Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Built for operations (update 1)

We've previously touched on the trend of operations having an impact on application architecture. Up to this point, the shift towards being "built for operations" manifested itself as subtle organic changes that differed from organization to organization. If you stood back far enough, you can see it as an unmistakable trend but there hasn't been a common driving force.

The rise of Amazon Web Services, specifically EC2, is a remarkable force that could result in a sea change in the average developer's assumptions. For example, why do you need persistent local storage on any one machine? In EC2, if you shut off a machine you lose everything on it that isn't part of the template image used to instantiate it. I can't get that instance back but I can instantly launch a dozen clones from the same "birth state". Whoooah... that's just a little bit different now, isn't it?

Local writes are lost? Servers are completely built from templates? Launch fully operational clones with the push of a button? The implications of these three simple concepts alone are enough to blow a lot of people's mental gaskets.

Everyone gives Amazon props for cheap on-demand infrastructure hosting. Perhaps Amazon should get a bit more credit for pushing the art of systems architecture and management forward in a very public and massively appealing way.


Alex Honor said...

And all this is further evidence that a specification driven deployment process is needed to maintain such a dynamic infrastructure.

buzina said...

Thanks for the thoughts. You have opened my mind for the next step of operations standardization. Learn from the cloud.

This may interest you on this topic, some of my thoughts the amazon way may change the operations world.