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Cloud Snake Oil


Cloud Snake Oil

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Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Cloud Snake Oil

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Roseanne Winn
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On a related note: when a signup only requires a credit card, it's easy for one person to get started on a project, instead of sounding it out with colleagues first. I've seen a few times where co-workers are disconnected from (or unaware of!) the SaaS tools we are paying for.
Jeff Moden
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Heh... glad to see this article. I'd done some contract work for different companies where they contracted a "provider" for both hardware, SQL Server, and things like backups. None of the companies the contracted through even had a DBA on call never mind on site. The concept of RPO and RTO was inadequate (RPO = 1 week, RTO = 72 hours was the usual case) if it existed at all. Their supposed "automatic index maintenance" operations were accompanied by demands to increase expensive paid disk space to rebuild indexes on large tables with nary a suggestion to partition things like temporally based Audit Tables that were WORM in nature.

Snake Oil is a good term that I'd use in such cases although my original thought was Cloud = Smoke and Mirrors. I can certainly see uses for the Cloud and providers of hardware/SQL Server as the companies I described but it has to be done right. Unfortunately, a lot of people that enlist such services do so because they don't have the knowledge needed to stand up their own boxes and that also means they don't know what the providers actually need to provide.

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
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jasona.work
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The issue as I see it, from reading the article, is that the cloud provider was doing the minimum needed. Sure, backups were automatic, but it's up to the customer to look into them, realize that "hey, these backups are being put in *my* storage, and not getting cleaned up, come to think of it I don't see a way to set a retention policy anyways." Acceptable? Really, no. People look to the cloud as a sort of "fire and forget" system, setup your app / database / blog / etc and not worry about backups, hardware failures, patching, etc. But, it doesn't work that way. You need to find out what the backup policies are and decide if they're acceptable, if the policies regarding patching is acceptable (yesterday I read an article from someone who found out that to upgrade one of their Wordpress plugins, they needed a newer version of Java maybe. Cloud provider said "nope, not upgrading the system your on, you want the newer version pay us to move to a newer system.")

A while back we were looking at a cloud provider to migrate our systems to. When we asked about what was done as far as backups go, their system, while likely OK for a web or app server, was hilariously horrible for a database server. The "backup" system? Scheduled snapshots of the virtual machines. And, all they offered was IAAS (which is fine, it's what we're required to use, basically.)

People need to realize, the cloud providers are not there to make their lives easier by taking on all of the assorted sysadmin / DBA type work, they're there to make *money.* So the providers will give you only the service specified in their TOS / contract, and not one fraction more. So take the time to read through those terms, if possible get a lawyer to read them over, check their online documentation to check what they do / don't do (IE nightly backups with unlimited retention on your storage) then decide if they meet your needs.
Eric M Russell
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There is a lot of snake oil when it comes to the promotion of IoT, Big Data, and social media. It's the applications and the people behind them that have failed us, not the concept of cloud based computing itself.

Yes, to successfully move your solution from on-prem to a cloud platform requires retrofitting your application and even adopting some new design patterns. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Honestly, for many organizations, the cloud provider probably does a better job of disaster recovery and security than what they had been doing in-house with their their legacy application.
Even being forced to keep tabs on what resources your various projects and teams members and utilizing is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, does the accounting application really need to truncate and reload 2 TB of data at the end of every month, perhaps there is a more efficient way of doing that? It's sort of like when the government starts charging corporations for each ton of pollution they produce, and then corporations are incentivized to start inventing new ways to minimize pollution.


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Steve Jones
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jasona.work - Tuesday, April 24, 2018 7:32 AM
People need to realize, the cloud providers are not there to make their lives easier by taking on all of the assorted sysadmin / DBA type work, they're there to make *money.* So the providers will give you only the service specified in their TOS / contract, and not one fraction more. So take the time to read through those terms, if possible get a lawyer to read them over, check their online documentation to check what they do / don't do (IE nightly backups with unlimited retention on your storage) then decide if they meet your needs.

Like any business. They are in the business of profit. Some are better at customer service and trying to ensure they meet your needs. Some do the minimum. Getting referrals, understanding the experiences of others, these are just as valuable in the digital world as the analog world.


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jasona.work
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Steve Jones - SSC Editor - Tuesday, April 24, 2018 8:29 AM
jasona.work - Tuesday, April 24, 2018 7:32 AM
People need to realize, the cloud providers are not there to make their lives easier by taking on all of the assorted sysadmin / DBA type work, they're there to make *money.* So the providers will give you only the service specified in their TOS / contract, and not one fraction more. So take the time to read through those terms, if possible get a lawyer to read them over, check their online documentation to check what they do / don't do (IE nightly backups with unlimited retention on your storage) then decide if they meet your needs.

Like any business. They are in the business of profit. Some are better at customer service and trying to ensure they meet your needs. Some do the minimum. Getting referrals, understanding the experiences of others, these are just as valuable in the digital world as the analog world.

Any time discussion of "the cloud" comes up, I'm reminded of an XKCD cartoon from earlier this year...
It was a joke list of "major 2018 security vulnerabilities" and one of the items on the list? "Turns out the cloud is just other people's computers."

Which, really, is all the cloud is. So if people keep that in mind when they look at going to the "cloud," I suspect they'd be a bit more diligent in determining if a particular provider is going to meet their needs or not.
Rod
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Sounds like you're definitely further down this cloud road, then I am, Steve. Sage advise, thank you for sharing it!

Kindest Regards,Rod
Connect with me on LinkedIn.
Steve Jones
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jasona.work - Tuesday, April 24, 2018 8:46 AM
Which, really, is all the cloud is. So if people keep that in mind when they look at going to the "cloud," I suspect they'd be a bit more diligent in determining if a particular provider is going to meet their needs or not.

Wanna bet on that? Seen people look at auto mechanics or handymen? Despite the importance those tasks might mean for people?

I'd hope people did more due diligence, but wouldn't count on it. Why I wrote this to remind them.


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qbrt
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To me, a great value-add of the cloud is not having to deal with the hardware setup and not having to wait (sometimes weeks) on large corporate teams to stand up resources when one of my projects require it. Especially during the Dev and QA cycles. The project has the funds and so we can pull in the resources we need and move the project along. Once apps are production ready, well then all the concerns mentioned already come into play. I've seen the cloud services improve dramatically over the last five years. Still a long way to go. Like the billing and figuring out the real cost, ack. Still need more re-invention and innovation in this space. But, I think it is for the better. We'll get there eventually. Don't fight progress! Smile
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