Imagine browsing your favorite websites on your computer or playing a browser-based game when things start slowing down. You click the window in frustration hoping that the site responds, to no avail. Finally, the browser alerts you that something is making it run too slow and you need to reset it.
Public clouds are great for managing applications and data without the frustration and expense of supporting the underlying infrastructure. When I lease a car, I am able to use it for the standard tasks that I perform. Functionally, the car is able to do the same things as a vehicle that I could purchase. I can run errands, drive to work, or even take trips.
One of the main advantages of leasing the car is that when there is a problem or maintenance needs to be performed, I am not responsible. The automobile dealer where I leased the car from handles all of those tasks. Oil changes, filter replacements, and all significant work to keep the car running well is taken care of without my intervention beyond bringing the car in when requested.
Security is an ever-evolving concept in theory and application. It is important to deploy and leverage technologies that can adapt and change with our security models. In the technology world, when the networking and application protocols were initially developed, minimal thought was given to security. Protocols like Telnet, FTP, DNS, SMTP, and even HTTP were designed for function and user-experience, not integrity.
We build security solutions to protect our networks from the rest of the internet, but do we do anything to protect the network from our own employees and users? The first line of protection for your networks is not the firewall or other perimeter security device, it is the education and protection of the people that use the network. People are concerned about having their apartments or homes broken into so they put locks on the doors, install alarm systems, or put surveillance equipment like security cameras around the property. They are vigilant about making sure that an unauthorized intruder cannot enter the home easily without detection and alarms being raised.
The automobiles in the late 19th and early 20th century did not have a complex dashboard displaying a multitude of information like we have today. The industry was very young and the inventors and technologists focused on making sure that these ‘horseless carriages’ went from point A to point B. Builders and consumers did not have the time and capacity to incorporate extensive diagnostics and metrics to understand the state and performance of these vehicles.
As the automobile technologies matured, dashboards were put in place to give people information about how the vehicle was performing. Speedometers tell us how fast we are going. Oil and temperature gauges give us insight into the health of the engine. Air pressure monitors let us know when to add air to our tires. Today, we even have built-in compasses and GPS systems that can pinpoint our location on the planet within a few meters.
Don’t you hate it when you have a problem, but have no idea what is causing it? The water in my house stopped running recently. I have a well with a pump and a fairly complex system of pipes going through a water filtration and softening system. I had no idea why the water was not flowing, but it was obviously a major issue.
I checked the pipes and they all seemed ok. I cleaned the filter, and verified that the water filtration system was in good order. While I cannot physically inspect the pump because it is dozens of feet down a 4-inch well shaft, I did power-cycle it to ensure that it seemed to be working properly. Ultimately, I had to call a plumber/well specialist who, after inspecting the entire system, determined that my water pressure tank and switch needed to be replaced.
Playing a stringed musical instrument like a guitar means that the different strings need to be regularly adjusted to play the correct note. Guitar players tightened and loosened the strings to tune the guitar. The strings were tuned by ear, which meant that the person tuning the guitar had to know what sound each string had to make with considerable accuracy.
With modern technology, there are tuners that can generate tones so one no longer needs to know exactly what each note sounds like. And, today, there are tuners that will automatically adjust the tension in the string to create the right tone with no human intervention. This is a great benefit for guitar players because they like to play music, and not spend a lot of time and effort tuning their instrument every time they wanted to play.
Virtualization of the application environment is on every business’ mind. Terms like hypervisors, virtual machines, and software defined [insert your own popular term here: networks|data centers|storage] are being thrown around the technology industry like hot potatoes. While IT organizations focus on virtualizing specific applications, they often forget to see how this component fits into the overall trend to virtualize the entire IT infrastructure.
Everyone is forgetting to virtualize the most important element within the IT environment – the humans. Virtualization through cloud, software defined networking (SDN), and software defined data centers (SDDC) is the latest craze with internet architectures. IT organizations are moving away from proprietary hardware towards common off the shelf (COTS) platforms that can perform a variety of tasks.
The hardware and software have been virtualized, but the “humanware” is racing to catch up to support the capabilities of the virtual infrastructures. Manually manipulating the virtual networks with manual processes is not efficient. Organizations lose much of the benefits of these virtualized application delivery architectures when human-driven manual processes are still used to support them.
The last time I moved was 10 years ago. At the time, I told myself that this is the last time I am moving. The packing and relocation of my belongings was not too much trouble. The main problem is trying to get everything sorted out and put into their proper place in the new home.
When businesses migrate applications to the cloud, the process is similar. They are very familiar with the applications and their data. The problem is that they need to understand how the applications will behave in the new environment. Where does the data reside and how do the clients access the application’s new home?