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Something I have mused over for a long time is the role of creativity in what we do as cloud consultants and engineers.

We are obviously not all Don Quixote tilting at windmills and chasing a richly imagined alternative reality but there is scope in our professional life to produce solutions that are creative and elegant.

How I understand creativity is as follows. It is not the only framework but I have found that this approach has helped me to be more creative in both my professional and private life.

I think creativity can be categorised as two layers, (and no, I am not detailing the OSI model here…), Spark and Form:

  1. Spark. This is the initial spark of something. It can be very small or very big – a little bit of genius. An example could be: how about we move your legacy on premise Great Plains ERP solution into the cloud – along with your current production systems.
  2. Form. How we impose form or a structure on that spark is as important as the original ‘genius’ idea. Though I am not sure anything involving legacy Great Plains could really be considered ‘genius!’ Form can also be creative. There is more than one way to give an idea life. So the example here would be: do we rebuild the whole legacy GP infrastructure in the cloud and then install the Client on the Citrix Servers manually or by SCCM Task Sequence Step? Alternatively, why not migrate your Legacy GP off Hyper-V 2008 R2 as an image and drop it into the cloud? And while we are at it, let’s App-V your Great Plains client and push it out to the Citrix Servers. I like the latter solution. It will take less time and App-V’ing the GP Client is slicker and creates a smaller footprint on possibly application-heavy Citrix boxes – provided there are no issues with sequencing of course.

So the form we can impose on the spark can be creative but because it is a construct, it can be torn down without affecting the merit of the original ‘genius’ idea. Whenever I have a new design or project to consider for a customer this is the structure I use to think about the best way to achieve it.

In my private life, I have been recording improvisational music since the early 1990s and this has fed my interest in creativity and ideas. It’s a blueprint that has become as ingrained in my unconscious in the same way that the OSI model has. Everything is evaluated according to this framework whether or not I am aware of it.

When Miguel de Cervantes wrote his novel, he gave it the title “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha.” Though the work espouses fantasy over reality, some 400 years later I believe you need a little imagination to see the alternative bigger picture when you are designing IT solutions.

It works for me and may for you as well, or you might decide to impose some of your own creative form on the idea, and tear down my logical ordering.

Either way, I look forward to working with you.

By Scott Brodie, Cloud Solutions Consultant, SystemsUp

To find out more about the creative approaches we use to help solve your cloud challenges visit http://www.systemsup.co.uk/howwedoit/ 

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