Preface: Who This Book Is For
The five of us got together and wrote a book that might (at times) be too technical for business leaders, but “too business-y” for technical people. If this is a complaint you’ve got after reading this book…perfect! While we definitely put some technical stuff in here, if you’re looking for a book on how to use
kubectl—the CLI interface for Kubernetes—or use
generator to create a
ConfigMap, this is not the book for you.
Our experience has shown us—more than any one of us wants to admit—that too many business people don’t truly understand the technology they’re signing the bills for (or for that matter, that technology’s potential). Nothing good comes of this: late projects, missed expectations, excessive costs, and worse yet—lost opportunities. If business teams lack the “chops” to challenge IT or understand technology discussions within their organizations, it’s akin to using a decades-old word translation algorithm. For example, one famous algorithm took a US phrase, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,” and translated it into Russian as, “The vodka is good but the meat is rotten.” We think you get our point. Business people—if your spirit is willing, we can’t promise you good vodka; but we can promise you a good (in fact, a great) foundation to a cloud strategy that lets you lead from the front and helps you be the leader you want to be.
At the same time, this book is for all those propeller heads (we know you well, we are you) who get enthralled with the underpinnings but fail to realize that technology for technology’s sake doesn’t help a business succeed. If you fit that profile, this book is going to really help drive your career because there are not a lot of people that have your technical backgrounds. Beyond helping the organizations you work for succeed, this book will give you options to “pond jump” into myriad leadership roles across your company and accelerate your career. For whatever pothole or mountain of accomplishments our authoring team has, we can tell you that it all came from a deep technology start with layers of business experience and acumen added over the years. We’re not saying be like us (that may or may not be a good thing), but we are telling you this: technology people who understand business outperform technology people who don’t understand business.
So just whom is this book for? We think anyone. You might be informed on all aspects of cloud, or you might just be getting started and have little understanding of how it works, why it works, or how to implement and scale a successful cloud strategy. While we targeted this book for all business leaders, no matter who you are, we think this book is going to help you. Naturally it’ll help those leaders who are not sure where to start, but we also think our personal experiences will greatly benefit those who have started and are unsure of where to go next. With all that said, we’re confident there is a cohort of business and technical individuals that this book is really going to resonate with. These folks typically work in large organizations that have been around for a while. These organizations have a mix of generational technology. They have monolithic apps they don’t want to touch because those rock-solid apps literally keep “the lights on,” but they’ve also built some cool mobile stuff using service-oriented architecture (SOA) or microservices (don’t worry if you don’t know what those are, we get into them in Chapter 4). If you work big-box retail, oil and gas, banking, airlines, government, insurance, consumer packaged goods (the list goes on and on), we can pretty much guarantee you that you fit into this group. This book is for you because you’ve definitely got some cloud going on, but you may not be making the progress you’d hoped for or (quite commonly) you’re not getting the returns you thought you’d be getting and wondering if you’re doing it right.
This book requires no previous knowledge of cloud. The topics we introduce will be helpful for a vast audience, ranging from business leaders to technical folks across all industries. If you’re a business leader, you’ll know just the questions to ask, the corners to look around, and the ideas to challenge as you tactfully plan your forward-thinking cloud strategy. If you’re a technical person, you’ll understand how your expertise can drive forward the organizations you work for with a solid understanding of how cloud challenges (especially for large-sized companies) are much different than a startup’s “Swipe your credit card and let’s get going” approach.
Whomever you are, we think the concepts you need to know to successfully scale a cloud strategy and get all the value out of cloud can be found in the pages that follow.
