Head in the Sand About Cloud: Part 1
January 30, 2019 | Networks
A recent argument on Twitter (“What?!” I can hear you exclaim, “People disagree on Twitter? This cannot be true!”) highlighted for me just how persistent people can be in holding on to outmoded beliefs, despite the overwhelming preponderance of evidence to the contrary ("WHAT!!” I can hear you exclaim even more loudly, clutching your pearls as you shriek, “People on Twitter won’t listen to reason or recognize facts? What has this world come to??”). No, this discussion wasn’t about the usual topics that passionate people argue over—important topics like, “Who is the greatest starship captain?” (Malcolm Reynolds) or “How does one properly pronounce ‘gif’?” (hard ‘g’ as in “gift” or, more relevantly, Graphics interchange format). No, this was a debate about something significantly less urgent: cloud computing and specifically Microsoft’s role in its ongoing adoption and use. Before I continue, I’d like to be crystal clear: this series is not about shaming any specific individual. I’ve seen the opinions they expressed repeated uncountable times across social media, in forums, at conventions, and in the hallways and meeting rooms of businesses where I consult. So, if it seems like I’m avoiding specifics to protect the speaker, that’s true, but only because the speaker could be (and likely has been) many of us, at one time or another. It began as a social media post from someone promoting a talk they will be giving, a talk which would feature a tour of Microsoft’s Azure cloud offerings. Somewhat unexpectedly, one especially vehement skeptic responded to the thread. “I’m really sick and tired of hearing about Azure. I get it. You want everyone to be paying you monthly.” The original poster—the person who was giving this talk—responded amicably, if somewhat sarcastically, “Yearly works also. Or pay as you go. Or use the free tier. But this talk is mostly about code and open source frameworks.” To which the skeptic replied, “I can’t remember the last time I watched or attended a Microsoft presentation where every example or demo didn’t run in the cloud. Also, why does Microsoft feel the need to have their stuff run on Apple or Linux?” And, as is the way on the internet, we were off to the races. In writing this post, my focus is not to argue, point-for-point, every statement the skeptic made. That would be unfair since they’re not part of this conversation. Instead, my aim is to highlight the anti-patterns in thinking that sometimes trip up IT practitioners as we navigate the ever-changing landscape of technology: differentiating between the empty hype of vaporware, compelling solutions which (inexplicably) never capture market share, and the true sea-changes in technology which occur but are rare.