I wanted to share a new activity that I had an interest in recently. I watched many youtube videos about cooking simple home-cooked food. One of the simple dishes to follow is Salmon Teriyaki. The ingredients are quite simple: fresh raw Salmon, teriyaki sauce, some Japanese cooking sauce, and a bit of onion. All the components are available in the nearest supermarket. I watched the tutorial video for few times and went to the supermarket to buy the ingredients:
- 500 gram of fresh Salmon
- a bottle of 250 ml teriyaki sauce (this is the smallest bottle)
- a bottle of Japanese barbeque sauce (I took the lowest amount possible)
- a bag of onion consists of 3 pieces of onions (this is the smallest bag)
The problem happens when I start cooking. I need a few milliliters of teriyaki sauce to marinate the raw Salmon for a night in the fridge. I need a few of Japanese barbeque sauce to add. I need half of the onion for a one-time cook. What do I do with the rest of the ingredients? I can keep the teriyaki sauce for later (just in case I want to cook another teriyaki dish). I can keep the barbeque sauce for another purpose. I can keep the onion for another recipe as well. I keep the sauces in my sauce rack and onion in my fridge as usual.
My wife does a lot of cooking, and she kept varieties of sauces, cooking oils, condiments, flours, as well as fresh ingredients. I can quickly found rarely use cooking syrup, or spicy Korean sauce, or spices that are uncommon for the majority of the dishes. These are all kept in our shelf, sometimes the product reaching its expiry date without being fully consumed.
In the last couple of weeks, I went to a new supermarket concept. It’s more to a wholesaler where they sell the daily food product such as nuts, pasta, rice, cooking oil, condiments, hygiene products, dry beverages, baking ingredients, etc. You can buy the products in any amount (rounded up per 100gr) and weigh in the counter. You can even bring your container to pack the stuff. Not only is it good for the environment, but also we can reduce food waste.
By only buying what I need, I reduce my inventory on my shelf. I can get fresher food each time I need it. Instead of buying one bag of sesame seed and only use 10%, now I can buy just enough to satisfy my need. The concept changes my mindset and how I can reduce my inventory. Another benefit is I can buy other food to complement.
This Is Exactly What is Happening in the Enterprise IT
When I worked with my customers from Enterprise IT, most of them have a certain amount of budget to spend. Spending it blindly without looking at its consumption is a waste of resources. Sometimes it is not the IT operation team to blame; it is the process that makes them have to do what they do. The procurement process usually takes a long time, which includes tender process, clarifications, evaluations, etc. The objective of purchasing in bulk to achieve an economy of scale. In most cases, Enterprise IT has to buy in size to satisfy a few requirements.
Let me give an example of an Enterprise that needs to have an active-active data center with a few servers in each data center. The data center environment is small and may grow in the future. In an active-active data center, standard requirements are:
- Server Load balancer
- Global Load balancer
- Data Center switching fabric
- Data Center switching which supports DC interconnect overlay
Because this Enterprise has a small number of servers, they probably ended up with the smallest Server Load Balancer available and only utilized about 30%. As for Global Load Balancer, they go with the smallest box as well and only use 10% of its capacity. The Load Balancer vendor said they couldn’t consolidate them together due to some technical constraints. They also ended up with feature-rich data center switches and routers, which they may not leverage all the features.
What Should an Enterprise Do?
A new approach and modern architecture are required for an Enterprise to adopt the concept of consumption model. It involves redesigning the data center components to allow this Enterprise to consumes what they needed. Before an Enterprise can enable the consumption model, they have to adopt the software-first architecture, which means to re-engineer the entire data center into software-based infrastructure. Software-based data center infrastructure allows a data center to flexibly consumes the fundamental infrastructure building blocks: compute, network, storage. Just like making a cake, the cloud management platform is the sugarcoat; it adds automation for a fundamental building block and makes the entire cake appetizing.
Adopting a software-first infrastructure is the first step to enable the consumption model. The objective is to reduce waste of capacity and channel them for another purpose. Reducing the inventory not only benefit in the short term but also in the long run as some part of the budget are freed and can be allocated to another strategic innovation.
Speaking about the consumption model, isn’t this is a model adopted by a public cloud provider?