Monday, March 31, 2014

RIP Server - Rise of the Service

I woke up this morning to an article written by Peter Coffee - RIP, the server. It's time to breathe the air of cloud connection.

It's definitely a sensational eye-ball catching headline when you read "RIP, the server." You immediately think, "Did Peter just say the server is dead?!" ... and certainly many of the readers did as you browse through the comments.

  • "Excuse me, but what else is the Cloud made of but servers!"
  • "Last time I checked, "the cloud" was running on servers...and lots of them"
  • "What does he think those Cloud environments run on....air?"
  • "you idiot. the cloud runs on servers."
  • "the moron who wrote this doesn't know tech. Cloud is a bunch of servers -_-"

Of course servers aren't dead. This is the challenge when a visionary piece hits the street and lands in a zombie herd of technical people. (Sorry too much Walking Dead last night) :-) ) Big shifts in how we do things don't happen overnight. They happen slowly, and while you're buried in your day to day tactical activities you can't see the shift. You poke your head up from time to time and "poo-poo" anyone that says something different from the way you are doing it. 

Back in the early 80's, I was a BBS kid. I grew up on 300/1200 baud modems and trading software on underground BBS's. One night while browsing through the boards I can across a file name "Madonna_Like_A_Virgin_Digitized.sound" ... well not exactly, this was early 80's so it was probably named MDLKVIRG.IFF .. don't you all miss the 8.3 days ? :-) Anyway, it was a HUGE file at the time and was going to take all night to download. I setup my YMODEM transfer and went to bed. (I actually worked with Ward Christensen later at IBM - It was kind of a big deal to meet him)

The next morning I woke up, super excited to play the file. I loaded it up, pressed play, and for a full 10 seconds I could barely make out the screeching and scratching over the PC speakers of Madonna singing Like a Virgin. It sounded like shit. I remember banging my fist on my homemade computer desk and screaming "Who the F#!K is going to do this?!"

Fast forward 10 years. I'm now a co-op at IBM. Taking classes part time and working mostly full time. This was the early 90's. We were college students on a corporate network in the early days of the internet. What do you think we were doing? Yup, downloading files from sites we shouldn't have been visiting ... hello newsgroups, and hello no filters and firewalls. One of the brighter amongst our group, name of Steve McKay (hopefully some statute of limitations has passed), came running down the hall to show us the .MP2 files he had just burned to a CD. You have to remember during this time CD burners cost $600 and media was $20 each. You had to be careful to not do anything else on your PC while burning a CD, or you made a $20 coaster.

I shrugged, "Hmmm, music files. I've seen these before. How many can you fit on the CD? ... only 20? ... How much to burn the CD? ... I can only play them from this application, I can't play them in a *regular* CD player? ... That's interesting, but who the F#!K is going to do this?! .. I can buy a music CD for $10."

It was only a few short years later that .MP3 was out, costs came down, and digital music was everywhere. Plus you have to remember that Apple had not even entered the market. Yet another lesson that you don't have to be first to be best.

Why did I tell this story?

First to remind myself to not get too old and crusty in my thinking and stop yelling "Get off my lawn!" Secondly, IMO Peter is trying to make people think to the future and much larger implications. He used some analogies that gave some knee-jerk reactions the comments, but if you stop and think, he's on to something.

I'm less and less competing with HP, Dell, Lenovo (the artist formerly known as IBM System x) and more and more with Amazon, Rackspace, Google, etc. My customers want services, not servers. Where I used to be competing against other hardware manufacturers on the best MS Exchange design and the merits of my technical solution, I'm now losing the whole deal to Office 365. Peter is simply pointing out new choices where customers can deploy their applications and services. Does it cost more in the public cloud now? ... Can you build a private cloud better? ... What about hybrid solutions? Questions that have certain answers now, but different answers in the future.

Lots of things to think about, instead of simply saying, "Hey you idiot, servers run the cloud." That's not really the point.

But then again, what the hell do I know? I "poo-poo'd" digital music not once, but twice.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Support our troops through Operation Supply Drop

What is Operation Supply Drop?
Operation Supply Drop (OSD) is a military gaming 501(c)(3) charity designed to build video game filled care packages for soldiers (America and Her Allies) both deployed forward to combat zones as well as those recovering in military hospitals.
Now you might be asking yourself, "wait a minute .... how the heck does giving video games to the troops help them?" You've got to remember the ages of these men and women who are serving us. They've grown up with gaming and games promote teamwork and camaraderie, as well as help combat the stress and boredom that comes with a deployment.
I've never been much of a fund raiser type of guy, but I know with your support, you can help me raise a simple personal goal of $500.
I'm also impressed with Operation Supply Drop's mission. It started with one man and a simple crazy idea, but they now have a much bigger goal to help the troops after deployment. Read about it directly from the website :
As the United States and her allies end of formal combat operations and continue the full transition of authority to the Afghan government scheduled in 2015, OSD will also transition from wartime to peacetime support of the military. This involves increased on-base activities stateside, further supply drops to peacekeeping and humanitarian missions worldwide, as well as OSD's newest initiative, the "Thank You Deployment" (kicking off mid-2014).
In the future, OSD will continue to act as an intermediary between video game developers/publishers and the United States military, working with soldiers leaving the service, into adult education programs to facilitate them into entry-level gaming developer jobs.
So join me in helping our troops. Thanks!
One Team, One Fight!
Donate directly by clicking here