Don’t bet too soon on the hot cloud technologies

Microservices, devops, containers, machine learning, and the rest are all great ideas, but you can’t just jump into them

Don’t bet so soon on the cloud buzzwords
Thinkstock

We all know what’s cool now in the cloud: microservices, devops, containers, and machine learning. It’s what guys like me are writing and speaking about. However, the overapplication of these technologies could end up hurting you greatly. Here’s why.

On one hand, I want to promote the use of new technology, such as cloud computing and containers. But, on the other hand, I need to have a good understanding of what business problems my clients are looking to solve, to determine the correct application of any technology, new, old, hyped, taken for granted, whatever. 

What typically happens is that the people looking to move into cloud are up on all the hyped technologies. It’s like shopping for a new car: You can have a pretty long list what you think you need: self-parking, heated seats, bending lights, voice assistance, childproof seating, maybe short-range flight.

But unlike the case with a car, you have legacy to deal with when you move to the cloud. Your applications are old, and many are so poorly structured, that they have no hope of running in containers or using a microservices architecture. Moreover, they typically present a huge layer of security and performance issues to solve before you can even think of moving them to the cloud.

This situation is the reality at about half the enterprises out there. So, those companies need to spend the first few years focusing on the fundamentals such as application design, database design, security, and performance—that old-timey boring stuff. But many companies jump right into whatever new technology that they view will be their savior and end up face-planting in just a year or so.

That “prepare first” path to the cloud is easy to understand, but often much harder to accept—and harder to do for three reasons:

  • First, you need to understand your own business and technology requirements, both now and into the future.
  • Second, you need to understand your current state.
  • Third, you need to define you future desired state and the path to get there, including any enabling technology you’ll need (whatever that technology is, and no matter if it’s been featured in the latest tech pubs).

The reality is that most of the technologies hyped today won’t become standard for years. That’s okay—you can start thinking about how you might take advantage of them one day. But in the meantime, you need to move forward with clear purpose. First crawl, then walk, then run, then think about competing in the Olympics.

Related: