Gazing Into The Clouds

Apr 7, 2008 – 10:58 by Ryan

Creative Commons License photo credit: Lodewijk van den Broek

Cloud computing is garnering a lot of attention lately. There are wild rumors and announcements about Google, Microsoft, IBM and others entering the space. Additionally, startups like 10gen and Heroku also appear to be working on the same problem.

Cloud computing will be a fast and drastic shift that will initially result in a lot of innovation on the Internet. Companies will no longer have to worry about plumbing when they decide to build web applications. Additionally, the barrier to entry to build sophisticated web applications will be significantly decreased.

In the next couple of years we expect to see a lot of cloud infrastructure deployed. Cloud platforms should be the fuel for the next tech boom. Of course we think it will be at least two years before cloud platforms are the norm (outside of startups).


Cloud computing is an essential evolution for the Internet. Power and space costs for server hosting are consistently increasing and in the not-so-distant future, it will be difficult to justify Internet infrastructure if it’s not fully utilized. For example, a server that is 10% utilized does not consume that much less energy than a server running at 100% utilization.

Multi-core CPU technology and virtualization are the primary drivers behind cloud computing. With the upcoming availability of eight- core chips, you’re now able to pack 16+ CPUs in a single 1U server. Virtualization isn’t really a new concept, but the ability to run inexpensive or free virtualization software on commodity hardware makes the technology accessible to more companies.

Development Costs

The costs to develop, deploy, scale and maintain applications should be drastically reduced when using cloud platforms. Communal services and libraries on a platform will reduce the amount of code that must be written to develop sophisticated applications.

Job Security

If you’re a system or network admin you may want to consider taking some classes. Cloud computing will drastically reduce the number of admin jobs because these positions will be outsourced to the cloud platforms. Engineers should also take note. The number of engineers needed to write applications will also be reduced. Most platforms will build sophisticated development environments that will allow engineers to use more visual tools to quickly assemble/extend applications.

It looks like 10gen is hiring if you’re in the market.

Creative Commons License photo credit: L-plate big cheese

The Long Haul

The problem with cloud computing comes down the road. If there aren’t constant improvements/extensions to cloud platforms, there will be a lull in innovation. We predict that in a few years there will be several primary platform providers. Hopefully, the competition between these companies will be sufficient to force the platforms to innovate.

Vendor lock-in is potentially a huge problem. If you’re only able to run your applications on one platform, you’re essentially stuck with your cloud vendor. We think that the WordPress model will prevail. WordPress’s blogging software is free to download, modify and use. Additionally, WordPress offers a hosted platform which provides free and paid services based on usage and functionality.

More Info

Here are some interesting links we found while researching this post:

  1. 4 Responses to “Gazing Into The Clouds”

  2. take a look at Applogic by 3tera
    they have the most mature offering in the space

    By a911driver on Apr 8, 2008

  3. nice thinking on “job security” part … all in all i don’t like how things are going, really … now we have Google and gew others as MANDATORY search engines if you are serious about your bussines … in the future same guys might become mandatory in order to run your bussines in more areas we can even imagine today … will we have our bussines at all or we will work for Google’s benefit in the first place ?

    By overklokan on Apr 8, 2008

  4. While you’re at it, do check out, too. It is cloud plus a lot more. Check it for yourself.


    By friarminor on Apr 8, 2008

  5. Don’t just think about cost cutting when contemplating cloud computing. There are many value generating activities that we just don’t or can’t do today that a highly parallelized solution will address (e.g., simulation and pattern matching).

    By Charles Bess on Apr 11, 2008

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