|By Greg Schulz||
|August 1, 2013 11:15 AM EDT||
In case you missed it, recently the State of Oregon had a data center computer problem (ok, storage and application outage) that resulted in unemployment benefits not being provided. Tony Knotzer over at Network Computing did a story Oregon Storage Debacle Highlights Need To Plan For Failure and asked me for some perspectives that you can read here.
The reason I bring this incident up is not to join in the feeding frenzy that usually occurs when something like this happens, instead, to touch on what should be common. What is lacking at times (or more needed) is common sense when it comes to designing and managing flexible scalable data infrastructures.
|“Fundamental IT 101 is that all technology will fail, despite what the vendors tell you,” Schulz said. And the most likely time technology will fail, he notes, is when people are involved -- doing configurations, making changes or updates, or performing upgrades. - Via Network Computing|
Note that while any technology can or has fail at some point, how it fails along with fault containment via design best practices and vendor resolution are important.
Good vendors learn and correct things so that they don't happen again as well as work with customers on best practices to isolate and contain faults from expanding into disasters. Thus when a sales or marketing person tries to tell me that they have never had a failure I wonder if a: they are making something up, b: have not actually shipped to a customer in production, c: not aware of other deployments, d: towing the company line, e: too good to be true or f: all the above.
On the other hand, when a vendor tells me how they have resiliency in their product as well as processes, best practices and can even tell me (public or under NDA) how they have addressed issues, then they have my attention.
A common challenge today is cost cutting along with focus on the newest technology from servers to storage, networking to cloud, virtualization and software defined among other buzzword bingo themes and trends.
What also gets overlooked as mentioned above is common sense.
Perhaps if somebody could package and launch a good public relations campaign profiling common sense such as Software Defined Common Sense (SDCS) that might help?
On the other hand, similar to public service announcements (PSA) that may seem like common sense to some, there is a reason they are being done. That is to pass on the information to others who may not know about it thus lack what is perceived as common sense.
Lets get back to the state of Oregon's computer systems issues and the blame game.
You know the blame game? That is when something happens or does not happen as you want it to simply find somebody else to blame or pivot and point a finger elsewhere.
While perhaps good for CYA, the blame games usually does not help to prevent something happening again, or in the first place.
Hence in my comments about the state of Oregon computer storage system problems, I took the tone of what is common these days of no fault, shared responsibility and blame.
In other words does not matter who did what first or did not do, both sides could have prevented it.
For some this might resonate of it does not matter who misbehaved in the sandbox or play room, everybody gets a time out.
This is not to say that one side or the other has to assume or take on more blame or responsibility than the other, rather there is a shared responsibility to look out for each other.
Just like when you drive a car, the education focus is on defensive safe driving to watch out for what the other person might do or not do (e.g. use turn signals or too busy to look in a mirror while talking or texting and driving among other things). The goal is to prevent accidents by watching out for those who are not taking responsibilities for themselves, not to mention learning from others mishaps.
Working together vs. the blame game
Different views of customer vs. vendor
Having been a customer, as well as a vendor in the past not surprisingly I have some different views on this.
Sure the customer or client is always right, however sometimes there needs to be unpleasant conversations to help the customer help themselves, or keep themselves out of trouble.
Likewise a vendor may also take the blame when something does go wrong, even if it was entirely not their own fault just to stay in good graces with the customer or get that next deal.
Sometimes a vendor deserves to get beat up when something goes wrong, or at a least tell their story including if needed behind closed doors or under NDA. Likewise to have a meaningful relationship or partnership with the vendor, supplier or VAR, there needs to be trust and confidence which means not everything gets put out for media or blog venues to feed on.
Sure there is explaining what happened without spin, however there is also learning from mistakes to prevent them from happening which should be common sense. If part of that sharing of blame and responsibility requires being not in public that's fine, as well as enough information of what happened is conveyed to clarify concerns and create confidence.
With vendor lockin, when I was a customer some taught that it's the vendors fault (or for CYA, blame them), as a vendor the thinking was enforced that the customer is always right and its the competition who causes lockin.
As an analyst advisory consulting, my thinking not surprisingly is that of shared responsibility.
