Is the Cloud Getting “Clouded”?

A bit. Not only is the term getting overloaded, dramatically-different offerings are being lumped into the single term: “Cloud”.

A hazard of bleeding edge technology, I guess .. remember how SOA was / is similarly overloaded?

Caveat: by the time you read this, it will already be out of date as the players are modifying their offerings and new players are entering the market.

Windows Azure, Google AppEngine and Amazon EC2 have different approaches and have staged server some level of service functionality in the sky. IBM has made announcements, and so on.

At the 100,000-foot view:

  • Windows Azure approaches the paradigm through database, workflow and ambient (user-specific or general) services that leverage our rich development platforms. If you’re already a .NET developer, Windows Azure is a natural extension of your skills. If you’re not, we’ve a variety of free tools, sample code and support to get you going.
  • Google AppEngine provides a large number of APIs-in-the-sky that connect to larger Google services like Google Maps, YouTube and more. Behind the APIs are other services, file and data storage, etc. PHP developers will find this environment to their liking.
  • Amazon EC2 allows you to stage discrete, scalable servers in the sky. Want a Windows Server with SQL Server 2008? Point and click, and you’re provisioned quickly. Linux fan? Point and click; you get the idea. Developers can code to their desired platform, deploying their applications to remote servers as they would in a data center. Amazon also has offerings for simple databases and file storage (both in beta) and recently announced an edge service.

VCs, angels and investors can benefit from Cloud offerings in a many ways:

  • No data center hardware investment. The Cloud provides the equivalent of a potentially unlimited data center for your use.
  • No fixed cost for co-located servers; if you own the machines within a data center.
  • No fixed cost for leased or shared servers at a data center.

Some thoughts:

  • No hardware helps lower costs for startup companies. This translates to the ability to use resources to make your application better, create more applications, invest in marketing, and so on.
  • Is your application going viral? The cloud offerings can expand capacity as your application needs and customer base grow.
  • Is your application underperforming? Tear it down and put up another.

Which approach is right for you and your company?

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About Michael Coates
I am a pragmatic evangelist. The products, services and solutions I write about fulfill real-world expectations and use cases. I stay up-to-date on real products I use and review, and share my thoughts here. I apply the same lens when designing an architecture, product or when writing papers. I am always looking for ways that technology can create or enhance a business opportunity .. not just technology for technology's sake. My CV says: Seasoned technology executive, leveraging years of experience with enterprise and integration architectural patterns, executed with healthy doses of business acumen and pragmatism. That's me. My web site says: Technology innovations provide a myriad of opportunities for businesses. That said, having the "latest and greatest" for its own sake isn't always a recipe for success. Business successes gained through exploiting innovation relies on analysis of how the new features will enhance your business followed by effective implementation. Goals vary far and wide: streamlining operations, improving customer experience, extending brand, and many more. In all cases, you must identify and collect the metrics you can apply to measure your success. Analysis must be holistic and balanced: business and operational needs must be considered when capitalizing on a new technology asset or opportunity.

One Response to Is the Cloud Getting “Clouded”?

  1. Pingback: Why did I compare “Cloud” to “SOA”? « OpsanBlog

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