Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, John Basso, Igor Drobiazko, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Linux Containers, Release Management

@CloudExpo: Article

How Cool is the Cloud?

The promise of the cloud is that everything is easy and portable

Seven years ago we set out to build a technology that would solve the immense problems faced by business in adoption of technology. If you are not familiar with those problems, you need to familiarize with the now canonical Standish Groups’ Chaos Report, which among other things documents only a 32% rate of software projects completing successfully.

During our journey, we encountered many cool things. From the beginning, we were early adopters of the LAMP stack; Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. Further, we were able to leverage all sorts of open-source tools like WYSIWYG controls, time and date management libraries, an amazing JavaScript library called jquery, parsers, ftp servers, email and so much more. These things greatly accelerated our time to market.  Open sources was and remains really cool because it provides practical solutions to complex code problems.

Soon after, “Web 2.0” emerged, and this was also cool.  Essentially, this meant that many technologies would be opened up over the web for access by other technologies, leveraging very standard and common methods of interaction.  Such concepts as XML and SOAP opened up new worlds for accessing large and complex software applications via relatively simple mechanisms.  As a small software developer, we could now expend minimal resources to access one of the world’s largest geo-data repositories (google maps), to transact on the world’s leading online marketplace (eBay) and to ship via one of the world’s leading shippers (FedEx). Best of all, as a Platform provider, we could provide all of these capabilities to non-programmers using our tools!  This was cool.

Several years ago as an ISV, we also became early adopters of VMWare’s server virtualization product line.  Recent releases have even included a free version of their flagship ESX product line called ESXi, and this brings tremendous value to small business customers.  Once installed, ESX allows the creation of many “virtual servers” on a single piece of hardware, and facilitates the installation of “virtual appliances”, essentially an entire software stack, into those virtual servers.  Maybe even more impressively, it also allows for a deep level of management and portability of those appliances onto other ESX or any OVF formatted location.  Being able to package an entire application stack as an appliance and make it portable, while removing many aspects of hardware support from the equation, was and is very cool.

Today, we are an early cohabitant of “The Cloud”, thanks in no small part to our adoption of all of the cool cloud enablers mentioned above.  But to understand how cool cloud computing really is, you first have to understand that the cloud is still in its infancy, and already, it’s a cool kid.  It’s kind of like that ten year old who hangs around with friends that can drive.

The promise of the cloud is that everything is easy and portable. When you provision a new server, you can decide where you want it to sit… GoGridAmazon?  Behind your firewall?...it’s up to you.  And with just points and clicks, you can move them later if you change your mind, data and all. You can perform simple ramp ups of storage, processor and memory, or more sophisticated ramp up’s by adding new servers to a cluster. Provisioning those servers is always simply point and click, and all things complex about the underlying software stack is handled for you.  It won’t be long at all before you won’t even have to know what a “cluster” or “RAM” physically represents…you’ll just buy it if things are running slowly.

And, there’s so much more.  Imagine having a one-click choice whether your data files are uploaded to your server…or sent directly to Amazon S3 for cheap, efficient storage? Imagine choosing a host, based on SLA and price, with a single click?  Imagine pointing-and-clicking to select a data backup and archival plan that most closely suits your needs?

And, in the cloud, you will access a plethora of features and services a la carte.  Access a 5GL Platform as a Service so you don’t even have to be a programmer to build and deploy sophisticated applications, or to speed up your deployment timeframes if you are a programmer. Spin up a development environment, import some baseline functionality, customize it, tie into some web services to do anything from shipping to currency conversion to mapping, and roll the entire package out to production for your company to benefit from.

So, again, how cool is the cloud?  The cloud will empower legions of people to do things they never had even a remote chance to accomplish prior. The decreased timeframes for deployment coupled with dramatic empowerment of people represents a transformative productivity gain globally. It builds on a host of incredible technologies that have been pioneered over the last decade or so, and it brings them all together, once and for all, under a common umbrella. Using the right tools, even non-programmers will be able to produce results that would pleasantly surprise the authors of the Chaos report referenced above by bringing in new functionality on time and on budget.

The last decade has seen a lot of cool evolution in technology. The cloud is what brings it all together, and really puts it to work efficiently and easily. That’s how cool the cloud is.

More Stories By Treff LaPlante

Treff LaPlante has been involved with technology for nearly 20 years. At WorkXpress, he passionately drives the vision of making customized enterprise software easy, fast, and affordable.

Prior to joining WorkXpress, Treff was director of operations for eBay's HomesDirect. While there, he created strategic relationships with Fortune 500 companies and national broker networks and began his foray into the development of flexible workflow software technologies. He served on the management team that sold HomesDirect to eBay.

During his time at Vivendi-Universal Interactive, Treff was director of strategy. In addition to M&A activities, Treff broadly applied quantitative management principles to sales, marketing, and product line functions. Treff served as the point person for the management team that sold Cendant Software to Vivendi-Universal. Earlier positions included product management and national sales trainer for Energy Design Systems, an engineering software company. Treff began his professional career as a metals trader for Randall Trading Corp, a commodities firm that specialized in bartering and transporting various metals and coal from the then-dissolving Soviet Union.

Treff received his MBA from Pepperdine University and a BS in chemical engineering from The Pennsylvania State University. http://www.workxpress.com

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
gdavismcf 08/26/09 05:11:00 PM EDT

For anyone looking for a good definition of what exactly this Cloud thing is, check out our recent blog.

What is really exciting about the Cloud and Web 2.0 evolution is that how it is bringing complex technology to the mainstream in a big way. Just a few years ago a collaborative 5GL platform like WorkXpress did not and almost could not have existed. The accessibility of viable Cloud infrastructure and dramatic increase in web service interconnection, much of which Treff alludes too is what makes this possible.

@ThingsExpo Stories
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, will discuss how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to im...
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
This is not a small hotel event. It is also not a big vendor party where politicians and entertainers are more important than real content. This is Cloud Expo, the world's longest-running conference and exhibition focused on Cloud Computing and all that it entails. If you want serious presentations and valuable insight about Cloud Computing for three straight days, then register now for Cloud Expo.
IoT device adoption is growing at staggering rates, and with it comes opportunity for developers to meet consumer demand for an ever more connected world. Wireless communication is the key part of the encompassing components of any IoT device. Wireless connectivity enhances the device utility at the expense of ease of use and deployment challenges. Since connectivity is fundamental for IoT device development, engineers must understand how to overcome the hurdles inherent in incorporating multipl...
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the software company developing the next generation data center operating system, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Stratoscale is revolutionizing the data center with a zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution. With Stratoscale’s hardware-agnostic, Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) solution to store everything, run anything and scale everywhere...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified – now it's a component-based well-performing framework. This immersive one-day workshop at 18th Cloud Expo, led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay, will provide you with everything you wanted to know about Angular 2.
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.