When the Microsoft Manager Bill Baker brought the comparison of “Pets versus Cattle” into the debate for the first time, it was about showing two paradigms that seemed to be a mismatch in the reality of IT-strategy. In this connection, it was used to show the traditional and the innovative way of IT-operation. In the traditional IT-world, servers were treated like pets. These were nurtured and cared for, the only thing left was a name. If a server failed, all priorities and resources would be focussed on getting the infrastructure running again. Meanwhile, however, things changed. Servers do no longer carry names, they have numbers – just like livestock. If a server fails, it is shut down, disposed and a new instance is activated. No worries, no effort and no emotions.
Are Containers the New Super Cattle?
By storytelling, it seems that IT-operations might only consist of either “pets” or “cattle”. From the rise of the container technology at the latest, this procedure is outdated. Containers are incarnate evidence for the triumph of the cattle-approach. The advantages of containers are clear: they are highly scalable, portable and have a simpler deployment than classical virtual machines (VM). Containers start faster than VMs, create a smaller overhead and simplify the portability of applications due to their independency. Moreover, they allow for an appreciably higher automatization capacity of infrastructures and test scenarios. These are powerful arguments. These discussions often exclude, however, that VMs can also be handled automatically so that there is no need of constantly taking care of them.
“Pets and Cattle” Should Be Considered the Future
Currently, containers are an important complement to the renowned hypervisor-based virtualisation environment. If a company needs a high degree of scalability, flexibility and automatization, this may also be performed with traditional virtual environments and virtual machines with an operating system. With a corresponding automation, cattle worked well with virtual machines and infrastructures. However, this includes increasing dependencies and a high administrative burden. Therefore, the chance of automatization has worsened considerably. This new perspective of virtual machines being “cattle” when handed properly and supporting technologies such as containers only follow the cattle-concept, it is decisive not to talk about “cattle versus pets” but much rather about “pets and cattle”. Just like in any technology debate, it is unrewarding to concentrate on one approach only, while casting the other one aside. Technology is neither dogmatic nor is the question digital that determines which measures need to be taken to succeed in implementing an IT-strategy, even though this might sound strange. Nowadays, the integration of full-service IT-providers help to carefully maintain the pets and at the same time have a group of containers available that can be used at will for the tasks at hand. In this connection, it is important to set the access to the resources in a flexible and scalable manner to be able to access the right resources at the right time.
From Minder to Strategist
If a Chief Financial Officer (CIO) intends to take a strategic role, he must develop from minder on the operational level to coordinator and strategist. The various IT-services needed to implement these strategies are procured by Full-IT-Service Providers that make them scalable available measured by quantity, quality and the temporal reference frame. Once this step is put into effect, the CIO provides the speciality division with exactly those tools needed to create innovations and to generate growth. For the strategist-CIO, an involvement of partners is essential to get ahead. “Pets and Cattle” deals with the question which instances are used to process data. Another decisive aspect lies in how the information is made available. At this point, the use of a hybrid cloud platform as central data base is recommendable. In this way, the data remain at one central place and can be processed on-demand with resources from colocation, a private cloud or a public cloud. There is a strict separation of the central processing unit (CPU) and the random access memory (RAM) in all three processing levels and the central storage area.
Author: Lars Göbel
DARZ is a digital evolution provider. As global platform for innovations in IT and technology, the company acts just like an IT-Full Service Provider that has its own high-security data centre and at the same time markets unitised services around public and private cloud as well as colocation. As the first company, DARZ developed an authentic hybrid cloud and is a decisive driver of the concept of multi cloud sourcing. DARZ offers leading edge infrastructures, services and know-how of top quality and security to customers and partners. This approach helps to master current and future digital challenges and to gain competitive advantages.