“Playing the Cloud” is the positive alternative to “Gaming the Cloud”

What’s the difference between these two commonplace bumper sticker slogans?

– War is not the answer…. End War
– Peace is the answer…. Make Peace

Both statements have the same good intention, except “end war” puts the emphasis on the relatively negative word “war,” while “make peace” puts the emphasis on a very positive thought. Words matter, just ask any political pollster how they craft their surveys & slogans, and you’ll learn the persuasive word science of Frank Luntz . Written words are the results of thought, thoughts are the results of “energy,” and putting energy out to the Universe creates results.

Internally at Sonian I coined the phrase “gaming the cloud” as a rally cry to describe how we manage the cloud to our benefit. We’re not doing anything unsavory or nefarious, just architecting software and creating processes that take advantage of all the positive attributes of cloud computing. We’re innovating exactly how cloud infrastructure vendors hoped would happen when they welcomed ISV’s to innovate on their platforms. It’s the best of all times to be creating cloud-powered software as a service.

So when I say “gaming the cloud,” what I really mean is seeking our best economic advantage. When we make the right software design decisions, we’re not only getting the best cost of goods, we’re also getting the best reliability. But I realize the phrase “gaming the cloud” carries an unintended negative pall. The mental image is not in the true spirit of our mission.

So what’s the positive alternative to “Gaming the Cloud?” …. Playing the Cloud.

“Playing the Cloud” to create superior economic advantage!”

Deconstructing the new phrase, the pivotal word is “playing” as the antidote to “gaming.” Gaming has a negative connotation, while “playing” is neutral at worst, and can be used in a variety of ways as a play on words. In an economic sense there is “playing the market,” or “playing the ponies,” and in a mission sense there is “playing to win.”

The cloud is a system of pricing rules. Prior to the cloud, system architects thought in terms of “servers” as their building blocks. In the cloud, the building blocks are compute units and API calls. Servers have costs, fairly easily understood since that was the reference standard for the past twenty years. Architects could determine overall system costs by knowing how many servers they need. In the cloud, compute units and API requests also have costs, but priced very differently than a piece of hardware. Cloud architects have a more difficult time figuring out total “infrastructure expense.”

The future looks great since the cloud is all about “infrastructure as code,” cloud-powered systems can be made self-aware of their own internal operating costs. That’s a dramatic paradigm shift from the old co-location days.  And we’re witnessing this shift in real-time as cloud adoption rises.

So when you hear the phrase “gaming the cloud” don’t imagine the dark-side… think about the positive alternative “Playing the Cloud” for superior economic advantage.