Refactoring Human Roles Solves Systems Problems

Jeremy Elson and Jon Howell


Several persistent problems in system administration,

deployment, configuration, and usability stem from a

common root: the conflation of roles between developers,

users, hardware wranglers, and software integrators.

We develop a taxonomy of such conflations, and

show that identifying each conflation characterizes one

or more familiar systems problems. Furthermore, the

taxonomy suggests directions for solving these problems:

refactor components to produce interfaces that

cleanly decouple these roles. Recent trends in webbased

client applications and cloud-based services have

demonstrated the feasibility of such changes. We describe

recent projects our group has done that further decouple

the roles, and we use the taxonomy to propose

new projects.


Publication typeInproceedings
Published inWorkshop on Hot Topics in Cloud Computing (HotCloud)
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