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Amazon EC2, Solaris 2.6, and the San Andreas Fault

As it turned out, the brilliance and competence of Amazon’s technocracy were no match for simple human error

As it turned out, the brilliance and competence of Amazon's technocracy were no match for simple human error. An incorrect manual update to the network set up a domino effect of Catch-22-esque compound failures to Amazon's EBS (Elastic Block Store) details of which can be found in a 6 page explanation the company offered last week.

Although cloud naysayers will no doubt try to make this event the poster child for Luddite agendas, it won't work. Data was lost. Business was lost. News was made. But overall, the fallout has not been too bad as users have quickly come forward to stand by Amazon and the choice to use its services.

And the risk was largely knowable. As Jason posted in an article On Cascading Failures and Amazon's Elastic Block Store "This is not a "speed bump" or a "cloud failure" or "growing pains", this is a foreseeable consequence of fundamental architectural decisions made by Amazon."

The gains surpassed the risk. And will continue to do so. Though still in its early stages, life in the cloud is really a lot more of a learning experience than it is an adventure. Everyone involved will continue to get a little wiser in the ways that only experience - usually bad ones - can confer on those gaining the wisdom.

As the only software vendor offering patented technology to virtualize Windows, Linux, and Solaris server applications - AppZero is a huge fan of all things cloud. We invite our customers to move their applications to and from datacenter and cloud(s) and cloud to cloud, with no lock-in. I've seen the hesitancy that comes from skepticism and trepidation as well as the high fives and smiles that accompany seeing and believing.

But here's something I've also seen that I will never understand: Organizations running very important (though not "mission critical") Solaris 2.6 applications on hardware that is past the hope of life support. The hardware will fail and take with it the applications. When I say, "It's not a matter of if ... it's when." I get knowing chuckles and head shakes as IT pros tell me how very right I am.

When I go on to tell them that AppZero software can encapsulate their Solaris 2.6 and 7 applications, pick them up, and deposit them on Solaris 10 and bright shiny, inexpensive, reliable machines, all without a line of code ... they are intrigued. Of course they are. Here's a very cost-effective solution to a guaranteed problem.

Okay.  So here's the question: Then why doesn't every one of them just jump up and sign on with AppZero? Human nature or human error? Have they lived so long in denial that they've crossed over into magical thinking, convinced that because it hasn't happened ... it won't? Or do they expect to be in new jobs before the when = now?

Cloud risks pale against cloud gain. Life on the San Andreas Fault brings a great lifestyle until the big one. But important apps on Solaris 2.6?  I don't have a clue so feel free to send me one. In the meantime, let's cloudify those Windows and Linux client/server apps - no code, no lock-in, no pain.

I am always looking for a way to communicate better and cut to the heart of any discussion. So, if you have thoughts on this subject, drop me a line at GregO {@} Appzero {dot} com or tweet me at http://twitter.com/gregoryjoconnor

Register to attend the May 12 Webinar, "ISVs: provision your app in a snap for labor-free PoCs"

Catch 22 for ISVs: Your money comes from selling software, not from demoing it or from proving the concept. But reality requires that you first do the labor-intensive, revenue-free work that is proof of concept (PoC) and demo. Give AppZero 30 minutes to show you how our patented software can strip the labor required to configure and implement your PoCs and demos - whether on site or in the cloud -- reducing the time from hours and days, to minutes. Join us May 12th at 1:00 to learn how to boost the bottom line without changing your business model or technology of choice. Register now>>

More Stories By Greg O'Connor

Greg O'Connor is President & CEO of AppZero. Pioneering the Virtual Application Appliance approach to simplifying application-lifecycle management, he is responsible for translating Appzero's vision into strategic business objectives and financial results.

O'Connor has over 25 years of management and technical experience in the computer industry. He was founder and president of Sonic Software, acquired in 2005 by Progress Software (PRGS). There he grew the company from concept to over $40 million in revenue.

At Sonic, he evangelized and created the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) product category, which is generally accepted today as the foundation for Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Follow him on Twitter @gregoryjoconnor.

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