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Always Architect Demos & Proofs of Concept for Production Use

One thing I learned very, very early in my professional career is that there is no such thing as a "Proof of Concept.” You can setup software on underpowered hardware as a demo, but it will inevitably be moved straight into production use with nary a thought as to the whole reason it was setup on "throwaway" hardware in the first place.

And then it will underperform, crash, etc. And then the software (and the team that set it up) will look bad. Maybe it is "bad" - but the odds are far higher that something was put together in a rush in order to demo a feature, and is now being relied upon for day-to-day operations.

What is the solution to "throwaway demos"? Should you really deploy a demo environment on a system that meets its minimum system requirements - even when you "know" it won't be used "for real"?

Yes. Yes you should.

"But,” I hear you object, "I cannot afford to try out this tool on a machine with 16 CPUs, 32 GB RAM, and 400 GB storage.”

If that is really true, then you cannot afford whatever this new tool is, either. For example, a D14 16 CPU instance on Azure is $2.111 per hour (and includes 112 GB RAM and 800 GB storage). $2.111 per hour is a little over $50/day. Or a little over $1500 a month. Or from Digital Ocean, you can get a 16 CPU instance with 64 GB RAM & 1280 GB storage for $320/month.

Can you truly "not afford" a few hundred dollars to try-out a new tool for your business? One that you may be spending thousands of hours leveraging across the organization every year?

Inside of 30 days, you should know whether or not you're going to rely on a new tool - and if you are, you're going to want to keep it running. If you're not, you're only out a few hundred dollars. (Plus, if you're using a multi-cloud management tool like CloudBolt, keeping-up with all your cloud instances is made much easier.)

If you have even a modestly-decent in-house virtualization environment, surely you can "spare" a VM for a month or two to try-out the new tool you're considering relying-upon. Again, if you end up not going that path, you can blow-away the instance in a few seconds. You are - literally - out almost no additional cost for internal hosting.

Don't skimp on "demo" or "proof of concept" hardware - the amount of money you "save" will be far outspent by wasted end-user time and frustration using underpowered gear. Give the PoC its best chance to impress your customers, whether it's some new whizzbang accounting reporting tool that you want to impress your C Suite with, some infrastructure management tool, or whatever else it might be: a few dollars spent early will save countless thousands in lost productively later.

Need help setting up and architecting a demo for production use? August Schell has leading engineers who know how to design, deploy, and manage solutions of every kind. Want to chat more about how we can make your demo environment ready for prod? Reach out now or call us at (301) 838-9470.