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Wise and Foolish Builders

by Administrator on October 30, 2012

Far be it from me to advance religious doctrine.  After all, I am a perfect Catholic – which means that I really don’t need to practice much anymore.

However, watching the devastation brought by Frankenstorm Sandy last night and today, I found myself recalling some sage wisdom from the Good Book.  Specifically, Matthew 7:24-27:

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

This advice, it occurs to me, is not just relevant to homebuilding, but to building just about anything, including IT.

Replace “sand” with “server hypervisor” or “cloud” and you have a sense of what I am getting to.  I have encountered so many folks in this business who have bemoaned the way that senior managers have bought into the woo peddled around VMware, clouds, etc. and have placed firms on a path to an expensive and potentially devastating debacle.

The hypervisor and cloud peddlers offer that hardware commoditization naturally encourages the abstraction of software away from hardware – which may be very true in the long term.  However, the enabling technologies, IMHO, are not nearly as robust and developed to provide a “rock solid” alternative to hardware platforms.

I recently ranted about a guy (I think from VMware or EMC – same thing, I guess) who offered that we should not be judging clouds by what they are today, but rather by what they will evolve into.  Fair enough, I suppose, but also a good reason not to entrust them with my mission critical workload.

I also find a certain irony in the fact that a few weeks ago, while I was in NYC doing a Storage Decisions event, some attendees told me that Disaster Recovery Planning had been defunded at their firms, that VMware/EMC woo about DR being trumped by high availability features of VMware and disk-to-disk WAN based replication on MPLS had resonated with senior management.  I have to wonder how all of that is working out today.

The only thing that saved the financial industry post 9-11 was the fact that data centers supporting those firms affected in the Twin Towers were mostly across the river in NJ – out of harm’s way.  This storm had a much broader footprint, and a lot of NJ data centers supporting a lot of firms in NY, Connecticut and elsewhere were directly affected.  Huff Post went off line because of its data center in NJ being taken down.

Think about these things as you rebuild your operations after Sandy.  Let’s build our next IT house on a rock, not on sand.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

mark6330 November 2, 2012 at 7:17 am

FYI, I use to work for Citi Group/Bank with its data center in good old Rutherford NJ…..

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