Afaik the analogy was first used by Joshua McKenty of Piston Cloud
'"The servers in today's data center are like puppies -- they've got names and when they get sick, everything grinds to a halt while you nurse them back to health," Joshua McKenty, co-founder of Piston Cloud, is quoted as saying in a recent company press release. "Piston Enterprise OpenStack is a system for managing your servers like cattle -- you number them, and when they get sick and you have to shoot them in the head, the herd can keep moving. It takes a family of three to care for a single puppy, but a few cowboys can drive tens of thousands of cows over great distances, all while drinking whiskey."'
From http://www.edge.org/conversation/the-second-coming-a-manifes... (1999)
> If you have three pet dogs, give them names. If you have 10,000 head of cattle, don't bother. Nowadays the idea of giving a name to every file on your computer is ridiculous.
For what it's worth he was also the first to use the metaphor of a cloud, although in his sense the cloud represented your personal data and it drifted to follow you, casting a shadow over pavestones representing computers, as opposed to the usual sense of the cloud being an amorphous body of computers.
Y2K was pushing people to dump whole networks. Rather than upgrade people were just buying all new, but losing data on the machines was a huge scary thing. And migration tools sucked at the time.
http://www.cdstoledo.com/ where I was working at the time, under my direction started to role out commodity computers. Computers that used Hardware Compatibility list components, and were supplemented with Terminal services to allow important data to always be backed up "in the cloud".
When a computer "died" or had an issue, we could just swap the hardware. No local files were needed as everything was on the server as either part of the Terminal Services, or a Roaming Profile. We could then fix the computer at the shop quickly.
It had highs and lows. At the time it meant better service at a lower price. But that meant less money for the company. We could offset this to some degree, but the reliability was so high that in many cases we ended up with support contracts that wouldn't get renewed because the hardware never needed support.
I can't claim that I invented the analogy. I think someone at Microsoft told it to me when they pitched terminal services to me. Or maybe I pitched it to them, being a farm boy as I was.
In any event it is an analogy that is 15 years old at minimum.
It doesn't mention pets or cattle, but makes a similar point:
The test we used when designing infrastructures was "Can I grab a random machine and throw it out the tenth-floor window without adversely impacting users for more than 10 minutes?" If the answer to this was "yes", then we knew we were doing things right.
Now later in life I have more qualms about eating pork. Pigs are smarter than dogs, and every bit as affectionate. Cows are pretty stupid. These days I feel like killing an animal over a certain intelligence is bad.
Computers... I have a computer that is my Home Theater PC that has only ever been upgraded. I don't think there is a part from the original AMD K5 90 in 1997 that I ran, but probably a few screws. I would upgrade a mother board and keep the vid card and hard disks. Or swap a Network card. Keep the hard drives, or a Raid controller. It would have likely been cheaper to start over a few of the time, but there is a sentimental attachment to the machine you took in to battle in Quake, raced in NFS, quested through WoW with, and had "Hot Coffee" with in GTA. That stayed up with you when you were building software, or helped with your taxes.
True, but they do make other cow friends and have social lives . Now sheep.. they are stupid. And chickens, don't get me started.
I've been vegetarian for over 20 years because of industrialization, but I have absolutely zero issues with small farm killing or hunting.
Meanwhile, I'd wager that at least one person reading this thread has casually eaten a dog.
What's the name of a server that you are completely prepared to replace in 30 minutes notice (they are for personal use, some downtime is acceptable), but pet anyway?
1) estimates go from 10,000 to 100,000 depending on source - it seems like 20,000 was the conservative estimate by veterinarians
2) cattle hadn't grown winter coats, rain, 70mph wind, snow = frozen cattle http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/10/131022-cattl...
[edit: these were in the summer pastures still and I doubt they'd be defined as factory farmed cattle]
But the analogy holds. On any sort of farm (even a vegetable farm) units of production are fungible commodities. And it turns out that this notion of fungibility is very important in post-virtualisation architectures.
I haven't seen Samsara, but I've taken a note. Vegetarian here, too. I just read "Eating animals" (by JS Foer). That's a very good read, but as an European I must say it feels like it's written from a pretty U.S.-centric standpoint.
*Not a farmer, not a vegetarian, just a programmer.
So I'm thinking hard about how to best apply my idea to cattle as well as pets, to reach a larger market and take advantage of industry trends.
this was on the front page for a brief moment, but apparently engine yard's attitude that servers are cattle had fairly disastrous consequences for Groove.
That, and we thought it sounded kind of cool.