What Cloud Engineers Could Learn from Clouds

A presentation at DevOpsDays Seattle 2022 in in Seattle, WA, USA by Laura Santamaria

Let’s talk about clouds. No, not that kind of cloud with other people’s computers. Let’s talk about the kind of clouds that kids draw as fluffy puffballs. Did you know that clouds are complex, chaotic systems that have a lot in common with our tech clouds of today? Weather systems and planetary atmospheres are fascinating explorations in understanding, modeling, and (attempting to) predict complex chaotic systems in an applied setting, and the human race has been studying clouds for millions of years. We’ve only started studying them from the perspective of mathematics and physics in recent times—a timeframe measured in hundreds of years. In comparison, the modern cloud-based computing world has only been around for a “short” time. There’s a lot we can learn from the world of meteorology and atmospheric science, so let’s go on a tour through our atmosphere and beyond, and see what we can learn about understanding, modeling, and predicting complex systems from these ephemeral masses of vapor.

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