Day Two Cloud 102: KISS the Edge

When this whole cloud adoption craze started, sysadmins like me were thrown into a new world. Suddenly we had to contend with the cloud operating model where things were constantly shifting below our feet. Operations were more fast paced, infrastructure as code was a thing, scaling VMs was a thing, and what the hell is an object store? Let’s just say for anyone making the change, you may have encountered a fair amount of technical whiplash.

Then Kubernetes rolled onto the scene and once again the poor beleaguered sysadmin had to learn about containers, pods, mountains of YAML, and even more dynamic environments where a workload could just disappear at any moment. Trying times for those used to the gentle churn of on-premises VMs. And worse yet, K8s wasn’t just running in the cloud, it started infiltrating our cherished data centers. First it started as a side project or a collection of weird VMs that one of you business units asked for. Then VMware decided to integrate it directly into vSphere like it was a first class citizen. The gall!

And now we’ve got edge. Frankly, I think sysadmins have had enough. We don’t want another sea change where we have to deal with distributed computing that is truly distributed in tiny data centers peppered across a metro area. We learned your cloud and your IaC and your Kubernetes. Dammit, we are not learning whatever fresh hell comes with edge.

I suppose the good news is, we don’t have to.

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Day Two Cloud 101: Collaboration is the Thing

When I was in high school and college, we had to do a lot of group projects and I always loathed them. In part, it was because I like working on things by myself. But it was also because I knew I would end up leading the group and probably doing more work than anyone else. That’s not to brag, it has more to do with the fact that I didn’t trust anyone else to do a good enough job. In the years since, I’ve learned two important things.

  1. People on your team are going to be better at things than you.
  2. People on your team are going to know things you don’t.

As I moved into professional life, I finally realized what all those group projects were trying to tell me. As an individual contributor or someone in a leadership position, you are almost always going to be working in a group setting. And that’s because groups are more effective at getting things done than a single human — except for all you mythical 10x engineers out there.

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Day Two Cloud 100: Adding Complexity to Simplify

There’s a tension between consumers and producers created by the competing desires of each party. The producer wants to create something robust that meets the needs of 80% of consumers without being too complicated to produce and maintain. The consumer wants a service that meets 100% of their needs without being too complicated to consume and configure. Too meet the needs of 100% of consumers, the producer needs to add more complexity to a service to cover the remaining 20% of use cases. The new complexity will be unneeded and unwanted by many consumers, which leaves them annoyed that their simple service now is more complicated to consume and configure. The producers, likewise, now need to maintain a more complicated service that does more things. The alternative is to leave the service “incomplete”, frustrating potential consumers with a perceived lack of utility. For producers that choose not to ornament their product with every possible use case, a vacuum is created where a new service might be introduced to fulfill the needs of the 20%. Crossplane is that type of service.

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Day Two Cloud 099: Parallel Parking for the Cloud

Working in technology for any period of time shows you one thing, this stuff is complicated! There’s the often cited quote from Arthur C. Clarke regarding advanced technology and its apparent magical properties, begging the question, “Who are the magicians?” The answer is you. As a professional technologist, it is incumbent on you to present technology in such a way that all the rigging is hidden, the cards are tucked up your sleeves, and the hat appears to be empty.

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Day Two Cloud 098: Bill and Ted’s Cloud Center of Excellence

When I first heard the term Cloud Center of Excellence, I’m pretty sure I scoffed derisively. It struck me as similar to things like Six Sigma or ITIL, i.e. a process heavy construction that impeded any actual work from being done. My opinion of ITIL is fairly low, in no small part due to a project I worked on when I was consulting where the organization was ostensibly ITIL compliant. As far as I could tell, it didn’t make them any more efficient or well organized. It simply created a LOT more documents that no one would ever read unless they were trying to make a scapegoat out of someone else for not following procedure when things went south. Turns out I was wrong. About the Cloud Center of Excellence I mean, I’m still fairly certain ITIL is garbage.

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