Software Development in the Cloud: Changing Opinions and a Bright Future Ahead

By Daniel Viveiros, Technology Manager, Ci&T

September 13, 2011

Not long ago, few IT executives knew what “the cloud” meant, and any mention of the term was met with skepticism. Yet, years later, we find ourselves in an environment where “the cloud” has moved from buzzword status to having a major impact on IT organizations. The cloud has become a very real force on the IT landscape. For software developers, it has gone from being a somewhat vague concept to a new paradigm that is quickly emerging as a standard in how we build and deploy applications.

So what is different? What changed everyone’s minds? Certainly the cloud offerings from Google, Amazon, Salesforce.com and Microsoft were influential. They were the first to take the “vaporware” out of the cloud and provide companies with real, tangible tools that enable them to experience its benefits firsthand. Now, rather than spending countless IT dollars to build and deploy vast infrastructures to support new Web and mobile applications, companies have a cheap and easy alternative for hosting them.

All of this has been a boon for software developers, who were previously beholden to enterprise infrastructures to get their applications up and running. In almost every way, the cloud has begun to offer the benefits promised during those moments when it was first teased, making many IT executives anxious to fully tap its potential as a business technology investment.

But like many new and evolving technologies, challenges to cloud adoption and industry-wide use as a development platform remain. Many executives, wary of cost issues in the event of unforeseen problems, and shaken by the potential for unreliability of cloud technologies (as was recently witnessed with Amazon’s outage), have been reticent to move their infrastructures to the cloud. And though cloud advocates have made enormous strides in education about cloud security, many are still unwilling to take the plunge.

The promise of the cloud is real. Despite executives’ initial reluctance to adopt it, cloud computing should be looked at seriously by companies in their software development efforts. Here are a few reasons it will change the way we develop applications throughout 2011 and beyond.

Speed + Cost Savings = The IT Holy Grail

Without a doubt, the chief benefit for companies developing applications in the cloud is speed. The hosted infrastructure the cloud offers — in a cheap, “pay-as-you-go” model, no less — means a much faster setup process for the development team, to say nothing of the flexibility it offers in the development process itself. Previously, teams were required to conduct extensive preparations before initiating a development project, all of which was contingent on ensuring that the infrastructure in place was capable of supporting the applications to be developed.

The cloud eliminates many of the infrastructure concerns of the development team by providing a hosted model, offering as much storage, computational power and services as are necessary to build and deploy the application while streamlining the setup phase and overall development process. This provides a significant cost benefit as well, as IT managers are freed from the need to invest significant resources in additional servers or other costly infrastructure before even considering the application in question. It’s all there in the cloud, it’s cheap, and it’s ready as soon as the development team needs it.

So, instead of focusing on setup and infrastructure, development teams and IT managers can focus their resources on the application itself, and aligning it with the business needs of the organization. With cloud development, teams can focus on delivering nothing but value to the business through their development efforts, a key tenet of Lean application development and one that can position the IT organization as a valuable contributor to the business.

Reliability and Security Hurdles Will be Cleared

Despite the benefits of cloud development in the speed and cost savings it can offer to the business, many companies still view it as too unstable and unreliable to be trusted to host their infrastructures. Though their concerns are somewhat warranted, i.e., the aforementioned Amazon outage, I believe that with the right considerations and planning, companies can clear this mental hurdle and start leveraging the cloud for their own businesses.

The key to developing applications in the cloud is to be smart about how you approach it. It’s not something you can just dive into, and it should be approached in the same way as any other considerable IT investments should — with a backup plan in place.

Companies need to prepare their architectures for cloud development in such a way that allows for the application to run regardless of any outage that may occur. This includes building out comprehensive disaster recovery plans that will ensure development can continue in the event that resources do become unavailable at any given time in the process. As most companies already have such plans in place for their current, on-premise systems, it’s simply a matter of applying these same disaster recovery planning processes to their investments in the cloud.

The other chief mental roadblock is security — many organizations just aren’t comfortable with shifting all of their corporate data to a public cloud, and instead opt to design private ones. What these companies fail to realize, however, is that private clouds are in many ways less secure than public ones.

Private clouds rely on the security infrastructure of the company that houses them, while the public cloud is designed with security as a chief consideration. Moreover, private clouds are often less reliable. So while it’s understandable that companies should be wary of investing in the public cloud and are right to worry about their corporate data, many of these fears are in many ways unfounded. Forward-thinking executives have already realized this, and once the holdouts see how successful cloud development has proven for these organizations, the walls to widespread cloud adoption will come crumbling down.

Looking to the Future

The most important thing to remember about the cloud is not to expect perfection right off the bat. Because it isn’t perfect. Nothing is.

What it is, however, is the most promising new advancement in software development to come along in years. In five years, the question of whether to leverage the cloud in application development projects won’t be a question at all. And in ten years, cloud offerings from the major players will dominate development, while current standard platforms like Java and .Net will be pushed to the background.

