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Poem: Partly Cloudy

As any reader of this site knows we're huge huge supporters of the arts. To continue that theme here's a visionary poem by Mason Hale. Few have reached for inspiration and found their muse in the emotional maelstrom that is cloud computing, but Mason has and the results speak for themselves:

Partly Cloudy

We have a dream
A vision
An aspiration
To compute in the cloud
To pay as we go
To drink by the sip
To add cores at our whim
To write to disks with no end
To scale up with demand
And scale down when it ends
Computing as a utility
This is our dream
Becoming reality

There’s a hitch.
There’s a bump in the road
There’s a twist in the path
There’s a detour ahead on the way to achieving our goal

It’s the Database
Our old friend
He is set in his ways
He deals in transactions to keeps things consistent
He maintains the integrity of all his relations
He eats disks for breakfast
He hungers for RAM
He loves queries and joins, and gives each one a plan
He likes his schemas normal and strict
His changes are atomic
That is his schtick

He’s an old friend as I said
We all know him well
So it pains me to say that in this new-fangled cloud
He doesn’t quite fit

Don’t get me wrong, our friend can scale as high as you want
But there’s a price to be paid
That expands as you grow
The cost is complexity
It’s more things to maintain
More things that can go wrong
More ways to inflict pain
On the poor DBA who cares for our friend
The one who backs him up and, if he dies, restores him again

I love our old friend
I know you do too
But it is time for us all to own up to the fact
That putting him into the cloud
Taking him out of the rack
Just causes us both more pain and more woe
It’s time to move on
Time to learn some new tricks
Time to explore a new world that is less ACIDic

It’s time to meet some new friends
Those who were born in the cloud
Who are still growing up
Still figuring things out
There’s Google’s BigTable
and Werner’s SimpleDB
There’s Hive and HBase and Mongo and Couch
There’s Cassandra and Drizzle
And not to be left out
There’s Vertica and Aster if you want to spend for support
There’s a Tokyo Cabinet and something called Redis I’m told

It’s a party, a playgroup of newborn DB’s
They scale and expand, they re-partition with ease
They are new and exciting
And still flawed to be sure
But they’ll learn and improve, grow and mature

They are our future
We developers should take heed
If our databases can change, then maybe
Just maybe
So can we

Reader Comments (4)

Funny, this poem does a good a job of capturing the angst I've felt of late as any in recent memory. Not sure what that says.

I am very eager for a good solution to materialize and gain some traction so I can take it and get on with the rest of my application!

November 29, 1990 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Good one

November 29, 1990 | Unregistered CommenterAnuj Mehta

We just tell folks not to put their DB in the cloud -- we tell them to put their DB on hardware and we cross connect the hardware at high speed to the cloud using our "CloudConnect" service: -- why bother even trying to fit your DB in the cloud when it's not really meant to be there. Just vertically scale it on hardware (a big box with lots of disk and RAM like our EnterprisePath: and then connect to the cloud for the web servers and app servers layer. Makes things a lot easier -- especially when there are PCI/HIPAA/SOX etc. concerns....

November 29, 1990 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Lancaster

Wow, what an amazing poem. It is so sincere yet so nerdy. You really can feel a sense of loss and sadness with the realization our old friend the db isn't going to make this transition to the cloud. Good job!

November 29, 1990 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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