Windows

Poll: Have you tried cloud development?

Even though Justin James has mixed feelings about cloud development, he recently tried Windows Azure. Take the poll to let us know if you've tried cloud development.

In the last year or so, many developers have become much more willing to try various cloud deployment systems such as Amazon's EC2 and Microsoft's Windows Azure. I recently started a brief experiment with Azure (at the time of this writing, the jury is still out). I like many aspects of the cloud deployment scenario (particularly for pure computation because it scales well), but I'm not sold on the economics of it for a number of reasons. Regardless of my misgivings, I was willing to give it a try. What about you?

J.Ja

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

5 comments
Dethpod
Dethpod

Their Elastic Beanstalk service boggles the mind. Automatically scaling Java Web apps. Dedicated MySQL instances. Instant server farms. Mountable virtual "Hard drives" And all of it is dirt cheap. What isn't there to like?

Realvdude
Realvdude

Our core product is ASP on IIS, with a SQL backend, so Microsoft Azure platform seems like the natural choice to research. We're looking to the cloud to solve a number of issues, from deployment, to remote users and support. The real unknown here is what the operational costs will be for any given customer.

sysop-dr
sysop-dr

The problem with asking the question do you make cloud apps is too ambigous for me. I write apps that work in a web environment, does that make them cloud? Is hotmail cloud? Gmail apparently is but no-one thinks hotmail is but they do the same thing. We are targetting IBM WebSphere Portal. Our apps will also run in IBMs cloud. So is it cloud? But we had them running before the term cloud existed for web apps so are they cloud?

Justin James
Justin James

Any hosting scenario that abstracts the underlying details away is a type of "cloud", and it almost always refers to a provider of some sort of specialized platform or infrastructure. It would include the ability to rapidly clone/scale/shrink the capabilities. Or to put it another way, if you want to call it "cloud", that's good enough. J.Ja

miwjones1
miwjones1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

We have had several customers use a cloud infrastructure for their projects. Two different scenarios come to mind where it made great sense. The first was a startup who did not want to make the investment in a data center. Thus, they leveraged an IaaS and built and deployed their solution completely in the cloud. It is a public app so you can check it out at www.statz.com. They used (under full disclosure, I work for OutSystems) the Agile Platform for the application development and delivery. The second was a private high school who wanted to replace an existing SaaS application they used to manage their student information. The SaaS price kept going up and the miss match in functionality was constantly causing them to need to deliver supporting apps around the package. They decided to build their own student information system but realized that infrastructure to run the app was an issue. Infrastructure was a benefit of the SaaS app and the cloud provided them with the solution. In both cases these guys used Amazon's EC2 with different servers for development, test and production. The Agile Platform was used to develop the application and manage the deployment, change and monitoring of the apps. So, the cloud is going to provide a new aspect of flexibility and I think will help lots of organizations who would have turned to pure SaaS the option to consider developing their apps in the cloud. The risk we see with the cloud is around giving up control of your IP and data. The 'lock-in' issue is real and needs to be paid attention to by every org. If your cloud provider uses proprietary tools, languages and data structures be for warned. You never know what will change causing you to want to move your app from one cloud to another, back to on-premise, etc. Flexibility is the name of the game and the cloud solutions that give this to their customers will be the ones that thrive.

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