27 February 2013

The Real War in the Cloud (hint... it's not forking)

There is a war going on.
And we're all pretending otherwise.

There is a war going on.
And it's not just for the future of the Cloud - it's for its soul.

Right now there is an enormous amount of chatter among the so-called Cloud Experts about "the dangers of forking." Let me be blunt - this is just another beclouding effort in an ongoing war by proxy. And as long as we are distracted by this, and other such attempts, we are going to miss the real war.

There are two sides in this war - traditional IT one one side, developers on the other.
Each has a primary goal in the war - for IT is is security. For developers it is freedom.

We saw this war by proxy fought as the "polyglot vs single language" battle (freedom won that one). We're seeing it fought as the "public vs private cloud" battle (status quo seems to be leading on this one). And now we're seeing it fought through "forking FUD" (too early to call this one).

This is, of course, hardly a new battle. It is, in fact, the never ending war. It is the war between the forces of the status quo and the forces of change.

We saw this same war fought during the early days of the web - where developers saw an opportunity for democratization and new-found freedoms. The forces of the status quo won that time around. The revolutionaries were safely co-opted or put back in their boxes or set adrift on icebergs.

So who is going to win this time around?

That's up to all of us.

The forces of the status quo or organized. They are focused. They are directed.
They know what they want (no change), they know when they want it (forever and always) -- and most of all they know how to get it. With budget.

Vendors follow the money. Enterprise IT learned this a long time ago.

And developers, meanwhile, are too cheap to pay for any tools / services / software (despite riding around on a $1500 fixie).

So vendors position their businesses and their products to satisfy Enterprise IT. They pivot and message to communicate and offer protection, control, limits, constraints and most of all to guarantee a lack of change (or at least IT controlled change).

And then these are the systems mandated upon developers.
And the status quo is protected. The revolutionaries are safely corralled.

Is this time going to be different?
Will we see the revolutionary dreams of developers realized?

Until developers start understanding that the primary weapon in this war is budget - the status quo will be safe. DevOps, NoOps.... without budget and the leverage that provides these terms and the hopes and dreams that came with them are meaningless or at least purely academic.

I believe that the Cloud has the potential to change the world - and no, I don't consider reducing Enterprise IT CapEx budgets to be "world changing" thank you very much. But at present I'm not confident that this potential will be realized. As long as developers continue to ignore the political and financial realities of the business and instead argue technology philosophy - as long as developers continue to be seen as a worthless market due to their unwillingness to spend money on tools (other than those proposed on Kickstarter) - this war will be over before it begun.