Don't Build It If You Can Buy It. Don't Buy It If You Can Steal It.

I had the opportunity to speak with a CTO of a medium sized company this week as part of the interview process. The exact nature of his company isn't important. What is important was something he mentioned in passing describing their current situation.

He talked about working hard to convince the rest of upper management that they didn't have to build every single solution they would ever need. It doesn't make sense to build a calendar app from scratch when there's dozens of available solutions. It reminded me of an old adage I learned early on in my development career:

Don't build it if you can buy it. Don't buy it if you can steal it.Read more

5 Questions to ask Before Moving to an Unmanaged Server

Over the last several years growth in cloud computing has skyrocketed. (Don't believe me? Ask Google.) Setting the numbers aside, and just taking anecdotal evidence from here on the ground level, much of this growth comes from businesses who are abandoning their traditional managed servers hosted by the likes of Rackspcae and Liquid Web, and instead spinning up AWS or GCP instances in an unmanaged environment.

And therein lies a problem that no one seems to be worried about. These organizations are leaving managed space for the wild west of unmanaged space. This shouldn't be an issue for large organizations who have Sys Admins on staff. Those professionals should be up to the task of managing servers.

But for smaller organizations, this move (which is often done to try and save money) adds a whole level of complexity that no one in technology or management is properly addressing. You see, the servers that the dev group has used to develop solutions for the business are highly complex technical entities themselves. And if Liquid Web used to be the entity responsible for maintaining the software on that server, who's responsible over at AWS?

Before you make the jump into an unmanaged environment (cloud or not) you have to know the answers to the following.

What technologies are we actually using, and how are we becoming aware of flaws, updates, and patches?
You can't maintain a service you don't know you're supposed to be maintaining. The tech people will need to know exactly what's out there, and the state that it's in. Do you have an open source FTP server that hasn't seen a code-change since 1999? You probably need to get rid of that entirely and replace it with a better maintained package. You also need to be sure that when you "flip the switch" you don't accidentally take out a service you've forgotten about. If Sales loses VoIP it'll eat into your cost savings very quickly.Read more