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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cloud Impacts on Software Design

When I see the evolution of computing moving from personal computer to small devices (iphone, netbook, etc), and the evolution of software from single application to social near real time mashup application, it is rather clear that to face millions of possible users Cloud Computing will be more and more used.
Cloud computing promises a dynamic behavior enabling infrastructure supporting your application to scale up, but also and that is as important to scale down (if you have only once a month or once a year volumes peaks it's ideal).
The dark side of the story : nobody knows how it can cost ... The costing models and comparison of several players are great subjects for journal and blogs recently. Offers are difficult to compare, platforms offered are different and evolving quickly and of course, nothing is really free.
The most important impact for software architects is the cloud supplier cost model impact on the architecture to build. In order to reduce the cost, you may have to adapt the architecture to reduce the operational cost. Some people already talk about Software Design By Explicit Cost Model.r
That's why I forecast the market to be split in four:
  • New entrants will use cloud infrastructure and platform as a service in order to reduce their fixed cost at the beginning and adapt more or less dynamically based on their success.
  • Companies with already legacy code will try to use less disruptive technology like AZURE for Microsoft dotnet users (and also now PHP!), Tibco Silver for people ready to encapsulate their code in SCA, or Heroku for people developping in Ruby, etc.
  • Companies ready to be locked-in technologically in order to gain on time on integration to their major application, but still willing to benefit from cloud. Best example is Salesforce.com or Google AE. I'm sure that SAP and Oracle will follow soon.
  • People requesting high computing power for their business will use cloud computing to facilitate grid architecture implementation
Anyway, we all have to understand that cloud has a very positive impact on financial reporting and accounting (to understand why read this excellent article from William A. Sempf. So, once again, IT may be forced to use cloud ...

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