Skip to main content

Who's the boss?

I recently sent an email at work, that talked a lot about some of the more academic sides of "infrastructure". Particularly the notion of where infrastructure gets it's direction and workload from. So I thought I'd share a few of those thoughts here.

Infrastructure is a bit of a weird beast. It's a foundational piece of any technology deployment, but in most cases it isn't the "focus" of the deployment. Infrastructure is both independent-yet-dependent. It stands at a crossroads between two distinct worlds.

First, infrastructure is independent, in the sense that it is agnostic. It can be built in a similar fashion if you're deploying a bookstore, financial application, music player, or blog. There are general concepts, principles and tactics (see The HiSSS of Infrastructure series...) that are universal to whatever application you are building and deploying. So by that standard, infrastructure is a thing unto itself.

But yet, infrastructure is nothing by itself. It's the foundation upon which cool things are built. Without an application or service being deployed upon it, it's pointless. So therefore infrastructure is dependent upon being "used" by something greater than itself. It's purpose is fulfilled by being used.

So there are three main areas in which infrastructure takes it's direction.

  1. Internal - There are things that infrastructure needs to do, to maintain itself and keep functioning. Things like security updates, hardware maintenance and general design updates, all come from initiatives internal to itself. There is a cadre of work that is built on these internal pressures. 
  2. Future-forward - The second area usually comes from a development team, and revolves around planning for the future. Investing in new technologies and their foundational pieces is a key part of infrastructure's work. People always have a million good ideas, and they need a solid foundation to make them reality.
  3. Reactive/Preventative - This stream of work comes from the discovery of issues that need to be addressed in the infrastructure. Service issues, capacity management, and general problem resolution are the third key workstream for a strong base.
These three areas make up the scope of work that an infrastructure team works on, and understanding and working within a fully agreed understanding of the importance of foundation, and building a house on solid ground, always benefits an entire initiative. 

Popular posts from this blog

Push it... push it real good...

The other day I got a chance to play with the new Apple force touch trackpad. This is a new design that Apple has put on their laptops for non-mechanized clicking on trackpad. When you press on the trackpad it senses the force that you're pressing with, and when you reach a certain level, you feel a 'click'. If you keep pressing, you feel a second 'click'. The unique thing is that these 'clicks' aren't physical in nature. The trackpad never moves at all, but the click that you feel is from haptic feedback. In essence, when you press with enough force, the trackpad clicks back at you. You feel the sensation of clicking, but it's simply the trackpad responding to your pressure.

I got to play with this for a while, since the Apple Store rep was talking with us about soccer, and after a short bit I was getting the hang of it. I feel that it would take quite a bit longer though to really feel comfortable with this new paradigm. I'm someone who has a …

Hack! Slash! Burn! Crush!!

The big tech news story of the weekend was the hacked account of Mat Honan. As documented in his posting on Wired.com, in the space of a few hours his digital life was in shambles. And as much as we always talk about strong passwords, etc., this was not a case of password failure. It was a case that shows just how our desire for on-demand, cloud based services that are convenient can come back to haunt us.

I highly suggest you go read all 4 pages of the article, but the quick summary is that a hacker wanted control of Mr. Honan's Twitter account. In order to get it, they started with basic social scouting, and proceeded to use all of the built-in tools of Google, Amazon and Apple to gain access to his accounts without ever needing to crack a single password. At Google they discovered what his Apple ID e-mail address was when they did a simple "Forgot my password" query. Then at Amazon, they called up customer service and game'd the system to get access to the last 4 …

The beat goes on

Yesterday Apple revealed their long awaited entry into the streaming music field. They were able to do this quickly because of the acquisition of Beats last year, and the systems and intellectual property that came with that purchase. Considering that the music reveal was pretty much the only big news out of a pretty benign developer keynote, I'll take a few moments to talk about what I think about it.

Apple was perhaps the defining company in the music revolution of the past 20 years. With the introduction of the iPod that revolutionized portable music, to the creation of the iTunes store and the eventual death of DRM, Apple has been at the forefront of digital music. This leadership comes with high expectations to continue to lead, and so many people have long questioned Apple not getting into the streaming music business quicker.

For the past few years new companies have come forth to lead the change in the streaming music evolution. From Pandora and its ability to create uniqu…