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Mark Gaydos wrote an entry called “Virtualization Doesn’t Kill People. People……”, but somehow the imagery that he evoked didn’t seem quite right to me.

Here’s the imagery that comes to my mind when the topic of virtualization, lack of controls, and increasing the rate of fire come up…

As auditors say, where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire. There’s a reason why many of the computing environments that have the highest number of unplanned outages are those that are virtualized. It has little to do with the underlying technology, but an inevitable outcome of the following formula:

Unplanned work = rate of change * change success rate * mean time to restore service

In other words, as “rate of change” increases without a commensurate increase in “change success rate” and commensurate decrease in “mean time to restore service”, the amount of firefighting can only go up… (Not represented here is the potentially exponential factor that single point of failure risks introduce.)

Look, don’t get me wrong. I love virtualization. Anyone who has spent a significant chunk of their life watching OSes load for hours or days from tape can’t help but love virtualization. But, holy cow, talk about needing to handle with care!

Here’s my attempt to represent that same formula, but using pictures…

…multiplied by…

…multiplied by…

…equals…

(Reverse gun image: Source: Christian Faure)