The next 10 years of cloud won’t look like the last.
The cloud has been moving fast. It has dramatically accelerated the rate of software innovation, but how companies and developers “cloud” needs to change for this trend to continue.
The tools, systems and practices that have brought us this far will not take us to the next level. Running and managing applications in the cloud remains too complicated, too costly, too siloed, too locked-in, too dispersed.
“The cloud works just fine”
To some the cloud works just fine. Your personal computer worked just fine in the days of installing printer drivers and burning CD-ROM images. The advent of modern desktop operating systems, like Windows, changed everything. Now you drag & drop your files from one folder to another continent without thinking about how this is done. All the complex logistics are solved for you by the OS. It just #magically works.
When it comes to the cloud, we are still essentially “writing custom drivers and burning images”. Developers spend hours, days or months configuring and maintaining cloud systems, rather just focusing on building their apps. So no, the cloud does not work just fine, if we imagine a better future.
An innovation mirage: building a faster horse
As the cloud community, we’ve hit an innovation mirage. Today’s cloud innovations are merely tactical tools that make other tools easier to use. They are point solutions for small tactical problems rather than a system wide approach. Without a strategic review, these tools make the “cloud toolbox” even heavier. Companies are now paying not only for the heavy toolbox but also for engineers who can lift it and configure the tools together. Ironically, those engineers build virtually the same stack over and over again. Collectively, we are building a faster horse.
At Monk, we propose a different approach. A leap, if you like.
Instead of another tool, we’ve built a cloud operating system.
“Cloud operating system” here does not mean Linux on a VM at a cloud provider. We use the term to mean an operating system atop the cloud infrastructure. Unlike Linux which works with primitives like CPU, RAM, and disk; monkOS (or our CloudOS) works with primitives like compute clusters, API endpoints and cloud storage.
Another way to look at it: monkOS is an abstraction layer between the cloud and developers. It treats the entire cloud as a single computer. The goal is that developers treat and operate the entire cloud with the same ease as they do their laptop. The same way Windows makes it easy to do high-level tasks by abstracting away low level operations, similarly monkOS makes it easy to setup systems in the cloud by abstracting away the low level operations like creating and configuring instances, setting up networking etc.
In short, monkOS standardises & manages all the resources and complexity of the cloud, so developers can be system architects, not plumbers.
- Magic, not plumbing. The cloud of the past is about “plumbing”. It works but you need to get your hands dirty. The future of the cloud should feel like #magic.
- Freedom to choose. The last decade of the cloud was about making cloud trades off: managed vs scalable, cheap vs lock-in, easy vs limited. monkOS frees businesses from such trade offs. Developers can build the best application for the business today and freely grow, outgrow and/or migrate. With monkOS you start simply, graduate, add or migrate easily to other or multiple clouds or move back on premise if you like.
- Cloud as One. The cloud of the past was about proprietary competitive differentiation of otherwise identical services. The time to unify around a shared abstraction has arrived. monkOS brings the cloud as one. One control plane, one interface, one engine to rule them all.
- Build together. The cloud configuration of today is a zoo of incompatible files and primitives. Practitioners build and rebuild fragile systems. The monkOS unified operating model and a repository of configurations unleashes collaboration in building infinitive cloud components and combinations. With monkOS we can build together, not in silos. We like to think about it as a community value accretive approach.
- New pricing expectation. monkOS’s qualities of ease, speed, and portability are the new table stakes. We believe they should not be charged for. We will never charge you for making the cloud easier, more scalable, more portable or more available. Yes, you read it correctly, stop paying for faster horses.
- Keep the good parts. Rooted in the huge investment of software available today. Adoption is easy and painless.
- Stay tuned: More to come.