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BLOG: How IT can learn to stop worrying and love the cloud

Andrew C. Oliver | July 12, 2013
PaaS speeds dev times and lowers risk for new apps — so why does so much IT bureaucracy stand in the way?

I asked Sacha whether developers are a driving force toward adoption: "It depends. If you look at who the big proponents of PaaS are, they will all be developers. Now that doesn't mean that all developers are big proponents of PaaS, and the reason for that is, again, you have to look at how people behave. And I think a lot of developers are kind of control freaks. They've been used to using Tomcat 7.0.36 with that JVM, with this, with that, and then suddenly you're telling them: 'Well, you can still control that issue, but really that's more of an exception. The default is to trust us, to focus on your application, and close your eyes, it's gonna be fine.'

"That freaks out a number of people, so typically it takes them to try a few projects, see where it works, where it doesn't work, why it doesn't work, could it be improved, but it takes a bit of learning to kind of relax and let it go."

All of this reminds me of the late '90s when marketing would outsource Microsoft ASP projects that were a royal mess — then dump them on core IT for maintenance. I asked Sacha how we can have our PaaS and faster IT without ending up with a tangle of an architecture — basically a bunch of disparate PaaS and IaaS deployments that don't share data, require separate logins, and reflect no coherent picture of the business.

Sacha's answer: This is where core IT comes in. "To me, this is a new role of IT. I know IT is not going to be focused on cabling systems and setting IT addresses tomorrow. What I also know is that IT is not going to disappear. What is the job of IT? The job of IT is to step up and defend the assets of the company, and they have to make sure they keep a well-architected map of our system. They are the maintainer of that map."

Defeating the legions of the Bastard Operator from Hell
I like getting Sacha's goat. It has something to do with his thick Swiss accent and tendency to be politically correct. I asked Sacha how developers can help drive cloud adoption and defeat the evil forces of the Bastard Operator from Hell.

"I think the first thing to do is to just give it a try. I'm surprised and amazed at how many people have an opinion on this without even trying it. They're like the best conspiracy theorists out there, right? 'I'm sure you can't do that' — why not just give it a try? Also, maybe this is a European behavior, but I see a lot of people trying to take a horribly sophisticated project. 'OK, to make sure it works, I'm going to take a project with that type of database, with that type of high-level requirements, that piggybacks...'


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