Adrian here…

Apple buying space on Google’s cloud made news this week, as many people were surprised that Apple relies on others to provide cloud services, but they have been leveraging AWS and others for years. Our internal chat was alive with discussion about build vs. buy for different providers of cloud services. Perhaps a hundred or so companies have the scale to make a go at building from scratch at this point, and the odds of success for many of those are small. You need massive scale before the costs make it worth building your own. Especially the custom engineering required to get equivalent hardware margins. That leave a handful of firms who can make a go of this, and it’s still not always clear whether they should. Even Apple buys others’ services, and it usually makes good economic sense.

We did not really talk about RSA conference highlights, but the Rugged DevOps event (slides are up) was the highlight of RSAC week for me. The presentations were all thought-provoking. Concepts which were consistently reinforced included:

  • Constantly test, constantly improve
  • Without data you’re just another person with an opinion
  • Don’t update; dispose and improve
  • Micro-services and Docker containers are the basic building blocks for application development today

Micro-services make sense to me, and I have successfully used that design concept, but I have zero practical experience with Docker. Which is a shocker because it’s freakin’ everywhere, but I have never yet taken the time to learn. That stops this week. AWS and Azure both support it, and it’s embedded into Big Data frameworks as well, so it’s everywhere I want to be. I saw two vendor presentation on security concerns around Docker deployment models, and yeah, it scares me a bit. But Docker addresses the basic demand for easy updates, packaging, and accelerating deployment, so it stays. Security will iterate improvements to the model over time, as we usually do. DevOps doesn’t fix everything. That’s not me being a security curmudgeon – it’s me being excited by new technologies that let me get work done faster.