This means only you can allow vendor lockin, not to mention decide if lockin is bad or not.
Likewise only you can prevent data loss in cloud, virtual or traditional environments which also includes loss of access.
Granted somebody higher up the organization structure may over-ride you, however ask yourself if you did what was needed?
Likewise if a vendor is going to be doing some maintenance work in the middle of the week and there is a risk of something happening, even if they have told or sold you there is no single point of failure (NSPOF), or non disruptive upgrades.
Anytime there is a person involved regardless of if hardware, cables, software, firmware, configurations or physical environments something can happen. If the vendor drops the ball or a cable or card or something else and causes an outage or downtime, it is their responsibility to discuss those issues. However it is also the customers responsibility to discuss why they let the vendor do something during that time without taking adequate precautions. Likewise if the storage system was a single point of failure for an important system, then there is the responsibility to discuss the cost cutting concerns of others and have them justify why a redundant solution is not needed (that's CYA 101 btw ).
Some other common sense tips
For some these might be familiar and if so, are they being done, and for others, perhaps they are new or revolutionary.
In the race to jump to a new technology or vendor, what are the unknowns? For example you may know what the issues or flaws are in an existing systems, solution, product, service or vendor, however what about the new one? Will you be the production beta customer and if so, how can you mitigate any risk?
Ask vendors tough, yet fair questions that are relevant to your needs and requirements including how they handle updates, upgrades and other tasks. Don't be afraid to go under NDA if needed to get a better view of where they are at, have been and going to avoid surprises.
If this is not common IT sense, then take the responsibility to learn.
On the other hand, if this is common sense, take the responsibility to share and help others learn what it is that you know.
Also understand your availability needs and wants as well as balance those with costs along with risks. If something can go wrong it will if people are involved, thus design for resiliency including maintenance to offset applicable threat risks. Remember in the data center not everything is the same.
Here is my point.
There is enough blame as well as accolades to go around, however take some shared responsibility and use it wisely.
Likewise in the race to cut cost, watch out for causing problems that compromise your information systems or services.
Look into removing complexity and costs without compromise which has long-term benefits vs. simply cutting costs.
Here are some related links and perspectives:
Don't Let Clouds Scare You Be Prepared
Cloud conversation, Thanks Gartner for saying what has been said
Cloud conversations: Gaining cloud confidence from insights into AWS outages (Part II)
Make Your Company Ready for the Cloud
What do you do when your service provider drops the ball
People, Not Tech, Prevent IT Convergence
Pulling Together a Converged Team
Speaking of lockin, does software eliminate or move the location of vendor lock-in?
Ok, nuff said for now, what say you?
All Comments, (C) and (TM) belong to their owners/posters, Other content (C) Copyright 2006-2013 StorageIO All Rights Reserved
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Feb. 13, 2016 03:45 AM EST Reads: 241
Father business cycles and digital consumers are forcing enterprises to respond faster to customer needs and competitive demands. Successful integration of DevOps and Agile development will be key for business success in today’s digital economy. In his session at DevOps Summit, Pradeep Prabhu, Co-Founder & CEO of Cloudmunch, covered the critical practices that enterprises should consider to seamlessly integrate Agile and DevOps processes, barriers to implementing this in the enterprise, and pr...
Feb. 13, 2016 03:00 AM EST Reads: 462
In a previous article, I demonstrated how to effectively and efficiently install the Dynatrace Application Monitoring solution using Ansible. In this post, I am going to explain how to achieve the same results using Chef with our official dynatrace cookbook available on GitHub and on the Chef Supermarket. In the following hands-on tutorial, we’ll also apply what we see as good practice on working with and extending our deployment automation blueprints to suit your needs.
Feb. 13, 2016 03:00 AM EST
If we look at slow, traditional IT and jump to the conclusion that just because we found its issues intractable before, that necessarily means we will again, then it’s time for a rethink. As a matter of fact, the world of IT has changed over the last ten years or so. We’ve been experiencing unprecedented innovation across the board – innovation in technology as well as in how people organize and accomplish tasks. Let’s take a look at three differences between today’s modern, digital context...