The benefits of the cloud are clear and real. The advantages it offers in terms of speed and cost-savings will eventually change the minds of reluctant IT executives worried about security and reliability issues. And make no mistake: it’s the future of Web and mobile development. If you’ve been considering harnessing the power of the cloud for your own application development efforts, there’s no time like the present.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

IBM Launches Commercial Quantum Network with Samsung, ORNL

December 14, 2017

In the race to commercialize quantum computing, IBM is one of several companies leading the pack. Today, IBM announced it had signed JPMorgan Chase, Daimler AG, Samsung and a number of other corporations to its IBM Q Net Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC Researchers Test AI Traffic Monitoring Tool in Austin

December 13, 2017

Traffic jams and mishaps are often painful and sometimes dangerous facts of life. At this week’s IEEE International Conference on Big Data being held in Boston, researchers from TACC and colleagues will present a new Read more…

By HPCwire Staff

AMD Wins Another: Baidu to Deploy EPYC on Single Socket Servers

December 13, 2017

When AMD introduced its EPYC chip line in June, the company said a portion of the line was specifically designed to re-invigorate a single socket segment in what has become an overwhelmingly two-socket landscape in the d Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Explore the Origins of Space with COSMOS and Memory-Driven Computing

From the formation of black holes to the origins of space, data is the key to unlocking the secrets of the early universe. Read more…

Microsoft Wants to Speed Quantum Development

December 12, 2017

Quantum computing continues to make headlines in what remains of 2017 as tech giants jockey to establish a pole position in the race toward commercialization of quantum. This week, Microsoft took the next step in advanci Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Launches Commercial Quantum Network with Samsung, ORNL

December 14, 2017

In the race to commercialize quantum computing, IBM is one of several companies leading the pack. Today, IBM announced it had signed JPMorgan Chase, Daimler AG, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Wins Another: Baidu to Deploy EPYC on Single Socket Servers

December 13, 2017

When AMD introduced its EPYC chip line in June, the company said a portion of the line was specifically designed to re-invigorate a single socket segment in wha Read more…

By John Russell

Microsoft Wants to Speed Quantum Development

December 12, 2017

Quantum computing continues to make headlines in what remains of 2017 as tech giants jockey to establish a pole position in the race toward commercialization of Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Iron, Soft, Data, People – It Takes an Ecosystem!

December 11, 2017

Cutting edge advanced computing hardware (aka big iron) does not stand by itself. These computers are the pinnacle of a myriad of technologies that must be care Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft Spins Cycle Computing into Core Azure Product

December 5, 2017

Last August, cloud giant Microsoft acquired HPC cloud orchestration pioneer Cycle Computing. Since then the focus has been on integrating Cycle’s organization Read more…

By John Russell

GlobalFoundries, Ayar Labs Team Up to Commercialize Optical I/O

December 4, 2017

GlobalFoundries (GF) and Ayar Labs, a startup focused on using light, instead of electricity, to transfer data between chips, today announced they've entered in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE In-Memory Platform Comes to COSMOS

November 30, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is on a mission to accelerate space research. In August, it sent the first commercial-off-the-shelf HPC system into space for testing Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Coalesces Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer: Aurora in 2021

September 27, 2017

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, in Arlington, Va., yesterday (Sept. 26), it was revealed that the "Aurora" supercompute Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NERSC Scales Scientific Deep Learning to 15 Petaflops

August 28, 2017

A collaborative effort between Intel, NERSC and Stanford has delivered the first 15-petaflops deep learning software running on HPC platforms and is, according Read more…

By Rob Farber

Oracle Layoffs Reportedly Hit SPARC and Solaris Hard

September 7, 2017

Oracle’s latest layoffs have many wondering if this is the end of the line for the SPARC processor and Solaris OS development. As reported by multiple sources Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Showcases Growing Portfolio of EPYC and Radeon-based Systems at SC17

November 13, 2017

AMD’s charge back into HPC and the datacenter is on full display at SC17. Having launched the EPYC processor line in June along with its MI25 GPU the focus he Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Japan Unveils Quantum Neural Network

November 22, 2017

The U.S. and China are leading the race toward productive quantum computing, but it's early enough that ultimate leadership is still something of an open questi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Amazon Debuts New AMD-based GPU Instances for Graphics Acceleration

September 12, 2017

Last week Amazon Web Services (AWS) streaming service, AppStream 2.0, introduced a new GPU instance called Graphics Design intended to accelerate graphics. The Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

Google Releases Deeplearn.js to Further Democratize Machine Learning

August 17, 2017

Spreading the use of machine learning tools is one of the goals of Google’s PAIR (People + AI Research) initiative, which was introduced in early July. Last w Read more…

By John Russell

Perspective: What Really Happened at SC17?

November 22, 2017

SC is over. Now comes the myriad of follow-ups. Inboxes are filled with templated emails from vendors and other exhibitors hoping to win a place in the post-SC thinking of booth visitors. Attendees of tutorials, workshops and other technical sessions will be inundated with requests for feedback. Read more…

By Andrew Jones

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

EU Funds 20 Million Euro ARM+FPGA Exascale Project

September 7, 2017

At the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 6), 16 partners gathered to launch the EuroEXA project, which invests €20 million over three-and-a-half years into exascale-focused research and development. Led by the Horizon 2020 program, EuroEXA picks up the banner of a triad of partner projects — ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe — building on their work... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Tensors Come of Age: Why the AI Revolution Will Help HPC

November 13, 2017

Thirty years ago, parallel computing was coming of age. A bitter battle began between stalwart vector computing supporters and advocates of various approaches to parallel computing. IBM skeptic Alan Karp, reacting to announcements of nCUBE’s 1024-microprocessor system and Thinking Machines’ 65,536-element array, made a public $100 wager that no one could get a parallel speedup of over 200 on real HPC workloads. Read more…

By John Gustafson & Lenore Mullin

Flipping the Flops and Reading the Top500 Tea Leaves

November 13, 2017

The 50th edition of the Top500 list, the biannual publication of the world’s fastest supercomputers based on public Linpack benchmarking results, was released Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Software Tools to Ease FPGA Programming

September 5, 2017

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) have a reputation for being difficult to program, requiring expertise in specialty languages, like Verilog or VHDL. Easin Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This