The discipline of cloud
Cloud forces configuration management discipline.
As we shift more and more towards provisioning from images, rather than building operating systems from scratch, installing packages, and configuring everything, we move towards the holistic build becoming the norm — essentially, the virtual appliance. Tools companies like rPath and Elastra are taking slices of what should probably be part of broader run-book automation (RBA) solutions that embrace the cloud.
It represents a big shift in thinking for the enterprise. Dot-coms have long lived in the world of cloning being the provisioning norm, and have for years, because they’ve got horizontally-scalable apps for which they build servers by the pallet-load. Enterprises mostly haven’t made that shift yet, because most of what the enterprise is doing is still the one-off application that if you’re lucky, you will get them to deliver a server for in a couple of weeks, and if you’re not lucky, you’ll get sometime in the next nine months. In the dot-com world, it is not acceptable to have gestating an operational environment to take as long as gestating a human.
And that means that the enterprise is going to have to get out of doing the one-off, building machines from scratch, and letting app developers change things on the fly.