Home The Eight Things the Simpsons Can Teach You About Cloud Computing

The Eight Things the Simpsons Can Teach You About Cloud Computing

When the Simpsons started out back in 1987 as animated shorts for the Tracey Ullman show no one knew they would become this powerhouse and continue to this very day. Given that cloud computing is now a higher priority than overall security (at least according to this E&Y report), it is time to think more creatively about cloud deployments. 

How can we learn from this cartoon’s success in our own enterprise IT departments as we get ready to deploy cloud computing? Here are a few ideas, and feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments.

  • Be like Bart: under-promise and over-deliver. Bart is the perennial slacker, but that doesn’t mean goofing off at work. Instead, make sure your cloud project doesn’t promise the moon and the stars, and can deliver on the basics. 
  • Test and test again. Just as the idea for the show started small and grew into its own show, so should your cloud deployment. Take some time to try out various vendors, and make sure that they offer what you need.
  • Don’t be afraid to piss off someone in power. If you are going to really understand cloud computing, chances are you are going to skewer someone’s sacred cow. But don’t let that stop you, or put a kibosh on your efforts. Some of the more memorable Simpsons episodes used these plot lines.
  • Find the D’oh! moments and make sure you share them with your team.
    Like Homer, we all do some stupid things, but the key is learning from our mistakes. The trademark Homer expression can be a useful reminder here that when you slip up, make sure you know why and how not to have it happen again. This goes for a lot more than just cloud computing, but recognize that we are all new to some aspects of this technology, so mistakes will happen.
  • Not every cloud service has the same color. Unlike the yellow-hued Simpson characters, not every service is going to appear the same to you. The whole idea of cloud computing is being able to mix and match services with ease. Spend some time looking at how they interact with other vendors’ offerings and whether you can combine the parts to be bigger than the whole.
  • Understand your corporate culture. One of the reasons why the Simpsons works so well is that it makes fun of our culture from many different angles. Keep your own corporate culture in mind when you are putting together your own cloud deployment so you can match your risk levels and understanding of data models with the technology that you are selecting.
  • Just like Springfield, the cloud can be anywhere. One of the charming aspects of the show is that you never really know where Springfield is. But this can be a problem for your data in the cloud. Make sure you vet your vendors and know where their data centers are located, and how you are connected to them.
  • Unlike the nuclear plant in the show, prepare for disasters. The movie plot line and many of the shows posit a nuclear disaster or some such mishap and the hijinks that ensue. Spend some time thinking through what this means for your cloud data and what backup and recovery systems need to be in place, and what your recovery time objectives should be.

Thanks to Mike Michalowicz’ post on Amex’ Open for the original idea, along with all the great shows over the years.

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