Cooks And The Cloud

Cooks And The Cloud

Cooks And The Cloud 

Bouillabaisse is a French dish that loosely translates to fish stew. Well-made and it is one of the best dinners you will ever have. Poorly made and you will spend the night wishing you hadn’t stopped by the midnight street Bouillabaisse stand. Bouillabaisse is also a fantastic metaphor for cloud computing. Cloud Bouillabaisse is cloud soup. First off it is market driven (fresh fish = good bouillabaisse) as the cloud is (cost, cost, cost). The time taken in preparation and acquisition can greatly impact the soup you serve (Fish or Cloud). That to me is the key for cloud solutions. The time to prepare the stew is as important as how you serve it. Transitioning that to cloud solutions it’s about planning, preparing and migrating your solutions to their new cloud home.


So we start with the stock. In this case the first step is the CSP you choose. I met a chef once in Paris who went every day to the fresh market to get the things for his Bouillabaisse. The same isn’t possible for cloud service providers today, someday maybe but not today. We can however evaluate the provider and the overall capacity of that provider to host our solution. Noisy neighbors, like three day old fish don’t often make a good Bouillabaisse.

Do we have the ingredients we need in our pantry?

Our initial assumption is that we have already picked the Cloud Service Provider (CSP) and that providers are able to meet our technology needs (servers and connectivity) as we start our Cloud Bouillabaisse. Frankly the CSP is a broth for our soup – bad broth equals bad soup so choose wisely. Now we carefully prepare everything we are adding. This includes planning the following “ingredients”:
· Security: what does the provider have today, what additional things do we need?

  • Migration: has the CSP done this before? It isn’t bad if they haven’t it just changes how you cook a little. Instead of sampling at various times you now have to sample all the time. More work but again we are aiming for a great stew here.
  • Migration: If the CSP hasn’t done this before go get a partner who has. Or a partner you trust to make sure as you are sampling they are continuing to stir your wonderful Cloud Bouillabaisse.
  • Cost: did we mention it has to be cheaper than the solution we are running in our data centers today? The nature of stew is not always using the best and most tender cuts of fish, simply that you cook them slowly for a long time breaking them down and making them more appetizing. We can’t break down our cloud provider by boiling them for hours, so we have to start off with the shared cost model of cloud reducing our price from day one.

Does the CSP offer the security our solution requires?

This one has been bouncing around cloud solutions for years. “The cloud is not secure.” Reality here is that in fact the cloud can be secure. Bouillabaisse is as much a process as it is a dinner. From making the stock from fish parts to cutting the vegetables it’s as much how you do it as what you do. The stringent nature of FedRAMP and the requirements around monitoring what is happening in a solution end up being game changers. Adding security monitoring to a FedRAMP cleared solution isn’t horribly hard. Expanding the operational framework to include both the monitoring for security and FedRAMP creates a stronger overall solution. However that said it critical when considering cloud solutions that you evaluate the security capabilities and offerings of your CSP carefully. Simply put it isn’t just enough to taste the Bouillabaisse from time to time, we have to make sure no one else can get into our kitchen and ruin it.

Making a fine Bouillabaisse and building a cloud solution have a lot of things in common. While I have yet to end up with Cloud on my shirt during lunch there are many other common components. Pick the right ingredients, make sure your process works and in the end serve the solution with proper garnishment. I think a fine Cloud Pumpernickel would be perfect with my Cloud Bouillabaisse.

By Scott Andersen

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Scott Andersen

Director of Consulting Services at CGI
Scott is the Director of Consulting Services CGI. Scott’s role is focused on building solutions that augment and support the missions of US Federal Agencies. Scott has been an IT professional for more than 20 years. He has also worked as the Director Cloud Strategy at Lockheed Martin, Chairman IASA Board Of Education at International Association of Software Architects (IASA) and worked as the Senior Enterprise Architect at Microsoft. Scott's articles can periodically be seen on CloudTweaks as well as a number of other sites he has helped contribute to.
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