What the hell is operational simplicity anyway?

Data vendors love to push towards the upper echelons of the enterprise space as much as possible, this means they (or their marketing departments at least) often fall foul of using the term operational simplicity with far too much gay abandon.

But please, what the hell does operational simplicity mean anyway?

Take the following example…

Distributed NoSQL database fans of an open source persuasion will have been interested in the recent arrival of the Riak 2.0 ‘technical preview’ release from Basho.

TECHNICAL NOTE: Riak is an open source distributed database architected for availability through intelligent replication and retrieval of data so it is available for read and write operations, even in failure conditions.

Sounds simple, operationally I mean.

Riak’s development team says that it is all about “simplifying operations at scale” for enterprise-class developers, sysadmins, DevOps and DBAs all with good data security.

Great, what the hell does that mean?

Well, Riak automatically distributes data around the data cluster inside the database and this means we can yield what we will call “near-linear performance” as we add capacity.


Further then, operational simplicity here means that we can add new machines to a Riak cluster without incurring a larger operational burden.

i.e. so this means that the same ops tasks apply to small clusters as large clusters.

Consistency in operational simplicity

According to Basho, “Riak 2.0 continues to improve Riak’s operational simplicity by changing how, and where, configuration information is stored in an easy-to-parse and transparent format.”

Also here new features in Riak 2.0 include so-called “strong consistency” so that developers now have the flexibility to choose whether buckets should be eventually consistent (the default Riak configuration today that provides high availability) or strongly consistent, based on data requirements.

Simples, right?