July 26th, 2012

Programming in the Cloud

CloudDevelop LogoQuite a bit has been written about how the Cloud is altering the landscape for platform, software and infrastructure providers but not as much has been said about what all this means for developers. I recently decided to find out for myself by going on an “all-cloud diet”. In practical terms, this meant I used a sealed netbook or smartphone to do all my work.

Therefore, I had to do all the things an active developer regularly has to do (coding, debugging, testing etc.) from a device that has no appreciable hard-drive space and does not allow the installation of any customer software. In essence, I was on a strict diet of browser-based and plug-in based tools and services reachable via an Internet connection.

In relatively short order I was able to find browser-based editors (even ones that support line-by-line server-side debugging!), tools for managing data stores and code repositories. Furthermore, I was able to post test scripts for execution/review and even deploy my projects to a wide range of server providers – all from my browser.

Along the way, I discovered that I had an easier time collaborating online with colleagues in other locations and was better able to take advantage of the most recent releases of new services and tools (since there was no “install” or “update” I had to manage). And – of course – I was more mobile in the process.

Not all programming languages, runtime environments and server profiles are represented in the cloud. And there are still many details to work out in order to make assembling a full-featured “cloud tool chain” easy, reliable and cost effective. Nevertheless, I can see that it is a possibility and I have met people who are working to make that possibility a reality.

My advice to developers would be: Conduct your own experiments; try out your own “cloud-only diet” and see what you learn. Even if you decide that not all the pieces you need are available, you may still discover there are ways to leverage cloud-based tooling to reduce barriers, add flexibility and increase productivity in various aspects of your development efforts.

I’ll be exploring these issues in greater depth when I present a talk titled Programming with the OSS “Cloud Stack” at the CloudDevelop show in Columbus, OH on August 3.

June 6th, 2012

Start Spreading the News… Cloud Expo, New York

Cloud Expo 2012Cloud Expo 2012 is almost here. This promises to be an incredible event, with thousands of attendees and over 100 speakers. As previously mentioned, I’m privileged to be presenting on Making Hybrid Cloud Safe & Reliable. I’m particularly excited that I’ll be introducing attendees to the new concept of API-Aware Traffic Management. It will also be great to be back in New York City!

I recently read Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking Fast & Slow, a fascinating study of how the human mind works. With the new capabilities offered by big data and Cloud computing — the dual themes for next week’s event — and the increasing personalization of technology through Mobile devices, I think we have an opportunity to make our digital systems more human in their processing. What does that mean?  Well, more intuitive in user experience, more lateral through caching of unstructured data and more adaptive to changing conditions. API-Aware Traffic Management certainly reflects this potential.

If you are going to be (or hope to be) at the event, add a response in the comments box or tweet to @MattMcLartyBC. Hope to see you there!

May 15th, 2012

API-Aware Traffic Management

Cloud ExpoAs I mentioned in my last blog post, the promise of cost reduction is compelling many enterprises to move their workloads into the Cloud but many IT leaders are reluctant to do so, for fear of compromising the security and availability of their services. These concerns are well-founded but the benefits of Cloud are too great to ignore. To obtain these benefits, companies must adopt techniques that protect against the attendant risks, without compromise.

Many people are familiar with Layer 7’s industry-leading security functionality, so it’s no surprise that I’d recommend using our Gateway technology to protect connections from on-premise infrastructure to off-premise Cloud services. The flexibility of deployment options we offer makes it possible to create a network of secure on- and off-premise endpoints to meet the most stringent requirements. This covers security but what about availability?

People seem to be less familiar with Layer 7’s routing capabilities. Our Gateway technology is optimized to perform flexible, content-based routing with negligible impact on overall transaction times. In the context of the Cloud, this means that traffic proxied by a Layer 7 Gateway can be re-directed using intelligent algorithms and even dynamic, state-based awareness. This routing capability, which I call “API-aware traffic management”, brings huge benefits in ensuring availability when connecting to multiple API instances – on-premise, off-premise, in multiple Clouds… anywhere on the hybrid network.

I’ll be discussing this topic in detail at the upcoming Cloud Expo 2012, June 11-14 in New York City. This promises to be a great event, so I hope you can make it and attend my discussion!

April 30th, 2012

Cloud & Clear

Hybrid CloudIt’s April in Vancouver, which got me thinking about clouds.  Although the IT buzz in 2012 has been dominated by mobile and big data, Cloud computing is still a hot topic, especially since it is an enabler for both. In the public Cloud space, Google just launched Drive in the same week that Microsoft updated SkyDrive. In the private Cloud domain, IBM recently announced its PureSystems platform, which falls along similar lines as the Exa- line from Oracle.

It will be interesting to see whether or not big enterprises buy into this “21st century mainframe” concept but what’s clear is that enterprises now want to migrate critical workloads to the Cloud, en masse. To realize the true benefits of Cloud, many of these workloads will have to be running off-premise. But since many will remain on-premise, enterprises will be relying on hybrid Cloud infrastructure for their most significant IT services.

Security remains a major area of concern for organizations looking to leverage the Cloud. Increasingly, availability and reliability are also significant concerns, particularly since Amazon has had a few outages recently. In addition to addressing these concerns, enterprises are evaluating how they can optimize processing volumes to get maximum cost benefit from their Cloud deployments.

Please join me at the Cloud Expo, June 11-14 in New York, where I’ll be discussing solutions for each of these considerations. Hey, we should have blue skies by then!

January 13th, 2012

FROM THE VAULT: White Paper – The Value of Application Service Governance for Cloud Computing

Value of SOA Governance for CloudAs 2012 begins, it definitely seems like Cloud computing will continue to be a hot issue in enterprise IT, with the impetus driving large organizations into the Cloud continuing to gather pace. Consequently, there’s going to be a growing need for information on how services run in the Cloud can be governed in order to ensure data security and maximize performance.

Many of Layer 7’s customers have already made the move into the Cloud. These companies have benefited greatly from our expertise in governance for SOA. This is because SOA governance is directly applicable to the Cloud. Our white paper The Value of Application Service Governance for Cloud Computing provides a detailed explanation of this connection.

Written by internationally-respected SOA/Cloud thought leader David Linthicum, in collaboration with our own Scott Morrison, this white paper outlines how the structure of SOA – services distributed across departments and locations – is at the core of all Cloud computing. So, governance principles that are effective in SOA also work in the Cloud.

To learn more, download The Value of Application Service Governance for Cloud Computing.