The Sound of Muzak

Cover art for The Sound of Muzak by Porcupine Tree

Hear the sound of music drifting in the aisles

Elevator Prozac stretching on for miles

The music of the future will not entertain

It’s only meant to repress and neutralize your brain

These are the first lines of the lyrics of “The Sound of Muzak”  by Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree and they made me think …..  To my feeling all the modern music that you hear on the radio sounds more or less the same and is not so entertaining.  Same thing is happening to the general opinion with regard to infrastructure and system engineering.  It doesn’t really matter what platform your application is running on. The infrastructure is always there and will always work…. You don’t need to know the platform that you’re running on. Serverless computing anyone?  How can you run an application on a serverless platform….. there should be at least one server in there somewhere, shouldn’t it?  

Soul gets squeezed out

Edges get blunt


Gives what you want

Infrastructure is more and more becoming a convenience: something that is just always there and always available.  When the WIFI doesn’t work at home my kids are not happy.  But at the same time they are not able to find out what’s wrong. So they start asking me to fix it while telling me that our WIFI is rubbish….  Even if it only fails once a year or even less. 

When at work applications fail, there are fewer and fewer people who can ‘dive’ into the system and identify the issue. Often people fall back to the ‘Windows way’ of fixing issues:  Just restart the server / system and maybe it will work again.  In my daily work I meet a lot of developers who have never logged into a system anymore.  Fewer and fewer people know how to login, look at the logs, find the error messages that matter, read dumps and understand what’s going on (or wrong).  

We need to open our eyes:  We seriously lack new system engineers …. The young people who want to deep-dive into the infrastructure and want to understand our platforms.  Otherwise, the soul gets squeezed out of the system and the edges of the system will get blunt.  I’m still proud to be a systems / platform engineer! Who’s next……. 

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