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Lori MacVittie

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Guest View: “The Grasshopper and the Ant: A Fable for Developers and IT”

Control isn’t just about technology. Sometimes control of strategy is just as essential to ensuring success.


The Grasshopper and the Ant: A Fable for Developers and IT(http://bit.ly/8XboZ7)

by Jake Sorofman, Chief Marketing Officer, rPath, Inc.

In a field one summer’s day, a grasshopper was hopping about with great joy, dancing between blades of grass and chirping with pride. He was excited about the potential of his new invention and yearned for someone to help him finish it.

Along came an ant, busily constructing a home that would withstand the unpredictable storms of the fall. Head down and shoulders tucked, the ant methodically molded loose fibers into a fortress of impressive strength.

“Come see my invention,” chirped the grasshopper. “It will blow your mind!”

“I’m busy turning these loose strands, someone else’s mess, into a house that will withstand the fall storms,” said the ant. “And, after that, I have many more things to build before I rest. I am a very busy ant, and you are an impatient grasshopper.”

“But my invention is important,” said the grasshopper. “I invented it for the leader of my colony, and he very much wants to use it. My invention will help all of us—if you can only help me now.”

“I’m very busy,” said the ant. “I will help you, but you’ll need to wait your turn. It may be many moons before I can help with your invention.”

“In many moons, my invention will be less useful. The leader of my colony needs it now. If you cannot help me, I will have to ask outside of your colony.

So, the grasshopper left the ant to his work and found a cluster of spiders willing to help complete his invention, which was celebrated as a great success.

Then the ant knew:

Demand will always follow the path of least resistance.

And IT knew, too.

The moral of the story is that enterprise IT must become that path.

One of the ways in which IT can become that path is to take control of public cloud computing; to develop strategies that are better able to dictate when public cloud computing can and should be used versus internal resources. Users are not always familiar with the intricacies of integration nor are they necessarily familiar with regulations and compliance that may disallow data from being stored external to the data center, so it is imperative for IT to formulate a cohesive strategy sooner rather than later, before users take the path of least resistance and make things even more difficult for IT.

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Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.