[vcf-midatlantic] Snipe-It

Dave McGuire mcguire at neurotica.com
Fri Nov 30 00:42:38 EST 2018

On 11/29/18 11:40 PM, W2HX via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
> I dunno, Dave. Some pretty damn big companies like Netflix, AirBNB, Atlassian,  et. al., all seem to think its the right thing to use someone else's toothbrush. Fact is, thousands of companies use AWS. Almost 100% of start ups, my own included, with tens of millions of investment  use cloud systems (aws and azure - another toothbrush, not our own)  all seem to think it is a better idea to use someone else's toothbrush rather than using their own.

  And of course they're free to do so.  I would never deny that it's
common, but I'm not too worried about that, as I've never been much of a
"follower".  I do (and recommend) what's right in my judgment, not what
others tell me to do.

  That said, though, I don't build Netflix-sized networks.  Netflix
seldom asks for my advice. ;)  If Netflix came asking, I'd have to say
"I'm sorry, you're talking to the wrong guy, I cannot do what you need."
 I've built Netflix-sized networks, but that was a long time ago, and
it's no longer in my area of expertise.  But small organizations of 1-30
people with specialized needs do solicit my advice, and what I tell them
in most cases is "keep your own data".  In the present context, we're
talking about an inventory database for a club, to keep track of a few
thousand items.  There is no earthly need to farm that out to a
timesharing provider.  Further, such a small organization is a lot more
likely to be hurt by a hosting provider's outage than a company like
Atlassian, which will have SLAs with big penalties, offsite backups, and
DR plans to cover their asses.  Is VCF prepared to set up all of that?
If not, are they prepared to periodically start over from scratch?

> As a CTO myself with 39 years in IT, if I were to go on a job interview and insist that purchasing, depreciating, maintaining and staffing my own data center (24x7) was a better idea than using a cloud infrastructure (because that would be stupid), I don't think that would be a winning interview 9 times out of 10.

  If you have 39 years in IT, that's six or seven years more than me,
and that means both of us separately have been doing this longer than
Netflix, AirBNB, and Atlassian, combined, have existed.  In my
experience, the vast majority of the kids managing those networks have
no idea of what they're doing, and it shows in the downtime.  I'm
grateful that I, for any of MY important data, don't have to rely on
them for anything.  Most of the data stored on my network is generated,
not downloaded (and thus easily replaced).  I can't just start over when
AWS burps and files disappear, and I can't afford to just take the
afternoon off when the "cloud" service blows up.  You can take that risk
if you want, but I won't.  For my work, there is zero benefit to farming
it out.  That's actually true of many small organizations, but most
people have fallen for the "cloud" hype.

  (For added fun, ask Matt Patoray how well that works for the support
department's cloud-hosted VoIP phone system at his place of work.
Better get some popcorn, in case you get him started.)

  About job interviews...I generally don't go on job interviews, so I'm
not too worried about what the right HR buzzwords are.  My singular
focus is uptime and data preservation, not "sounding right" to someone
who has fallen for the hype in order to get a job.

  Please understand that this isn't a case of hiding one's head in the
sand or not being aware of what's cool and trendy in I.T. this year.
I'm not a hobbyist...I assure you that I know exactly what AWS is, and
rare is a day when I'm not logged into a couple of AWS-hosted servers.
My experience tells me that it is a colossally bad idea.  If your
experience has been better, that's great.  I respect your opinion, but I
do not share it.

  For years, we've all seen a great push to get rid of all internal I.T.
infrastructure, datacenters in particular.  This is driven primarily by
economics, rather than technical merit.  Being able to write it off as
an operating expense for the tax benefit is a lot more palatable than
shelling out the money for a big purchase and putting it on a
depreciation schedule, and then there's having to employ all those
inconvenient technical people who aren't team players, don't play golf,
and aren't even decent enough to wear ties.  There are no such concerns
in the context of VCF's inventory database.

> I dunno. Hard to swim against the tide on this one but YMMV.

  I have no need to swim against any tide.  It's just that I learned
very early on not to depend on other peoples' computers for any of my
operations, and I don't recommend that others do it either.

  I realize that this is not a commonly-held opinion, but I'm not too
worried about that.  My clients do not come to me for commonly-held
opinions.  They can Google for those.

           With respect,

Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
New Kensington, PA

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