Friday, October 21, 2016

When The Cloud is Down

Monday through Thursday, I leave the house well before dawn to make the 60 mile drive to my office. It's a quick and quiet drive, as long as I'm in the car by 5:45am. If you live outside of the Baltimore / Washington, D.C. region, you're probably thinking, "what in the holy hell are you doing driving 60 miles before the sun rises?" But my fellow DMV peeps certainly understand, and are likely nodding along with this declaration.

Friday, though, is different. I'm working from home, and my commute is shortened to about 30' as I shuffle to my desk and log in to start my day. A lurched, plaid caffeine addict inhabits the workspace, and like so many of you, I begin my day on Twitter.

Lately, I'm interested in the US general election (because I'm still hopeful we won't elect a raging narcissist puppet), so I scroll through political and press tweets about the latest debate debacles. I lol at #NastyWoman and #BadHombres, then get a sinking feeling that the center in American, possibly global, politics has been stolen by fanatics on both sides of the aisle.

So I move on to tech Twitter. The Nutanix IPO has me interested in that company again, although I'm still struggling to reconcile my admiration for their technology with my dislike for much of their corporate marketing. And their simmering beef with VMW evokes feelings of confusion and hopelessness, not unlike those emotions evinced by political observers this year. Is it ok to admire both Nutanix and VMware? Based on tweets from employees of both companies, you'd think the answer is no.

Fanatics and zealots, you're one or the other.

Is there an emoji for the utter lack of emotion due to shock?
Put that one here.
These Friday routines are sacred rites, accompanied by several large cups of coffee from a vendor's mug. Wake up, Twitter. Coffee, Twitter. Throughout the workday, Twitter. I didn't realize the extent to which I'm dependent on Twitter as a micro distraction until... it was down.

Twitter was down this morning, and it took about 10 minutes to accept that it wasn't a local problem.

Reflexively, and without thought, I attempted to share my frustration with the outage... on Twitter. "Oh, yeah," I thought, and, in quiet defeat, closed the Twitter client.

So what do I do? I don't use Facebook. I deleted Instagram from my phone again just last night because, well, I guess because I really don't like social media after all. And I'm decidedly too old for any of that Snapchat, WhatsApp, KiK, whatever-the-fuck-else social media apps are out there today. So when Twitter isn't an option, there is no option. It's vendor lock-in at a personal level.

Down Cloud

Clouds go up, clouds go down, such is the nature of technology. The most reliable system in the world can't meet 100%, no matter how loud the customers and CIOs scream. We all know this, and we're all happy to live in uptime denial nonetheless. "The free service I use extensively is down for a few minutes? UNBELIEVABLE CALL THE POLICE I'M DYING," we say. Or at least we think it.

To make things worse, one of the SaaS solutions we use at work, xMatters, also went offline this morning. And when xMatters isn't healthy, many of the system-generated alerts from various monitoring solutions do not get delivered. Of course, this is a paid service, so there's slightly less guilt involved.

Today is a much needed reminder that all services, on-prem, hybrid, cloud, shadow, you name it, are subject to failure. Moving your applications or services to another platform, or vendor, or solution, will never solve your problems, unless you are willing to honestly assess the faults in your own applications.

Where ever your apps go, there they are.