Servers are cattle, not pets

This is the essence of the Chapter 9 “Cloud Computing” of the “UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook.”

Indeed, you need to treat cloud “servers” as disposable, otherwise it is going to cost you more than your existing in-house server fleet – just like with real cattle it would be more expensive to keep even a small herd at home compared to a single, albeit rare-breed super dog.

On other notes:

  • when moving into cloud, system administrator’s role shrinks considerably:
    • – administrators’ duties are shifted from in-house’ to in-cloud’s admins
      • 1) from local servers to IaaS: half (5/10) of the layers to administer are dropped
      • 2) from IaaS to PaaS: another 2/5 is dropped
      • 3) in SaaS virtually no work is left for the in-company system administrator
    • automation
      • – AWS CloudFormation (native, error prone)
      • – Troposphere Python library – eases CF
      • – Terraform

    And a few quotes from the book:

    – servers should be treated as cattle, not as pets

    – A system is said to be cloud native if it is reliable even in the face of unanticipated events.

    – hybrid cloud
    — operating two distinct cloud presences in tandem increases complexity more than proportionally.

    – AWS offers on-site visits from the AWS Snowmobile, a 45-foot long shipping container towed by a semi truck than can transfer 100 PiB from your data center to the cloud.

    – access controls should conform to the principle of least privilege

    – Serverless functions hold great promise for the industry.
    — AWS introduced Lambda, their cloud function service, at a conference in 2014.
    — Google followed shortly with a Cloud Functions service.
    — Several cloud function implementations exist for projects like OpenStack, Mesos, and Kubernetes.

    – Costs
    — new cloud customers are often surprised when costs climb quickly.
    — third party cloud use analyze services to optimize overprovisioning:
    — Cloudability
    — CloudHealth