When times are tough, money is tight. Which means, you’d think, that the golden era of Cloud Computing, as in pay-as-you-go infrastructure, is upon us. It should be, but we’re not there yet. [This is part of the Tough Times series.]
As I noted last time, the current economic climate is going to get in the way of anything that requires laying out capital. In this light, cloud computing starts to look good for the same reason that Open Source looks good: low up-front costs. So, just like everyone else, I think technology providers and consumers need to be looking really hard in this direction.
Tech Issue · But there are two problems. The small problem is that we haven’t quite figured out the architectural sweet spot for cloud platforms. Is it Amazon’s EC2/S3 “Naked virtual whitebox” model? Is it a Platform-as-a-service flavor like Google App Engine? We just don’t know yet; stay tuned.
Big Issue · I mean a really big issue: if cloud computing is going to take off, it absolutely, totally, must be lockin-free. What that means if that I’m deploying my app on Vendor X’s platform, there have to be other vendors Y and Z such that I can pull my app and its data off X and it’ll all run with minimal tweaks on either Y or Z.
At the moment, I don’t think either the Amazon or Google offerings qualify.
Are we so deranged here in the twenty-first century that we’re going to re-enact, wide-eyed, the twin tragedies of the great desktop-suite lock-in and the great proprietary-SQL lock-in? You know, the ones where you give a platform vendor control over your IT budget? Gimme a break.
I’m simply not interested in any cloud offering at any level unless it offers zero barrier-to-exit.
You know, there is already sort of a cloud ecosystem out there in the world
of PHP. There are a whole bunch of competitive vendors where you can upload a
.php files and database dumps and with only a
moderate amount of twiddling, get your app running.
I don’t think that PHP is the best way to build Web apps. But increasingly, I’m developing an appreciation for its ecosystem.