Lessons From The Hobbit: Cloud Computing Education

Lessons from the Hobbit for Cloud Computing Education

Though he penned it in 1937, J.R.R. Tolkien had much coming for the writer on cloud computing topics of this time and age, in the twenty first century. The Hobbit movie, a Middle earth tale of the coming-out-of-the-hole, fear and snugness of a hobbit which leads to far-reaching exploits that cut across dangerous and fantastic lands, has come out. One can trace parallels between the production and cloud computing, key among these including the following, according to a Windows IT Pro article.

Okay, in the beginning “there lived a hobbit in a hole.” This is the opening line of the tale, but to some, it might mean the closed-in world of Information Technology where company executives are satisfied with their computer technicians. However, Bilbo soon leaves the hole, hankering after treasure after persuasion by a horde of thirteen dwarves plus a wizard. On the way to the Desolation of Smaug, they have to improvise answers far away from any brick-and-mortar computer shop. This is where cloud computing education comes in.

After desertion by Gandalf, the Wizard, who is after his own grand plans of overcoming the force in the universe called the Necromancer, Bilbo and company, is left to improvise roles. He saves the skin of all his companions, who are frequently at a fix in the hands of goblins, spiders, and finally Gollum. Indeed, the ring he gets from Gollum forms the infrastructure of the cloud education in the story because without it, he would not be ubiquitous and invisible to foes. Thus, in a situation where the wizard who has disappeared has been the Chief Information Officer, then Bilbo settles down into becoming a guide who does not have any especial knowledge about IT, per se, but uses the cloud (the ring) to learn more about how to overcome hurdles.

Sometimes he has to troubleshoot in the following symbolic encounters:

The walk in Spider land: If Chief Information Officers want to bring their staff to understand the cloud better, they need to help them seek solutions rather than be baby fed. Though it is mandatory for a firm to join the pay-as-you-earn infrastructure these days if it wants to survive, it can, however, only select apps that suit it through the collective IT team and staff. This is why Biblo’s invisibility helps him to use special weapons, including stones (apps) that he has chosen, to troubleshoot the spiders’ cobwebs and thus rescue his entrapped team.

The Barrel Ride: Another important lesson for company executives who want to educate staff about the cloud is that of using in-house cloud understanding before imposing cloud jargon on them. The end-user cannot fully appreciate terms like sharing resources, if he or she does not benefit from it. By taking his prying powers in a cave where they were held hostage, Bilbo used his understanding of the use of barrels that promoted barter trade between Middle- earth communities, down the river, to rescue his compatriots by this means. Indeed, sharing of resources could not be clearer to him than using barrels and hiding each of the dwarves in each to reach the other end, unharmed, as was customary of river trading in the Hobbit.

The Long road to Dragon Encounter: It took years of toil to make it to the dragon’s lair for the Hobbit team. Similarly, CIOs should look ahead, like the crew in the book and movie did, to reach their destination and back without hurt. In the present context of many applications and infrastructures, like EC2, Windows 8 and others, it is impossible to know which to incorporate as a cloud education program with success.

This is why one can contextualize all the many challenges in a fantasy novel, review the unknown challenges one has to face, but in the end, use the One Ring as one’s cloud infrastructure to the Promised Land or corporate success. At the end, the hobbit team avails what every enterprise needs, with as few bucks spent as possible, on the way: treasure.

By John Omwamba


John posses over five years experience in professional writing; with special interests in business, technology and general media. Driven by passion and 'glowing' enthusiasm, he has covered topics cutting across diverse industries with key target audiences including corporates, marketing executives, researchers and global business leaders. John currently freelances for CloudTweaks as a frequent writer.

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