Article is here at Firstround capital. This goes to a point I’ve made many many times to customers going the cloud route exclusively rather than the internal infrastructure route or hybrid route. Basically it is that the economics simply don’t work.
We’ve used a set of models based upon observed customer use cases, and demonstrated this to many folks (customers, VCs, etc.) Many are unimpressed until they actually live the life themselves, have the bills to pay, and then really … really grok what is going on.
A good quote:
In house infrastructure tends to have a very different scale up/out costing model than cloud, especially if you start out with very efficient, performant, and dense appliances. Colos are everywhere, so the physical plant infrastructure portion is easy (relatively). The “hard” part is getting the right bits in there, and the team to manage them. Happily providers (like the day job) can handle all of this, as managed service engagement.
Again, fantastic read. The author also notes you shouldn’t adopt “hipster” tools. I used to call these things fads. The advice is “keep it simple”. And understand the failure modes. Some new setups have very strange failure modes (I am looking at you systemd), with side effects often far from the root cause, and impacts often far from the specific problem.
All software … ALL software … has bugs. Its in how you work around them that matters. If you adhere to the mantra of “software is eating the world”, then you are also saying, maybe not quite so loudly, that “bugs are eating my data, services, networks, …”. The better you understand these bugs (keep em simple), the more likely it is you will be able to manage them.
You can’t eliminate all bugs. You can manage their impacts. However, if you don’t have control over your infrastructure, or your software stack (black box, closed source, remote as-a-service), then when bugs attack, you are at the complete mercy of others to solve this problem. You have tied your business into theirs.
Here’s a simple version of this that impacts us at the day job. Gmail, the pay per seat “supported” version (note the scare quotes around the word supported), loses mail to us. We have had customers yell at us over their inability to get a response back, when we never saw their email. There is obviously something wrong in the mail chain, and for some customers, it took a while to figure out where the problem was. But first, we had to route around Gmail, and have them send to/from our servers in house. The same servers I wanted to decommission, as I now had “Mail-as-a-Service”.
So the only way to address the completely opaque bugs was … to pull the opaque (e.g. *-as-a-service) systems OUT of the loop.
We have not (yet) pulled our mail operation back in house. We will though. It is on the agenda for the next year. I spent maybe an hour/month previously diagnosing mail problems. Now I have no idea if emails are reaching us. If customers sending us requests are getting fed up with our lack of visible response, and going to competitors.
That is the risk of a hipster tool, an opaque tool. A tool you can’t debug/diagnose on your own.
Again, a very good read.