Cloud Engineering – Introduction

The Cloud is a way of thinkingfeeling and implementing  platforms and software that enable us to move past the concerns of unitary machines and into those of autonomic services.

There are many blogs, books, talks and presentations which define ways to build a ‘cloud’ architecture for your services. Sadly most concentrate on how to work within one framework or another built by corporations trying to tie you to their way of thinking.

The cloud has always been much more than this. I speak of course of RackSpace, Amazon and any number of other ‘cloud’ providers. Put simply:

Neither virtualization nor tooling defines the Cloud

The plethora of tools and tooling frameworks which surround these group of companies is immense. All of them designed to fix the woeful inadequacies of the underlying platform when dealing with the Cloud idea.  These companies and their products have their place in the world and many a business owes them their existence and prosperity. However:

The general acceptance of a method of execution does not define the success of understanding of an idea.

These companies do not offer you access to a real cloud. They offer large-scale virtualization technologies which mimic what a cloud should do – it’s a bit like putting an after market exhaust and a dump valve on an on old Nissan. Sure it sounds good but you really won’t pull away from anything very fast at all.

The speed, ease, reliability and flexibility of deployment, scaling, monitoring and operation within these platforms is inadequate.

The idea isn’t to scale in 30 minutes. It’s to allow the machines to scale themselves within context and constraint within minutes of understanding the need to do so.

The idea isn’t for a humans or machines to watch simple statistics to aid decision-making. It’s to allow your services to gain a contextual understanding of each constituent part’s operation and allow the convergent intelligence inherent to make real-time decisions.

The idea isn’t to re-invent the wheel when it comes to deployment but to leverage decades of experience to make sure we move past this triviality and tackle the hard problems.

That’s impossible in most current ‘cloud’ platforms unless dealing with the most trivial of services.  The last decade of my professional life has been in one ‘cloud’ environment or another. Uniformly, all have failed to show any glimmer of real understanding of the Cloud idea. Till last year, but more on that later.

This is the small, gentle introduction to what will be a series showing you how to build a real cloud services architecture.

You’ll need a GitHub account, a Joyent public cloud account, a local CFEngine installation and some understanding of Python and Bash.

It will be fun, I hope you’ll join me .

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