In Part 1 of this blog series, I broke down the "two generals problem" and shared how it affects IT leaders today. In this post, I will share the details of a specific battle from more modern history that exemplifies this concept.
"Yeah, this cloud K8s, containers, CI/CD thing is just a fad. We'll do it how we always have. It works, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it." -Mr. Laggard To-Be-Fired DeJour
Back to the military world
Between 1967 and 1973, the Middle East saw some intense conflict between Israel, Egypt, Syria and a few other countries. Growing up, I would hear stories from my uncles in the various branches of the Egyptian Armed Forces.
Here is one that stood out: The Egyptian Air Force at the time was effectively running a monolith. Given the lack of sufficient Egyptian pilots, there was a strong centralization of the Airforce's capabilities. In contrast, the IDF had decentralized control over their air fighting capacity.
el-Shazly said that Egyptian forces often encounter their Isreali counterparts and are shocked to see Israeli air cover arrive in a few minutes. Israel could do this due to the decentralization of their approach.
It was not just this advantage that Israel enjoyed, their military doctrine was simply more dynamic; they were agile. While the Egyptians orchestrated and executed a successful start of the war with the crossing of the Suez, they did not do as well later on.
This was partly due to el-Shazly being micromanaged by his leadership in the form of Anwar Sadat and Ahmad Ismail Ali. Their decisions, overriding el-Shazly, proved to be disadvantageous. I heard stories from uncles about how a few blunders were exploited with negative consequences for the Egyptians.
Aside from the 24-hour air bridge the USA operated for Israel, delivering ~4x tonne-mile of materiale vs. what the Soviet Union supplied Egypt during the war, and the mighty SR-71 Blackbird giving valuable intelligence, it was still up to the IDF to make use of this information and high-tech goodies. They did so well.
Ariel Sharon managed to pierce in between the second and third Egyptian armies near Deversoir. Now on African soil, his tanks knocked out some SAM sites and gave the IDF's Airforce a corridor to operate in. From there, he encircled the third Egyptian army, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The IDF made excellent use of data. They were able to capture it, analyze it and take actions on it in a decentralized manner. The IDF managed to counter the Egyptian assault that initially breached the Bar Lev Line, thereby concluding the war into a stalemate.
Both countries look back and claim victory in this war. The truth is not binary in this conflict. But we can say with certainty that unlocking power from information quickly, reliably and securely is a strong advantage.
Want to see this dialed up to 11? The DoD has a very cool project to make software itself a military advantage for the USA. Notice the language used - speed, security and DevSecOps. Very interesting stuff indeed; it's no longer Sci-Fi. And yes, K8s, containers and CI/CD are front and center.
Back to the business world
Well then, shall we talk business?
If you are a developer, why don't you give Kong Konnect a go?
If you are a legitimate military buff, why don't you please tell me about all the mistakes I made while covering this subject? 🙂
If you are an integration boutique, system integrator or a technology vendor, why don't you consider evaluating Kong's Partner program?
If you are struggling with these connectivity problems and how they are solved today with speed, security and reliability, why don't you contact us to have this conversation?
Well, there you have it. In armed conflict, as in business, being informed with fast, reliable, distributed connectivity remains as critical as ever. While in one realm it's reconnaissance, attrition, skirmish and strategy (is there another more abused word in business?), in the other it's process automation, APIs, microservices, data lakes and a near-endless list of technologies.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If I did not pique your curiosity in Kong, I would be happy if I did so for military history and science. Stay safe, and be well.