The Cloud: Operations for the Lazy

Look, operations can be a lot of work if you’re doing it wrong. Nobody wants to do busy work. That’s why we invented computers and robotic servitors, right? [caption id=“attachment_986” align=“alignright” width=“416”]This is not a helpful robot This is not a helpful robot[/caption]

Being Lazy the Right Way

It’s said that laziness is one of the three great virtues of a programmer. But why let programmers have all the fun? Think about all the things that happen in operations that you wished you never had to do again. Make a list. Write that list down. Buy yourself a nice lunch if “making a list” is also on there. It’s important to make sure that you’re being lazy the right way. Don’t just stop going to work. Instead, figure out ways to do less work by cutting out the work that a computer or robot servant could do. If there’s no reason you’re doing something that a program could do, why do it? Obviously, we’ll have to write software right? WRONG!

The Cloud: Operations for the Lazy

Cloud computing is operations for the lazy. Hear me out, naysayers. Cloud computing lets you focus on the more important tasks in your job. Which of these is more important:

  • Getting that new server racked correctly and the ethernet cables are perfectly wrapped with cable ties.
  • Delivering a new application on time.

Focus on the important parts of the job and let the cloud do the rest. Operations for the lazy doesn’t mean that operations people aren’t needed. If anything, our skills become more important. We know how to do interesting things like automate server configuration, perform capacity planning, and consolidate workloads. When you’re paying by the hour for every CPU cycle and byte of RAM, these skills become incredibly important. And they’re a lot more interesting than installing patches. Even from a DBA’s perspective, we can be just as lazy as we want to be. If you need a custom HA/DR set up, you’re free to set up VMs to get exactly what you need. If you’d prefer that someone else manage it as long as they can meet your SLA, then you just pay for what you use. You can even add in additional hosted services without having to master the operations behind another complex database.

The Cloud: The Luxury of Choice

The other benefit of the cloud is that it gives you the luxury of choice. Operations people can pick and choose their level of involvement. Some applications may require a lot of careful patch planning and hands on operations - these applications can live on VMs. Other applications can be composed of hosted services. Hosted services let operations staff focus on more interesting things like use patterns and capacity planning. The cloud gives us a choice in how we deploy software - we can be as hands on or as hands off as we want to be. And, in many ways, just by using the cloud we’ve already made the first step to laziness - we don’t have to worry about physical servers any more.