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The State of Cloud 2016: The whirlwind of creative destruction


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My presentation from Structure 2016, presented on November 9, 2016

Published in: Software

The State of Cloud 2016: The whirlwind of creative destruction

  1. 1. The State of Cloud 2016 The whirlwind of creative destruction CTO Bryan Cantrill @bcantrill
  2. 2. First, the state of the Union • Shocking just about everyone, Donald Trump has just won the 2016 US Presidential election • Donald Trump himself is an ignorant, petty man who has shown little aptitude for or interest in governing • There is clearly something much larger going on here…
  3. 3. Disruption • In technology, we frequently speak of disruption when an innovation yields a revolutionary leap in economics • These innovations are the winds of Joseph Schumpeter’s “perennial gale of creative destruction” • Disruptive innovation is the lifeblood of the technology industry: we don’t merely thrive on it, we actively seek it out
  4. 4. Disruption • e.g., cloud computing is a canonical disrupting innovation, effecting an orders of magnitude improvement in price:
  5. 5. Disruption • e.g., cloud computing is a canonical disrupting innovation, effecting an orders of magnitude improvement in price: — Marc Andreesen, “Why Software Is Eating The World” (2011)
  6. 6. Disruption • Historically, technological disruption was confined to technology companies — but Andreesen saw this changing: — Marc Andreesen, “Why Software Is Eating The World” (2011)
  7. 7. Disruption • Andreesen’s prophesy has started to be realized: software is emphatically eating the world — often by “new world-beating Silicon Valley companies” • …but last night we were reminded of a darker side to this disruption: that people themselves feel devoured • This is the “two Americas”: one that is exciting and full of promise — the other in which a romanticized past seems vastly preferable to a grim and scary future
  8. 8. The politics of disruption • Last night, we learned that disruption isn’t only for economics: democracy affords a kind of political disruption • While we shouldn’t oversimplify what happened, it’s clear that fear of economic dislocation is playing a significant role • It is destruction without creativity • But wait, it’s going to get worse…
  9. 9. Deeper disruption • Software has already disrupted retail, personal transportation • Disruptive innovation is coming to industries that employ many millions of people: • Truck transportation • Healthcare • Education • Demagoguery notwithstanding, elections won’t stop this: these innovations are economic, not political
  10. 10. So… cloud computing?! • Software is the disruptive force that’s driving cloud computing • Cloud is the gullet through which software is eating the world • But cloud is not new — it’s a decade old! — and in fact it is old enough to itself be disrupted…
  11. 11. Cloud disrupting itself • The cloud used to be merely “infrastructure” — VMs • But the “virtual machine” is exactly that: a virtual personal computer (!!) that is a vestigial abstraction • The rise of containers — and more recently, container orchestration — has led to a disruption within a disruption • Cloud computing is no longer infrastructure: it is about delivering application logic — disruption! — faster
  12. 12. Aside: The Jevons paradox • The Jevons paradox seems very likely to hold for containers: greater efficiency will result in a net increase in consumption! • Efficiency gains from containers are developer velocity... • ...but requiring containers to be scheduled in VMs induces operational inefficiencies: every operator must now think like a cloud operator — maximizing density within fixed-cost VMs • Greater consumption + operational inefficiencies threaten to slow the container revolution — or make it explosive in terms of cost
  13. 13. Disrupting the cloud: Container-native • To realize the full economic promise of the container revolution, we need container-native infrastructure • The benefits of that infrastructure should accrue to the user, not to the infrastructure provider • Moore’s Law will continue to hold — and it turns out, a 2U server with 512GB of DRAM can do a hell of a lot of work…
  14. 14. Disrupting the cloud: Public and on-prem • Death of on-prem computing is greatly exaggerated! • There are three key determinants for public v. on-premises: • Economics: Rent vs. buy; OPEX vs. CAPEX • Risk Management: Security/compliance — and also risk factors associated with operator-as-threat • Latency: The speed of light is a constant! • Economics dominates: “private cloud” efforts that do not deliver public cloud economics are doomed to (continue to)
  15. 15. Disrupting the cloud: Open source • Open source has thoroughly disrupted the traditional, shrink- wrapped proprietary software industry… • …but public cloud services have become the new proprietary! • This has generated a new generation of lock-in that — like its forebear from a decade prior — is ripe for disruption… • Especially when taken with the economics of on-prem computing, open source will become a constraint
  16. 16. A (personal) sign of these disruptions…
  17. 17. Wait, Samsung?! • Samsung buying Joyent may have been surprising — but we live in a world in which the leaders of computing are a search engine and an online bookstore • Samsung is a consumer electronics company with an incomprehensibly large footprint… • …but they view their future as software • At Samsung’s scale (and, in some markets, thin margins), it makes no sense to be a public cloud customer! • We believe that Samsung is only ahead of the curve..
  18. 18. Returning to the broader disruption • Computing is accustomed to a pace of disruption that exceeds the pace of generations… • …but this disruption is now engulfing the broader economy • It’s accelerating — we cannot put the genie back in the bottle! • We ignore the human toll of this change at our own peril • Computational thinking is literacy… • And we as a society have an acute literacy problem!
  19. 19. Looking forward • Disruption — economic disruption and political disruption — is terrifying to the marrow • The fear that is felt this morning by one America is one that the other America has felt for a generation • But we must not despair: human ingenuity — that of both Americas — must not be underestimated! • This is the beginning of a long conversation: how do we cope with the pace of the change that we are inflicting?