Wesley Niels
Wesley Niels
Head of DevOps
Amsterdam

Engineering

The non-existence of cloud agnostic

“Cold Wars” are still present these days. Whether it’s about vaccines (Pfizer, Sputnik, Astrazeneca), football matches (El Classico, De Klassieker, Derby della Madonnina) or on a tech level between operating systems, public cloud platforms or programming languages. 
Boldly said, they all seem to have one thing in common: you love one and hate the other. 

This statement unfortunately also applies to being cloud agnostic. Many businesses claim to be or think they are cloud agnostic, but don’t act accordingly. And that’s a shame. Because being cloud agnostic does not simply mean implementing a technical solution on a multi cloud setup. It also forces a different approach to the strategy and mindset within your organisation. Being cloud agnostic brings along flexibility, scalability and options to apply a best of breed approach for your business or customers. But it also adds more complexity, the need for a broader knowledge of your architects, engineers and developers – and most importantly: the need for an open mindset.

So even though some organisations intend to be cloud agnostic, the question is if they really are. They set up teams with a skill set for specific cloud solutions, but engineers or developers never swap between teams. Is it because we want to have specialised teams that are able to focus on that specific cloud platform? Or are the engineers or developers not open-minded enough about other cloud providers or solutions?

In many cases, the problem seems to stem from a lack of open-mindedness. It’s something everyone’s been dealing with for years. I’m sure we’ve all seen, read (keyboard warriors) or heard about the ‘emotional’ discussions concerning Windows versus Linux, PHP versus .Net, Apple versus Samsung and every other technical solution. In that sense, nothing has really changed throughout the years.Yet, combining the forces of different technologies and embedding open source solutions in combination with paid solutions has been proven to be a win for any organisation. Embracing this thought will not only broaden your technical horizon, it will also give you the opportunity to design your solution based on the best options technology has to offer. 

I also often see that organisations implement an Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud only approach. Most of the time for silly reasons like: “It’s Microsoft, it can’t be good”, “That GUI of the AWS console is terrible” or “Google, are you kidding me?”. And trying to start any discussion about this topic is guaranteed to end in a “Cold War” like it’s 2003, giving me instant flashbacks to Windows kids  ‘propagandizing’ their operation system as the best there is against Linux pinguins.

Every cloud solution or platform has its advantages and disadvantages. One solution simply does not fit – or at least not easily – for all purposes. There are always reasons to choose  a specific solution but it all starts with the mindset of the people and the organisation. If they are not willing to be open to different solutions, you will never get the best out of it for your company or your customers’ needs. It’s a bold statement, yes. But you should always avoid boxing yourself or your organisation into a corner that limits a best of breed approach and the possibility for people to enrich themself with a broader knowledge base while avoiding tunnel vision. Starting with a proper analysis phase is a prerequisite for these situations.
Like any other war, I want to suggest ending these “Cold Wars” by embracing your ‘enemy’ with an open mindset. Only then will you be able to take the next steps in providing better services for yourself and your customers.

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Head of DevOps

Wesley Niels

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