Are you familiar with the meme “pets vs cattle?” It’s almost everywhere in the cloud world and differentiates cloud implementations from traditional virtualized environments. For those who are unaware of the concept, here a summary:

The traditional virtualizations consider VMs like pets. Administrators take care of them and give them names to differentiate. The owners of administrators can get attached to their VMs.

In comparison, instances in the cloud world are like cattle. They have generic names like instance-048 and are commonly found in the cloud world. If your instance gets sick, instead of taking care, you can destroy it and move on. In simpler words, instances can be easily destroyed, so don’t get attached.

Unfortunately, several arguments arouse during this black and white comparison. Most people generally focus on the care aspect, while they have the opportunity to destroy it and move one. Focusing on this kind of factor, makes an organization question the need for maintenance and management of their workloads. After all, once a VM gets sick, we can kill it and create a new one, right?

We believe that the foundation of pets vs cattle wasn’t laid upon the concept of care.

Let’s relax and think about it. Do the ranches not care about their cattle? Yes, they do. Taking care of their cattle ensures quality products and maximum profits. The thing to notice is how they care about their cattle. Does each cow is fed or taken care of personally? Of course not. Instead, they ensure proper feeding processes for the cattle in the most efficient manner. Immunizing the cattle or assimilating cattle into a herd, everything is automated, but care is there.

According to our theory, the core of pets vs cattle theme is based on the systems, processes, and culture.

So where does this leave IT organizations? If it’s not based on the care, the focus must shift towards systems, process, and culture. The question isn’t whether they will care about the cattle, but rather how they would care. The days when IT could offer personal care regarding their workloads are behind us. Caring about their workload won’t work out, as today’s IT organizations need scale and efficiency.

Remember that there are applications out there for Business Automation’s that follow the theory of “destroy and create a new one,” so caring about the application is a necessity. IT experts should question themselves about how they can provide care most efficiently and effectively. With business automation, you can offer the required maintenance in the most efficient way possible.

Disagree with the above theory? Consider how easy it is to simply delete an instance and build a new one, “ultimate nirvana,” without automation, systems, process, and culture to support those systems?

Stop focusing on the level of care and start working on an efficient way to provide that care.