Cloud

The operational cost of Applications

The big operational cost of applications is maintenance. Low and Medium security updates are often applied on a weekly or monthly basis. High and Critical updates are expedited, which means they're are often implemented during out of hours and weekends. Next, after a couple of years running the application, the Operation System goes End Of Life and a whole plan needs to be created to upgrade the Operation System while minimizing the impact on the application.

It doesn't stop there. During the year after the application goes live, new security policies and procedures might get rolled out and servers need to beef up their security rules to adhere to the new policies. If something goes wrong, during an update or a change, there is often a lot of finger pointing between the application team and unix/windows teams blaming each other. This has been going on for decades now, with only incremental changes made to procedures and tools managing the deployment and maintenance procedures.

A radical change

A radical change is underway, a change that will make a lot of job roles obsolete. In the past few years Cloud adoption has been embraced by the businesses. We first had IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), SaaS (Software as a Service), and PaaS (Platform as a Service). We now continue to see services where Cloud Companies empower the developer to do more without the System Administrator or Unix/Linux/Windows team. That is why the traditional system administrator will be the first one to take a hit.

Computing as a Service

What is it that developers need? How are applications developed and released? How would we make it easier for developers to write and release applications in production? These are all questions that Amazon's clever Cloud Engineers were asking themselves. The answer they came up with was AWS Lamba, an event-driven computing service for dynamic applications. A very strong product, but only this week, we now see how powerful it can be for the enterprise, with the release of The Amazon API Gateway.

Both products combined give an enormous amount of power to the Developer to write and release software without having to maintain any Operating System, thus excluding the traditional System Administrator or Unix/Linux teams completely from the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC).

With Amazon API Gateway and Lambda it is now possible to create a REST API and have code using Lambda being fired of when an API call is made. This piece of code could be a CRUD (Create Read Update Delete) instruction to a managed database like RDS, which allows you to have a database as service without maintaining an Operating System (see example app). A lot of applications in today's Small, Medium and Large enterprises could be made just with those technologies.

The end of the System Engineer

Rather sooner than later, companies will start building applications without the overhead of an Operating System. Developers will become more empowered to push their projects into dev, test, and prod environments without the need of lengthy procedures and red tape.

About the Author

Ward has been a system administrator for more than a decade and has been working as a Consultant and Trainer for the last few years. Besides DevOps he is also into the latest Big Data technologies. Originally Belgian, currently enjoying life in London.