What Can a Cloud Orchestration Tool Learn from a Video Game Console?

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As I researched video game systems in an attempt to get the latest and greatest,  I was struck by some interesting parallels between video game consoles and cloud orchestration tools. In addition to the more obvious required capabilities such as supporting standards and being easy to use, having compelling content is critically important.

The reviews varied in depth, detail and ranking criteria, but the ability to play a wide variety of exciting games was consistently one of the top factors in determining the console’s rating. Specifically, the top rated game consoles have:

  • A large library of games and media available in an easy to navigate store
  • The ability to run the top third party games
  • Titles and media available and ready to use at product launch
  • The ability to play content that supports standard formats (e.g. Blu-ray, DVD, CD, MP3, etc.)

Similarly, a cloud orchestration tool is only as good as its ‘content’, especially for customers who struggle with rapidly deploying a cloud that accommodates their IT environment. In the world of cloud, ‘content’ is not a game, but rather a software pattern or automation package.  Patterns are pre-defined, pre-configured and policy managed software stacks that simplify and speed the deployment of cloud applications, platforms and infrastructure. Because these patterns are ready to use ‘out of the box’, they help automate and accelerate cloud implementations. Automation packages also help speed delivery of cloud services by removing the manual steps needed to configure and connect to different domains and management tools. This capability is critically important for making sure the cloud service runs smoothly once it is deployed in production.

The makers of the best game consoles offer consumers variety with a large library of games to choose from. Although many of the games are created by the console manufacturer, market momentum is only achieved when the manufacturer opens up its platform and cultivates an ecosystem of game software companies who create additional titles for game console. Likewise, cloud orchestration vendors can’t do it alone. In order to accommodate the widest variety of customer environments, orchestration tools need a large and vibrant ecosystem of third party content providers. It’s even better if the ecosystem includes content from popular communities such as Chef and open standards based communities such as OpenStack. This open approach for content not only enables support for more environments, but also gives customers flexibility and speed in standing up and managing their cloud.

So when you are deciding on the best solution to automate and orchestrate your cloud, think about video games and remember that effective cloud orchestration tools must also have a large library of compelling ‘content’ in order to quickly deliver cloud services in a production environment and manage the service over its lifecycle. 


Ted Mazanec is a worldwide product manager for IBM's cloud management solutions. Based in Raleigh, NC he has had a wide variety of marketing, product management and strategy roles in both IBM's hardware and software divisions. Most recently he has been part of the Cloud & Smarter Infrastructure team. Interact with Ted on Twitter @TedMazanec1.


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