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Cloud Insight from the Food Network


As a big fan of Top Chef and a reasonably talented home cook, I wondered how I could elevate my talents without the investment of time and money in chef school.  So I began to watch more closely to determine what factors might enable real chefs to produce wonderful cuisine.  There are many answers to this question, but the first is a French term (aren’t all good cooking terms French?) – mise en place.  It is translated as “to put in place,” and to a chef means that everything needed to prepare a dish is ready.  Leeks are cleaned and sliced, sauces prepped, herbs lined up, pans selected, proteins prepped.  Little things matter. Do you preheat your pan before adding the oil, then the protein?  Everything comes together like magic when you ensure you are ready to cook. 

Clouds are considered data center magic, but unless you take the time to prepare before you launch your cloud, the results will be less optimal.  There are many considerations (public, private or hybrid), platforms, etc., but a key decision that is too often left to last is how you will manage your cloud.  No matter how you design your applications (or how much or little control you have over the infrastructure), you will need to have certain abilities before your cloud becomes production.  Your mise en place should include:

  • Continuous Deep-Dive Diagnostics — Continuously collect data so that you have it right where you need it, when you need it.  Inventory the cupboard to be sure you have all the ingredients you need for the dish
  • 20/20 Visibility — Just the right data, at the right time.  Only have the ingredients you need at hand, but be sure to have them all.
  • End User Experience Measurement – knowing exactly what your customers are experiencing, before they are unhappy and leave your site.  Taste your dish early and often, so that you can correct issues before your diner tastes the dish.
  • Real Time Behavior Learning – learning what is normal behavior and automatically detecting problems, so they can be more rapidly solved.  Chefs make dishes many times before serving them to guest.  Make sure you know how it should taste, before you bring it to production.
  • Service Availability and Performance Management – avoid outages and reduce downtime by proactively monitoring and managing your end-to-end business transactions.  Keep tasting and correct your dish as you go. 
  • Capacity Optimization – Be prepared to handle changes in capacity needs, both because of increased transaction demand as well as changes in the transaction mix.  This means understanding all the resources involved and keeping on top of their utilization, as well as being able to project impact if one resource is in demand.  Chefs frequently have to adjust to changing numbers of diners; you will too.

Perhaps you were hoping that it would be as simple as turning on a switch.  But getting this right, in advance, will ensure that you can satisfy your customers, increase profits and reduce risks.  Become a cloud chef, implementing a mise en place plan for your cloud.