How to waste $5M on containerized infrastructure

Success in Kubernetes and containers is really about the conversation

“We’ve built a 70,000 node Mesos cluster for our developers but they won’t use it. Can you help?” This was the beginning of a conversation with the VP of Infrastructure Operations in a very large and famous company. While an impressive feat to accomplish, it was also by far the largest containerized infrastructure setup I had seen that had gone unused — nor, sadly, was it an isolated incident.

The answer came to me when I remembered a day in my career 15 years ago:

Sitting at my desk as a developer in a large bank, I remember impeccably dressed salespeople coming and going into our meeting rooms, courting our VP of Infrastructure and his team. They were from VMware, back then the company for virtualized infrastructure. I was just a developer at the bank but not even my boss or his boss or even his boss’s boss were invited to any of the steakhouse dinner events the VMware people were hosting almost every week. VMware salespeople were only interested in the Operations and Infrastructure decision makers. 2 or 3 months later, our team was told that a deal with VMware had been signed and we will be moving our services over to VMs soon, and shortly after this move took place over a couple of weekends. Then one Monday morning, the services my team were responsible for were running out of VMs instead of the old bare metal servers with flashing blue lights and noisy fans. That was all. Our entire infrastructure was virtualized in a matter of months without much say from the developers, and while we were putting on some fake resistance for this change (and who likes change after all) and grudgingly agreeing to be on stand-by over a couple of weekends, we couldn’t really tell the difference between the old and the new setup: everything was the same. Our VM servers behaved and felt like “real” servers. I am sure we wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference in a double blind test if anyone had conducted one.

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