Thursday, January 20, 2011

Holy Cloud Computing, Batman!

I have been spending the last couple of months working educating a client about cloud computing, building demos, and so on. If I hear another sales droid try to explain cloud computing in the terms of their products, I'll puke.

A couple of observations that most sales droids seem to not be aware of:
  1. Having VMWare installed is not cloud computing
  2. Oracle software (including WebLogic) is fundamentally incompatible with cloud computing

The above combination is a new term I'll post here: "Could Computing"

In other words, it's a waste of time and effort. Here I'll explain my assertions:

Cloud computing has nothing, in theory, to do with virtualization. It has to do with elastic, on-demand scaling for applications. Virtualization makes it easier. But even with virtualization any clouding effort will fail because of the achilles' heel of most organizations: configuration management.

Which leads me to explain my next assertion: Configuration management for Oracle products isn't just hard, it's damn hard. Look at the use cases at most of the Oracle shops: Servers are configured with IP addresses and not names, TNS Listeners are hard-coded with IP addresses and not names, and database configurations get incredibly complicated, very quickly. A lot of time (and money) is spent on "clustering" applications that should be running as independent parallel applications and load-balanced, but aren't because developers would rather code their customers or employers into a corner with massive, monolithic applications. This tends to derail the "clone and boot" methodology of elastic scaling (cloud computing) in most shops. Because of the effort involved in getting an Oracle database server up and running, and the effort to get something like WebLogic running, and have everything talking happily, the installations are static, rigid, and fragile.

Which explains why VMWare bought SpringSource: sell free stuff to companies who don't know any better. You're damn right I bought that stock.

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