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Cloud Talk

Andre Yee

Why Cloud Computing Needs to Be Simpler

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It's not often that you'll hear a negative statement on the mass adoption of cloud computing (although here's one). However, when you do, much of the concern is typically centered around security. Yes, it's true that security concerns still loom large as noted in this Cloud Security Alliance paper but there's an issue with the adoption of cloud computing that no one is paying much attention to... until now.

It's the issue of complexity. Could it be that much of the problem with cloud computing adoption has to do with the fact that it's still too difficult and inaccessible to the average developer? In this Information Week writeup, Charles Babcock relates his experience at the CloudConnect 2011 event where the Jinesh Varia, technical evangelist for Amazon EC2 had problems guiding the audience through a hands-on session on how to deploy code on the cloud. Now it's no crime to have a hands-on demo go south on you (I've experienced a few scenarios like that myself) but apparently, when asked, no more than 10% of the crowd had previously deployed on EC2 successfully.

One conclusion you could draw here is that cloud computing isn't yet accessible to the majority of the developer population.

Hold on, you say - what about those extremely encouraging statistics and promising predictions on cloud computing adoption. For instance, like this one. My guess is that much of the adoption metrics on general cloud computing products have to do with SaaS applications which have been out for a decade and widely accepted ( this Gartner finding supports the view). As an example, no one implementing CRM/Marketing Automation/Revenue Performance Management today would typically prefer an on-premise solution to a SaaS solution unless they were restricted by regulatory requirements. The point is this - SaaS is mainstream.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) however, aren't anywhere close to mainstream yet and making it simpler is an imperative. I think there are a couple of cloud providers that "get it" and see it as an opportunity. VMWare is one with the introduction of Cloud Foundry and it's possible that others will follow suit. The idea with Cloud Foundry (besides being built on open source technologies) is to make it simpler to write and deploy code on the cloud - all without the need to spin up instances, etc...

I think the theme of simplicity for cloud computing has legs. Yes, providers need to make it simpler but that's only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There's also much work to be done in understanding how to re-engineer existing on-premise applications for the cloud. What are the best practices, techniques and technologies to make that easier for the masses?

That's a big question - now who's got an answer?

Andre Yee blogs about cloud computing, SaaS, Web 2.0 and other emerging technologies that matter to businesses.

Andre Yee

Andre Yee is an entrepreneur and technologist with nearly 20 years of experience in the business of technology.

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