Should IT build a castle or a mobile home?

So I have many hobbies to keep my mind busy during idle times… like when driving a car.   One of my favorite hobbies is to identify the best candidate locations to live in if the Zombie apocalypse was to happen.   As I drive in my car between locations I see many different buildings and I attempt to rate large buildings by their Zombie proof nature.   There are many things to consider in the perfect Zombie defense location for example:

  • Avoiding buildings with large amounts of windows or first floor windows
  • Building made of materials that cannot be bludgeoned open for example stone
  • More than one exit but not too many exits
  • A location that can be defended on all sides and allows visible approach

There are many other considerations like proximity to water and food etc..  but basically I am looking for the modern equivalent of a castle:pexels-photo

OK what does this have to do with IT

Traditional infrastructure is architected like a castle its primary goal is to secure at the perimeter and be very imposing to keep people out.   During a zombie attack this model is great until they get in then it becomes a grave yard.   IT architects myself include spend a lot of time considering all the factors that are required to build the perfect castle.   There are considerations like:

  • Availability
  • Recoverability
  •  Manageability
  • Performance
  • Security

That all have to be considered and as you add another wing to your castle every one of these elements of design must be considered for the whole castle.  We cannot add a new wing that bridges the moat without extending the moat etc..   Our design to build the perfect castle has created a monolithic drag.   While development teams move from annual releases to quarters or weeks or days we continue to attempt to control the world from a perimeter design perspective.   If we could identify all possible additions to the castle at the beginning we could potentially account for them.   This was true in the castle days:  there were only so many ways to get into the castle and so many methods to break in.    Even worse the castle provided lots of nooks and locations for zombies to hide and attack me when not expecting it..  This is the challenge with the Zombie attack they don’t follow the rules they just might create a ladder out of zombie bodies and get into your castle (World War Z style).   If we compare zombies to the challenges being thrown at IT today the story becomes valid.    How do we deal with constant change and unknown?   How do we become agile to change?   Is it from building a better castle?

Introducing the mobile home


Today I realized that the perfect solution to my Zombie question was the mobile home.   We can all assume that I need a place to sleep.   Something that I can secure with reasonable assurance.   I can re-enforce the walls and windows on a mobile home and I gain something I don’t have with a castle: mobility.  I can move my secured location and goods to new locations.  My mobile home is large enough to provide for my needs without providing too many places for zombies to hide.  IT needs this type of mobility.   Cloud has provided faster time to market for many enterprises but in reality you are only renting space in someone else’s castle.    There are all types of methods to secure your valuables from mine but in reality we are at the mercy of the castle owner.   What if my service could become a secured mobile home… that would provide the agility I need in the long run.   The roach motel is very alive and well in cloud providers today.   Many providers have no cross provider capabilities while others provide tools to transform the data between formats.   My mobile home needs to be secure and not reconfigured each time I move between locations while looking for resources or avoiding attack.  We need to reconsider IT as a secured mobile home and start to build this model.   Some functions to consider in my mobile home:

  • Small enough to provide the required functions (bathroom, kitchen and sleeping space or in IT terms business value) and not an inch larger than required
  • Self contained security the encircles the service
  • Mobility without interruption of services

Thanks for reading my rant.  Please feel free to provide your favorite zombie hiding location or your thoughts on the future of IT.


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