For several years now, I have been a customer of Amazon Web Services (AWS) using S3 (Storage) and a couple development / test servers. Because of this, I thought I knew what it was all about.
A few weeks back I attended a training session on the AWS platform, and I must say:
The more I saw, the more I realized I know so very little…
This is exciting and mind-opening!
This was one of those single and very rare moments, where you say to yourself: ” I am seeing the future, and it is already here…. I have been talking about this ‘sh…tuff’ as if it was in the near future, when in reality it is very real and in the here and now…
Wow — What an incredible platform Amazon has build, and there is no end-in sight!
I have been preaching “Infrastructure-as-a-Service” and “Applications -as-a-Service” for much of my professional life. I have helped organizations move to highly virtualized infrastructures, and seen the benefits of it along the way…
Back in 2009 we ran across a company which offered a service where you draw your desired infrastructure in a Visio-like diagram and after accepting the estimated monthly price, within a hours you will get back all of your IP_addresses and access codes for the items you requested.
AWS is well beyond that. It is the next level… but it requires a different mind-set…
Infrastructure as SOFTWARE…
Organizations can now treat hardware in the same way in which they treat code (software) where independent dynamic components work together to create the desired outcome (aka service). Each complete version (hardware, software, configuration) can be version-ed, and “replicated” or recalled at any time. And I do not mean just single servers, but entire infrastructures with security, internal network connectivity (vLANS), scale up/out and down depending on workflows and rule-based logic, content / database replication, traffic monitoring and adjustments, etc, etc, etc..
Literally — code!
Beyond the Obvious…
The cost savings are clear…
- No need for organizations to initiate large capital purchase of hardware or software to cover not only the baseline but also the demand spikes.
- Saving on related setup integration / testing services for the infrastructure.
- Data center / co-hosting space and associated costs.
- Technical staff to maintain the base environment.
But what is not usually clear are the intangibles:
- Security is far better than anything you could define and keep internally.
- Ability to make changes/adjustments quickly and efficiently (agility & flexibility)
- Ability to (have) feasible back-out procedure
- Disaster Recovery handling
A different mind set is needed… Everyone in the information technology management field needs to look closely at what they do… from technology consultants to technical architects, from technology managers to CIOs..
The fact that the cost barriers for large complex systems have been shattered, allows to focus on proper component design (with security and independence in mind)
It is very exciting times again for the future of Technology… We are at a cross-roads similar to when the personal-computer (1981) or later the Internet (1991) were introduced to the masses. It existed in limited formats, but when out-of-the closet and mass-adopted it revolutionize the world we live in…
Traditional technology infrastructure build-ups (including in-house virtual infrastructures) are as obsolete as mainframes, mini-computers, vaccuum tubes, horse-carriages. Yes they will continue to exist in limited and/or specialized formats, but for the vast majority of enterprises, they will need to change, or forced to change.