Every couple of weeks, I get emails about a new reference architecture for something or other, from any one of an endless list of vendors. I inevitably click through to see what they’re talking about, and it’s almost always something hidden behind a registration wall. Every once in a while I’m sufficiently curious to fill out the form, and almost universally I end up getting force-fed a PDF whitepaper.
This is completely the wrong model. We’ve been talking about the importance of the barrier to entry for many years, and a PDF writeup and illustration of a reference architecture is a perfect example of that.
The problem is that the distribution model hasn’t changed with the times. As I sit here at VMworld, I’m hearing about how we now have ubiquitous virtual machines and containers, and we have infrastructure as code a la Puppet and Chef. Yet this stuff is still shipped in the same way it’s been shipped for decades, in a form meant to be laboriously translated from illustration into infrastructure, replicated across every single consumer of the architecture.
Why aren’t we shipping reference architectures as code samples? Even dead-tree programming books have been doing this for years. We now have the technology to ship even multi-server descriptions of IT infrastructure, so let’s do it.
Disclosure: Chef is a client. Puppet Labs has been a client. Docker and Google are not clients.