Only a few years ago, when we talked about infrastructure we meant physical infrastructure: servers, memory, disks, network switches, and all the cabling necessary to connect them. I used to have spreadsheets where I’d plug in some numbers and get back the specifications of the hardware needed to build a web application that could support thousands or even millions of users.
That’s all changed. First came virtual infrastructures, sitting on top of those physical racks of servers. With a set of hypervisors and software-defined networks and storage, I could specify the compute requirements of an application, and provision it and its virtual network on top of the physical hardware someone else managed for me. Today, in the hyperscale public cloud, we’re building distributed applications on top of orchestration frameworks that automatically manage scaling, both up and out.
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