[RndTbl] Attempted murder of sysadmin

Adam Thompson athompso at athompso.net
Thu Jul 13 14:15:15 CDT 2017

Yes, I’ve done all those things.

I have *never* needed per-minute granularity as of yet.  The closest I’ve come was a PoC where per-day or per-week billing would have saved me money compared to per-month, but monthly billing still would have been entirely acceptable.  (Yes, it was billed per-minute, which was of no additional benefit to me.)  And per-month would have saved me a LOT of money compared to having to buy and setup a new server.


Per-minute billing isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but somewhat like per-second billing on cell phones, it’s also irrelevant to the vast majority of users, and is a marketing ploy much more than a real technical “feature” that makes most people’s lives easier.  If anything, I’ve found it’s a trap to increase prices while making you believe prices are actually lower.


I honestly don’t see the applicability of per-minute billing to your second scenario; once again, business don’t respond to changing conditions on a minute-by-minute basis.  At Avant, I’ve yet to see a decision that took less than a couple of days to make.  *Usage-based billing* or even just *rental* are different things than *per-minute* billing, and if you’re just using “per-minute” as a proxy for that, then yes, of course it’s a huge benefit.


As I said earlier, virtualization and associated technologies are mostly about turning CapEx into OpEx, and they succeed extremely well at that.  “Cloud” service providers – or even just server renters like OVH – are another important piece in converting CapEx to OpEx, and they too succeed quite well.


And I would tell you to keep in mind that a) horses can go places that trucks can’t; b) a good horse will get you home when you’re drunk or asleep; c) you already bought the horse and your entire business probably revolves around having horses; d) buying a truck means you now have to deal with both Vets *and* mechanics – you don’t get to throw out the horses right away.  Why should I – or anyone – immediately jump on the truck bandwagon?  If I was a brand-new, green-field startup, then yeah, may as well start with whatever’s current today.  But if I have legacy investments and systems that will continue for years to come?


I’m at least a decade past the “hey, it’s new, therefore it’s cool, therefore let’s use it!” stage, and well into the “yeah, sure, prove it” stage of life.  Until someone can convince me that the New Ways Of Thinking actually represent an *improvement*, not just a *change*, over the old ways, I’m going to continue to regard them with extreme skepticism.  Because I *was* one of those young turks who agitated for change, convinced that newer always meant better.  Enough experience finally taught me otherwise.  Especially when I note that we’ve basically gone right back to 1970-style Mainframe Partitions with semi-intelligent terminals; the problems we’re dealing with today on the web are EXACTLY the same problems we were dealing with in the early ‘80s with IBM/Amdahl mainframes and IBM 3270-style terminals… just with rounded corners and alpha transparencies.  I honestly don’t see a lot of actual improvement in many (not all!) areas.  “Everything Old Is New Again.”  I’m tired of that hamster-wheel.


(Docker is a perfect example.  What a clusterf*ck, as it stands today!  I look forward to whoever eventually supplants Docker in the immutable-image space, though, as hopefully they’ll get some of Docker’s mistakes right.  Maybe Linux will be dead and replaced with BSD by then, too… not holding my breath for either of those things to happen.)




From: Roundtable [mailto:roundtable-bounces at muug.ca] On Behalf Of John Lange
Sent: July 13, 2017 11:51
To: Continuation of Round Table discussion <roundtable at muug.ca>
Subject: Re: [RndTbl] Attempted murder of sysadmin


Have you ever spun up a VM to test something, or done a POC, or wanted to test how your web site would work on the newest RedHat LAMP stack? Then per-minute billing is relevant to you.


Have you ever scoped hardware and storage based on it's peak expected utilization? Then it sits idle 99.9% of the time and the storage fills up 10X faster than anticipated?  Then per-minute billing is relevant to you.


Highly scaleable micro-swarms are not the most common use case for per-minute billing. It's the ability to forego the complex capacity planning stage of a project (which is largely guesswork anyhow) and eliminate large, risky capital investments that's the real win.


I completely disagree that Admins have a target on their back. The Cloud, like any seismic shift in any industry, will demand new things of Admins. They will be asked to embrace new ways of thinking and new technologies which deliver better outcomes for business. The skills experience that today's Admins have are highly transferable to the Cloud so there is great opportunity.


But sure, some Admins will insist that they can still do more with a horse and buggy than a newfangled truck, and truth be told, horses and buggies stuck around a long time after trucks were first invented so existing Admins will be around for many years to come.






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