Feb. 13, 2016 02:45 AM EST Reads: 245
The principles behind DevOps are not new - for decades people have been automating system administration and decreasing the time to deploy apps and perform other management tasks. However, only recently did we see the tools and the will necessary to share the benefits and power of automation with a wider circle of people. In his session at DevOps Summit, Bernard Sanders, Chief Technology Officer at CloudBolt Software, explored the latest tools including Puppet, Chef, Docker, and CMPs needed to...
Feb. 13, 2016 02:30 AM EST Reads: 368
Sensors and effectors of IoT are solving problems in new ways, but small businesses have been slow to join the quantified world. They’ll need information from IoT using applications as varied as the businesses themselves. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Meike, Distinguished Engineer, Director of Technology Innovation at Intuit, showed how IoT manufacturers can use open standards, public APIs and custom apps to enable the Quantified Small Business. He used a Raspberry Pi to connect sensors...
Feb. 13, 2016 02:30 AM EST Reads: 366
Let’s face it, embracing new storage technologies, capabilities and upgrading to new hardware often adds complexity and increases costs. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Seth Oxenhorn, Vice President of Business Development & Alliances at FalconStor, will discuss how a truly heterogeneous software-defined storage approach can add value to legacy platforms and heterogeneous environments. The result reduces complexity, significantly lowers cost, and provides IT organizations with improved effi...
Feb. 13, 2016 12:45 AM EST Reads: 273
Data-as-a-Service is the complete package for the transformation of raw data into meaningful data assets and the delivery of those data assets. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lakshmi Randall, an industry expert, analyst and strategist, will address: What is DaaS (Data-as-a-Service)? Challenges addressed by DaaS Vendors that are enabling DaaS Architecture options for DaaS
Feb. 12, 2016 09:45 PM EST Reads: 386
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...
Feb. 12, 2016 09:00 PM EST Reads: 134
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint Systems, Inc., a provider of innovative web and infrastructure monitoring solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit at 18th Cloud Expo New York, which will take place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into customer-critical services to help consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed...
Feb. 12, 2016 06:00 PM EST Reads: 404
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
Feb. 12, 2016 04:30 PM EST Reads: 192
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Feb. 12, 2016 04:15 PM EST Reads: 432
Microservices are all the rage right now — and the industry is still learning, experimenting, and developing patterns, for successfully designing, deploying and managing Microservices in the real world. Are you considering jumping on the Microservices-wagon? Do Microservices make sense for your particular use case? What are some of the “gotchas” you should be aware of? This morning on #c9d9 we had experts from popular chat app Kik, SMB SaaS platform Yodle and hosted CI solution Semaphore sha...
Feb. 12, 2016 03:30 PM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Feb. 12, 2016 02:15 PM EST Reads: 455
Microservices are a type of software architecture where large applications are made up of small, self-contained units working together through APIs that are not dependent on a specific language. Each service has a limited scope, concentrates on a specific task and is highly independent. This setup allows IT managers and developers to build systems in a modular way. In his book, “Building Microservices,” Sam Newman said microservices are small, focused components built to do a single thing very w...
Feb. 12, 2016 02:00 PM EST
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Feb. 12, 2016 01:00 PM EST Reads: 236
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
Feb. 12, 2016 12:30 PM EST Reads: 120
CIOs and those charged with running IT Operations are challenged to deliver secure, audited, and reliable compute environments for the applications and data for the business. Behind the scenes these tasks are often accomplished by following onerous time-consuming processes and often the management of these environments and processes will be outsourced to multiple IT service providers. In addition, the division of work is often siloed into traditional "towers" that are not well integrated for cro...
Feb. 12, 2016 12:00 PM EST Reads: 505
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Feb. 12, 2016 11:45 AM EST Reads: 458
In most cases, it is convenient to have some human interaction with a web (micro-)service, no matter how small it is. A traditional approach would be to create an HTTP interface, where user requests will be dispatched and HTML/CSS pages must be served. This approach is indeed very traditional for a web site, but not really convenient for a web service, which is not intended to be good looking, 24x7 up and running and UX-optimized. Instead, talking to a web service in a chat-bot mode would be muc...
Feb. 12, 2016 11:30 AM EST Reads: 305