By Ben Sawyer, Consulting Architect, LogicsOne
As a software engineer, it is very easy to, well, over-engineer something. But, just because you *can* do something doesn't mean you *should* do something. For example, I can get a tattoo, but I shouldn't. That being said, I did get a tattoo a while back, so don't judge me. Okay, back to the point. These days, where for almost any project it's hard to control scope, it's very easy for an engineer to go above and beyond what is required because oftentimes they will build something because they think it's cool. These ideas are often not vetted by the internal team or, even more tragically, the client. And, while the idea may actually be great, the engineer has unknowingly increased the duration of the project significantly because, now, not only will time be used to implement some feature, but more time is needed to test how that feature may affect the many other "known" features of a product or service.
There is no better example of simplicity than Apple. Steve Jobs was fanatical about keeping its products as simple as possible. If you think about it, the more features and moving parts a product has can very easily lead to more confusion. There is a lot of up front work (a lot) that needs to be considered about how a user *should* (there's that word again) use a product...in other words, how to control their experience. My 3-year old son was able to navigate his way around my iPhone in a matter of days so that speaks volumes to its usability. My mom still calls me once a week with an iPhone question and that speaks to her age.
For anyone who builds a product or delivers a service, it is crucial to consider not only how someone should consume their product but also how they shouldn't. In other words, don't let them shoot themselves in the foot (sorry Plaxico Burress). In terms of configuring or customizing a piece of software, many have options that are grouped under a "Basic" or "Advanced" group. The goal is to protect the users from themselves because if my mom ends up in the "Advanced" settings, I will most likely get a phone call in a matter of minutes (unless she's managed to disable her phone).
So what does usability have to do with the cloud? Lots. As companies expand their data centers, move some resources to the public cloud, and in general, add more moving parts, it's crucial to make sure all those products work together nicely and, if possible, are able to be managed as easily and in as few "places" as possible. Think of the famous new buzzword, Single Pane of Glass. That very phrase implies that there is a bunch of stuff going on under the covers which therefore necessitates having an easy place to control, monitor, and use all the moving parts. Regardless of what products companies use, they need to make certain that it's not just the guts and plumbing of the product that's important, it's how you may manage them. Simplicity is even more important as people move to the public cloud where in many cases a user has little control over the UI (user interface) which must be used to manage those resources. That’s why it’s key to find a tool which can not only integrate with a company’s existing private infrastructure but also any one of the many public service providers out there. Any large service provider will provide a public API (a way for your code to call their code) so that you can manipulate the underlying resources without having to use their front-end application.
Wouldn't it be great if there was a product out there that allowed people to monitor manage their entire infrastructure from a single place? Well, it just so happens there is…GreenPages’ Cloud Management as a Service solution, a.k.a., CMaaS. This product takes all the hard work from thousands of hours of development presents the abundance of information in a very easy to use interface. But don’t be fooled by its simplicity; Steve Ballmer said the iPhone would never take off. Appreciatethe amount ofwork that went into understanding how someone would use it in addition to how someone could use it. Bottom line…don’t be a Steve Ballmer.
To learn more about Cloud Management as a Service and the importance of hybrid cloud management in today’s IT landscape, download this free whitepaper. To contact us for more information on GreenPages CMaaS offering, click here!