Around five years ago, when cloud computing, as a means of providing self-service computing, data and network capacity delivered over the Internet, became all but mainstream, a heated debate broke-out:
Would the do-it-yourself approach to enterprise IT and business applications make service providers and outsourcing partners dinosaurs walking, on the verge of extinction?
Looking back, this was a rather naïve exchange overpowered by the also overused, but eye-catching ‘utility metaphor’.
The prospect was compelling, contract computing capacity and SaaS business applications at your fingertips. All you needed to do was type-in your credit card and turn the switch-on. Just pay the bills later, Voilà!
The reality of the business world, beyond the hype, turned out to be just slightly more complex, similar to life itself. The cloud is bringing undeniable advantages, measured in real dollars, but it is also adding some layers of complexity. Companies have to manage external and often diverse unintegrated cloud providers while implementing their own internal cloud-delivered systems, and running older legacy applications in between. Add governance, attribution, security and assurance to the recipe and you have a perfect business case for system integration.
I’m so excited. Last Wednesday Flexiant announced the acquisition of the Tapp technology platform and business. I met the guys behind it quite a while ago and I have never refrained from remarking how great their technology is (see here). I recognized a trend in their way of addressing the cloud management problem and I’m so glad to be part of it right now.
Disclaimer. I am currently the Vice President, Products at Flexiant. I have endorsed this acquisition and am fully behind the reasons and convinced of the potential of it. This is my personal blog and whatever you read here has not been agreed with my employer in advance and therefore it represents my very personal opinion.
Right after the acquisition (read more about it here) we heard tremendous noise on social networks and the press. David Meyer (@superglaze) of GigaOm in particular wrote up a few interesting comments and he picked up well the reasoning behind it, but he also ended the article with an open question:
In November, we launched Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator V4 which introduced a major new feature, plugins, which fundamentally changes both how our software can be used and the ease with which third party solutions can be integrated with Flexiant. To showcase how plugins can be used by service providers, I’ve started a blog series to demonstrate just how easy it is to use our plugin feature to offer new services and functionality for your cloud services business.
I previously blogged about replicating a new AWS feature in 100 lines of Lua. Today I’m continuing our series by discussing Chef and how we used plugins to support the platform.
Chef is a platform for automating the management of infrastructure by turning it into code (using Recipes and Cookbooks no less!). It enables complete automation of the configuration of infrastructure, operating systems and the applications running on them to reduce time to delivery, complexity and enable management at scale.
We are big fans of the concept behind configuration tools like Chef, Puppet, Ansible, Salt and others and over time want to support as many of these as we can within Flexiant’s software. We chose Chef first because its methodology and capabilities were ideally suited as our ‘guinea pig’ for testing the integration concept. In addition, Chef has a wide ecosystem of existing contributed recipes and cookbooks that are available for configuring large amounts of different services (hence the title of the blog post!).
We do intend to deliver support for the others listed above over time as well though.