I don’t spend that much time thinking cloud these days, although there are interesting machinations here at Google that might suck me in should I get bored with Android. But the topic isn’t going away just because I’m ignoring it.
Privacy and Cynicism · I remember being in San Francisco last year and there were ads on the taxicabs: “We care about the Private Cloud”. Say what? This whole “Private Cloud” notion is a conspiracy between CIOs who think they can do a better job securing data than professional shared-services operators (uh huh), and systems vendors who love the idea of selling enterprises way more hardware than they’ll ever need at one time, so they have the heavyweight infrastructure you need to support lightweight deployment.
It’ll Happen Anyhow · It might even be true that the business benefit of getting app deployments out of the clutches of Mordac the Preventer is enough to justify all the extra iron you’re going to need to offer Whatever as a Service.
It’ll happen anyhow because people will go off to AWS or Heroku or App Engine or wherever to get Whatever as a Service and, as with many other technologies, CIOs will be the last to discover that their business has already been bet.
I’m thinking mostly greenfield projects. It’s easy to see people building apps on idiosyncratic offerings like App Engine or whatever version of Rails or PHP your friendly local PaaS provider has on offer. But the notion of cloudifying production apps, which in my experience tend to have arcane tangles of highly version-specific dependencies, seems way tougher to me.
Where we going? · There’s a ton of outsourced infrastructure happening right now, and I haven’t seen much data on what’s popular and who’s winning. There’s a broad perception that Amazon Web Services are expensive in production, but people are using them anyhow. It’s a fun area to watch.
All this was brought to front-of-mind when I got a presentation of Stackato, being built right here by ActiveState, who’ve been around Vancouver forever. I liked the story, partly because it’s open-source-centric, which ActiveState has always been, and which infrastructure should by default be. And which also means that there might be a play for it outside the enterprise context.
Also, they have the radical idea that Rails and PHP and NodeJS and Django and Spring and even Erlang are all first-class citizens; love it!
Anyhow, I’m just happy to see that there are people out there with new ideas. Every year that passes, the notion of nonspecialist companies managing their own IT platforms seems increasingly insane at every level.