Sunday, 9 May 2010

Softservice Distro

...What?

The term Distro, in relation to software, effectively boils down to a 'single package'. This is ultimately what allows a program (or set of many programs) to be shared, tested and ultimately improved in a repeatable way. A good package is one that makes this distribution process easy and accurate (read fully automated - think app stores).

I've coined the phrase 'Softservice' to describe all the software and configuration required to provision a high level user service on as many computing devices as required. The term 'Softservice Distro' would define how the softservice could be easily distributed and therefore shared and tested (just add hardware / virtual or otherwise).

In summary a single packaged distro of distros such that the entire configuration forms a single, testable, end user service or"Softservice Distro"!

...Why?

I think the cost, reliability and the effective security of computing services is held back as the complexity of distributed systems grows. I believe these issues could be largely mitigated by removing the duplication of effort that exists in maintaining software services at the level of a single vendors software package.

If the unit of a distro were to be extended to encompass an entire computing environment, required to provide services, then the costs and reliability could be effortlessly shared between providers or even end users.

...How?

DevOps are already solving these problems for their own clients. I'm just advocating that the solutions are shared so that a maintainable 'Softservice Distro' can be provided direct to end users for use and to other DevOps to improve. This isn't a cloud provided service as such - more a provisioning service from the cloud to be owned and run as end users require. This would effectively recycle the knowledge used by the DevOps community so that it becomes accessible to a broader base of users. See my previous post on the Deployment Automation Solution for a few more details.

The result could be a collaborative effort to provide incrementally improving computing services to benefit end users directly. The idea would be to avoid the disparately provided and maintained services we experience today - again, see my other post Solution Store not Hobby Kit.