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Cloud9 IDE and Joyent: Defining the Future of Cloud Computing

Interview with Rik Arends, CTO of Cloud9 IDE Inc.

You recently announced close collaboration with Joyent. So how exactly are Joyent and Cloud9 defining the future of cloud computing?

Rik Arends: By providing a complete development and deployment stack for Node.JS, Cloud9 and Joyent are the first to bring the promise of professional app development to the cloud. Cloud9's cloud-based personal virtual development machine for $15 a month presents a transformative development paradigm.

What synergies result from combining your technologies?

Arends: Combining Joyents' scalable smart machine technology with and the Cloud9 environments inside Cloud9, results in a cost-efficient, high-performance solution.

How will your combined business model work - will Cloud9 be getting customers via Joyent?

Arends: Both partners benefit from this business model; access to Joyent hosting solutions is easier than ever via the Cloud9 path.

What are the competitive advantages, for both your companies, as well as for customers?

Arends: Customers are the primary beneficiaries, with secondary benefits accruing to us. Developers get a smooth, swift user experience and shortened time to market. They no longer need to be sys-admins with big support departments. Joyent stands to bring in many new customers as the first platform supported by a cloud-based IDE.

Are you the first one-stop cloud development and deployment solution?

Arends: There have been others, but we are the first to reach or exceed the quality of desktop-based IDE's. Judging by our quick market traction, businesses are anxious to move to cloud-based development, as well as cloud-based computing.

Are there competitive one-stop development and deployment solutions out there in the cloud?

Arends: There is no general-purpose competition to what we are pursuing, but IBM's Orion effort looks promising.

How deep is the integration between Cloud9 and Joyent?

Arends: The integration is very tight, but Cloud9 is all about options for Developers. We believe in the superiority of the Joyent tech stack, since we selected it as our first partner. However we will be offering other hosting solutions in the future.

Will users be locked into your joint solution or are the elements separable?

Arends: Our joint solution is the easiest path for Node.JS code to develop and deploy online. However Node.JS is an open-source solution and many other Cloud hosters are picking it up (Rackspace, Dotcloud, VMWare's CloudFusion) so the lock-in will be very minimal. However we believe in the Joyent solution to be highly competitive from a performance point of view.

What is Node.JS?

Arends: Node.JS is transporting the abilities of the millions of JavaScript developers to the server. It is the Google chrome V8 JavaScript engine, coupled with an asynchronous API that you need to write server programs. Its gaining traction massively and recently has been backed by Microsoft too for their Azure cloud offering.

How does a one-stop shop for development and deployment translate into savings for the developer?

Arends: Developers want to focus on the product/solution they are creating and as little as possible on adjacent problems. By creating a very smooth experience moving from development to deployment this simply costs less overhead, and gives the developer more direct control.

Why do you set your bets on JavaScript? How about the other dynamic languages?

Arends: Cloud9 IDE is written in JavaScript, and runs on Node.JS on the server. We are first simply creating a product we want and can use for everything we do ourselves. This however does not mean we bet everything on JavaScript. Cloud9 as a general purpose IDE already has support for many languages in its editor, and will gain support for Ruby / PHP and Python debugging too in the near future. We believe Dynamic languages to be the future of software development, and want to create the optimal environment to support this movement.

How are you together supporting the open source community?

Arends: Joyent is backing the Node.JS project, and the project lead and many other developers are working on the technology inside Joyent. At Cloud9 we are writing many open source components for the Node.JS ecosystem, including the main IDE itself. The open-source IDE can be used to develop code on your own machine or server. The SaaS (online) version of the IDE can be used to start with Node.JS development in 5 seconds, and is free for open-source use.

What is the new Cloud9 IDE Freemium Model?

Arends: We believe in supporting open-source, so we have created a model where developing public projects in Cloud9 IDE is free. You can collaborate with your community online, and work on open-source in new ways. For closed projects you can then choose to become a paying customer, allowing you the privacy that many commercial projects require.

What does the Freemium Model do for open source developers?

Arends: The freemium model will make it a lot easier for developers to collaborate on projects, especially web-applications. Many open-source projects are global collaborations of people online, who often have never met each other. Having an environment to work together very directly on code can make a big difference

Do you see the Freemium Model leading to commercial deployments?

Arends: The freemium model allows developers also to evaluate (play) with Cloud9 in a very open manner. Also developers that work on open-source in their spare time on Cloud9 will eventually want to introduce this into their working environment. These ways will provide sources of commercial use and deployments for our business.

Thank you for your time and best wishes for your future endeavors.

More Stories By Xenia von Wedel

Xenia von Wedel, Tech blogger and PR Consultant in Mountain View. She mainly writes about B2B solutions, social media and open source software. She is an SVP with a full-service PR agency, serving clients in a variety of industries worldwide. The agency is focused on thought leadership content creation and syndication, media outreach and strategy. Buy her a coffee if you like her article:

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