roaster, who obtains and roasts the best beans. Likewise, you can get cloud anywhere, but you’ll really appreciate the premium taste from a top-notch cloud service provider.

Enjoy a cup of coffee, and try some cloud today!

For more information on determining if cloud is right for you, download our eBook, The Top 5 Mistakes You Want to Avoid When Becoming a Cloud Superhero.

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Ansley Kilgore

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