Conventions Used in This Book
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Our Collective Thank Yous and Acknowledgments
This book would not have been possible without the insights and efforts from some really fine people we know. Terry Bird and Meg Murphy jumped in on the idea and never let go of it from the get go, across divisional line changes and reorganizations; they are always so forward thinking and we thank them for that. Thank yous are also in order for Shelia Bereszniewicz (who handled all the contracts and lawyers), Paul Amrbaz and Pamela Chace (our web presence peeps), Bill “Mr. Quantum” Minor (helped review some sections), and Filipe Miranda (for his insights on SELinux and access controls—a true technologist with a deep understanding of everything cloud). Of course, a collective thank you to Linda “Eagle Eye” Snow (and not because she’s from Philly) for always being willing to read a chapter and use her sharp eyes to catch almost anything wrong.
Finally, we want to heartfully thank (although at times we cursed their deadlines) the O’Reilly crew’s personal efforts that went into getting this book from an idea we had while Slacking each other wondering how long on average it takes for people to realize they are double-muted on a WebEx call to what’s in your hands today. Some people show up at their job every day to earn a paycheck, but we’re glad these folks go to work to build something: Michele Cronin, Mike Loukides, Sharon Cordesse, Kristen Brown, and Rachel Roumeliotis...thanks!
Our Personal Dedications and Reflections
If you’ve read any dedication for any book I’ve written in the last five years, you’ve concluded I’m a liar. Seriously, you can’t keep telling people you’re writing your last book and keep writing, so I won’t make any promises not to put pen to paper again. That said, I know one thing I will never do again: write a book with three people named Chris, especially when two of them share the same first letter of their surname! No offense, these are some of the most talented guys I know—but it sure is confusing and makes calls difficult because you can’t even say, “Chris B…” (add to this Chris Backer is pronounced like Baker). On a serious note—to a fantastic group of professionals and friends, some new to me, some not, and one like a brother.
Let me tell you, it’s a lot of work to write a book. Lots of cursing (at times, my kid thought I was watching an HBO show in my office) aimed at the people that were there from the get go (Terry Bird, one of the finest people I know, was an f-bomb victim) across weekends and long weeknights wondering if you’re making a difference. After all, it’s not like I’m writing 50 Shades of Hybrid Cloud, so these works don’t bring me early retirement. Every book I write, I learn. And with that I write to tell stories (truthful ones), to wrap technology in a manner that you can understand and with hopes that you might find a smile here and there as you read through it. So why do I write? Honestly, my parents instilled me with a never-ending thirst for learning; I’m all too well aware that one of the biggest blessings in my life right now is a Caller ID that says, “Mom or Dad.”
To Brad Arnott. The most talented guy that refuses to see it. I mean who else decides to golf and breaks 80 in 3 years, decides to be a fisherman and goes pro, decides to be a marksman and wins awards, decides to do anything and becomes great. Take a moment Brad, look in the mirror, and know the awe you inspire.
To my wife (Kelly) and kid (Chloë)—forever by my side—nothing more needs to be said.
Professionally, to the group of people that inspire me on the daily to try to be a better person and use my brains for something bigger. Stephanie Trunzo, Deb Jenson, Deb Bubb, and Kelly Lyndgaard—you’re the kind of ladies any father wants their daughter to follow—you’ve become sisters, and I stand in awe of you on the daily. To Chris Hugill and Bob Picciano, who continue to inspire me and leave me in awe of their knowledge—I wonder if these guys even use Google. Within IBM, there are so many people to mention, so I’ll just random sample the list. I took over a new division in 2021—lots of new team members that I asked to buy into a new team ethos, a mission (with a steep climb) and to all of them that followed, thank you. To Drew Valentine and John Teltsch who have always been a text message away. And to a new boss, Sebastian Krause, who has just the right amount of everything to be tremendous—there’s a quality of leadership that drives you where you need to be driven (even if I don’t like it at times) and gives you the autonomy to create…that’s his recipe. A shout-out to Steve Astorino (an incredible leader) and to the transformation he has done with culture—your ideas are even bigger than the engine in that supercar you drive, and the Toronto lab adores you for it. Finally, it seems I can’t write a book without thanking, consulting, or coauthoring with Rob Thomas. For 10 years, you’ve been 20% pushing me (in a way I don’t like) into personal growth zones with your challenges and 80% inspiring me to never take my foot off the knowledge gas pedal. What you’re doing at IBM is something beyond special.
