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Server Hardware Support Rant

[This is a rant. Take it with a grain of salt.]

You know what's great about "the cloud"? I don't have you deal with [insert server vendor's name] support process that is so complex and broken that it makes me want to die. If a machine in AWS/GCP/Azure dies I don't have to load a f***ing flash-based web page that breaks on .... oh my god... every browser except one that is 10 years old and runs on an OS that I don't use... and .... god damn it what do you mean my account isn't cleared for that product and... F***!!! what do you mean I'm required to lie to get the service I need??? and... no.. don't ship it to "me" ship it to the datacenter and.... AAAAAHHHHRRRRGHHH!!!

Here's a clue: if your support process requires your customers to lie, it is broken.

Oh, and every vendor has a different process that takes months to learn. If we have many vendors, it is an entirely different set of frustrating and illogical processes that must be learned for each one. If we only have incidents occasionally, we'll never actually learn the process.

[Insert vendor name here]... you're competition isn't [other hardware company]. It is switching to AWS/GCP/Azure so that I don't have to f'ing deal with you and your broken processes any more.

The same goes for [other hardware company]. ..and [that other one too]. You're all terrible and deserve to go out of business.

You will, of course, as everyone moves to the cloud. The cloud providers make their own hardware. Everyone that "moves to the cloud" is a customer you'e lost. A knife in your back. The more popular cloud providers become, the less need there is for Dell/HP/etc. to exist.

Eventually a time will come where the only people that aren't using AWS/GCP/Azure/DigitalOcean/Rackspace are people that can't for regulatory reasons. The market for on-prem hardware will be so small that the industry will have to consolidate. You'll have the cloud providers that make their own hardware plus "Bob's house of server hardware that I sell to the sorry lot that can't use the cloud". BHOSH will be like dealing with Roz from Monster's Inc. You don't want to deal with her if it can be avoided, but she can't be avoided.

It will be so terrible that industries lobby to change the regulations to permit use of cloud providers.

If they succeed then the market for on-prem hardware will shrink more and the only people that will actually need server hardware won't have any vendors to buy from. That sorry lot will have to buy desktop hardware and iPads and retrofit them with Linux to run their local services. Maybe ARM and IoT devices will become powerful enough that they can run [insert ironic service for comic effect] for on-prem computation.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Rants

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4 Comments | Leave a comment

The "cloud" is the best snake oil since the original snake oil. It's a marketing crap designed to make you pay for technology that exists for decades like it's the last cookie in the package. "Cloud" data storage? Sure, never heard of (s)ftp servers before. "Cloud" processing? Ever visited a university data center? Been doing that for ages. "Cloud" virtualization? Like that's new.

What is new is this dumb mentality of sending your private data "somewhere" over which you have no control, with restricted access, with (very) limited accountability, and at prices that would allow you to buy on-premises equipments for the same yearly costs. Sorry, I've been a sysadmin for decades and I can't see any benefit whatsoever. Essentially you relinquish any control but retain all the responsibility to your own customers. Doesn't seem a specially bright idea.


As someone who supports an in house cloud with openstack, I agree.

With this cloud, my users don't have to go to IT or a ticket system to create a server. For VMware they have to ask mother may I. They might be able to set up a physical box w/o asking.

A cloud gets the tollbooth out of the way and users get a server in minutes instead of hours from a good IT department or weeks from a bad one.

For those of us supporting the hardware, we may get a 3rd party that deals with the vendors directly. It's easier to to swap out broken bits in a cloud too.

As a support networking engineer, the story doesn't change, since a ticket is now opened by the "cloud" owner instead of the end customer = Same.

"The Cloud" doesn't magically make it so users can self serve. VMware didn't stop them. These are process and budgetary issues. Switching to "The Cloud" doesn't solve them.

Any company that viewed VMware provisioning as "mother may I" but cloud as "self serve" has a shocking bill coming.

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