Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Andy Thurai

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, IBM Cloud, Linux Containers

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Should Developers Care About Cloud Computing?

An introduction to cloud computing for developers

It seems like just about every cloud computing discussion with a development audience results in the same question being asked: “Why does this matter to me?” As cloud computing first appears to be primarily an operational-centric paradigm, it is easy to understand the reason this is asked. This question can be answered in a variety of ways. Some may say that cloud computing doesn’t affect the developer in any way, while others will say developers need to totally revamp their skill set to cope with the new landscape proffered by cloud computing. The truth, as always, is somewhere in the middle.

Though the industry is still in a bit of disagreement on exactly how to define cloud computing, it doesn’t seem there is a lot of disagreement with the idea of a three-layer cloud. At the top is the Application Services layer, followed by the Platform Services layer, and then the Infrastructure Services layer. For a rough summary, the application services layer constitutes SaaS offerings, the platform services layer encompasses platforms in the cloud like the Google App Engine, Force.com, etc., and infrastructure services provide underlying compute resources like processing and networking in the cloud, think Amazon’s EC2. There are numerous posts discussing what makes up each of these three layers, so instead of turning our focus there, let’s discuss the impact to the enterprise developer in each of these three cloud layers.

On first look at the application services, or SaaS layer, we may not immediately think of developers. More often than not, CRM software, email, collaboration solutions, and other similar offerings come to mind. However, there are at least two ways in which the services in this layer impact the enterprise developer. For one, there is the possibility of more and more development tooling environments moving into the clouds. By extending development tooling in the software as a service model, these often compute intensive offerings could get their resources from a capable cloud instead of the comparably weak personal machines developers often have. In addition, as in all SaaS offerings, the provider is charged with monitoring and maintaining the software, and this means developers put more of their focus and time toward software development.

Beyond the movement of development tools toward a SaaS model, the proliferation of consumable services in the cloud has and will continue to have an impact on the way developers and architects design IT systems. Services in the cloud, both private and public varieties, become part of the overall SOA for an organization. This means considerations of securing services, mediating service requests, and otherwise governing services applies across multiple domains now. Cloud services can provide a powerful boost to the SOA capabilities of an organization, but the ramifications of extending that SOA across multiple domains and into clouds should be considered by enterprise developers and architects as early as possible.

The effects of cloud computing on developers are probably most palpable in the platform services layer. This is where we find platforms like the Google App Engine, Force.com, etc. hosted in the cloud. If an organization chooses to go the route of a cloud-hosted platform, developers need to get up to speed on the layout of that platform including the APIs offered and the application deployment and packaging strategy. Across the different platforms there will likely be support for a common set of languages like Java, PHP, Python, and more, however, there will also be services and APIs unique to each of the platforms. For instance, the Google App Engine offers the Google Accounts service to applications running on its platform. This service allows developers to authenticate a user of their application using the user's Google account credentials.  In addition, different platforms offer different connectivity and integration services. These capabilities are important when connecting applications running on the cloud-hosted platform to components running elsewhere. When leveraging platform services in the cloud, enterprise developers need to go beyond their current skill set and educate themselves in the services and APIs offered by the platform in order to utilize its full potential.

The infrastructure services layer likely impacts the enterprise developer the least. These services are typically consumed by the higher level services in order to either provide a platform or software as a service. This is not to say though that developers can be blissfully ignorant of an infrastructure cloud service being utilized within their organization. In some cases, such as the case with Amazon’s EC2, the infrastructure comes with a complimentary set of capabilities such as storage and message queuing. At the least, developers should be aware of the characteristics of the infrastructure. For instance, when developing an application it would be good for a developer to know if an infrastructure can dynamically scale based on request volume. If so, the developer is likely in the best position to convey information about the metrics used to decide when to scale the infrastructure. If the infrastructure doesn’t dynamically scale, developers and architects need to be aware of this when originally designing the system. This allows them to architect and implement solutions that mitigate this limitation.

Cloud computing is here and developers need to be ready. If you are an enterprise developer whose organization is looking to cloud computing solutions be proactive. Research the different layers of the cloud your company is interested in, understand the impacts to you and your job, and voice your opinion about the direction that should be taken. If you have any thoughts on development in the cloud, let me know below or send me a note at [email protected].

More Stories By Dustin Amrhein

Dustin Amrhein joined IBM as a member of the development team for WebSphere Application Server. While in that position, he worked on the development of Web services infrastructure and Web services programming models. In his current role, Dustin is a technical specialist for cloud, mobile, and data grid technology in IBM's WebSphere portfolio. He blogs at http://dustinamrhein.ulitzer.com. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/damrhein.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
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.
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER gives detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPOalso offers sp...
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...