Remember everyone, health is wealth—so stay positive and forever test negative!
To those friends and family that inspire me to live authentically, thank you. It would be an understatement to call 2020 merely a challenging year—I think, for all of us to an extent, it has been a rare opportunity to evaluate what’s important to our lives and make an honest measure of how we are spending the precious time we have. And most remarkably of all, it was (and continues to be) a strangely universal experience shared by every person across each corner of the globe. Those events are few and far between.
It’s my fervent hope that collectively we hold on to the silver linings of a taxing year: the remarkable quiet and calm of those first weeks of lockdown, the added time at home with family or friends in lieu of globe-trotting or commuting, the recognition of the selfless work carried out day after day by others to make our lives safe and secure. I’ve been an avid outdoorsman for the whole of my life, and it’s been wonderful to see how COVID-19 has rekindled in the public mind a renewed draw towards natural spaces, public lands, and healthy ecosystems. With greater public interest comes additional pressure on these delicate environments, but likewise a mutual interest in their stewardship and conservation. My belief is that the more stakeholders we have in protecting public lands and natural systems, the more likely we are to succeed in preserving these treasures for the future. Let’s keep that momentum going.
In hindsight, it seems halfway absurd to have started writing a book amidst all the uncertainty and personal reckonings of the last year. None of this, frankly, would have been possible without the unwavering commitment and talent of my coauthor and contributors. Paul, Chris B., Chris K., Sai, and our incredible publisher—you have my sincere thanks and gratitude.
As an early professional, I spent countless hours reading O’Reilly technology books, learning and growing my skills. With every new project that I embarked on, I often sought out an O’Reilly book on the topic. I am truly grateful to have had this opportunity as a coauthor for a topic that has become one of the most transformational technology shifts of my time. To my coauthors, it has been an absolute pleasure working with and learning from each of you. A special thank you to Paul Z for the invitation to contribute to this book. You are an inspiration to many!
To Anna Shugol, Elton de Souza, Filipe Miranda, Patrick Fruth, Roberto Calderon, and Vic Cross (aka The Z Acceleration Team). You’ve led our brand into a new era of Hybrid Cloud—and in the midst of the most challenging event our society has faced in modern times. You all are the “best of the best.” I am truly grateful for your dedication and entrepreneurial mindset. #TogetherWeWin
To my wife (Anna), thank you for your support and encouragement over the years. You push me to be a better person every day. And to my incredible boys (Ty, Colton, and Caden): each of you make me so proud! Set your goals high and never stop learning.
When I look back at all my professional and personal accomplishments, it all started with an inner hunger and work ethic that was instilled in me by my parents John and Grace. The lessons I learned about hard work, competition, setting high goals, and how to treat people have served as my recipe for success. I dedicate this book to you and thank you for always pushing me outside my comfort zone to be “even better.”
To my boys, Ryan and Noah, set high goals and go after your dreams. If it is hard then you are growing; learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable because that is where the magic happens. Feed your inner curiosity and fire with goals you never thought possible. I will always be there to love, support, and push you to greatness wherever your passions take you.
A voice, written or spoken, is the single most important thing a person has—it enables one to communicate their thoughts, expand others’ beliefs, and influence the world. I’d like to thank my colleagues and mentors that helped me create my own voice—Adam Gunther, Jason Gartner, Andrew Hoyt, Jason Goode, and Nathan Smith.
Personally, I’d like to thank my older brother, Ram Vennam, who always served as a role model to me from a young age all the way through blazing the trail for me as a developer and leader at IBM. Finally, I’d like to thank my wife Reena, my sister-in-law Belinda, and my parents for always being there to support me—the only reason I’ve made it this far in my career is the love and care from those dear to me.
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