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Developing The Cloud Mindset


From the moment I got a real taste of the freedom and flexibility of cloud computing I never wanted to go back. My first experience was more than three years ago at a tiny startup. The idea of cloud computing was pretty novel then, but after that first release I was hooked. I had never noticed before but managing physical hardware is like walking knee deep in water.

Just reading and thinking about the cloud can't do it justice. On the surface it seems like just yet another way to run your apps. Once you start working with the cloud -- particularly the PaaS variety -- it's power to help you get stuff done quickly becomes obvious. Anything that helps get stuff done is worth grabbing onto and exploiting for all it is worth.

Developers are often a bit resistant to using PaaS clouds. We chose this profession because of our deep and abiding love of computers. I have fond memories of my first computer. The smell of new hardware when you open the box is something i look forward to (mmm, outgassing). Obsessing over esoteric aspects of hardware, software and network setups is the norm for developers. Giving up selecting, unpacking and setting up hardware is sad. Just read what the people behind the excellent stackoverflow have to say. They are not anomalies. Those of us that love computers have a hard time just renting them.

These visceral reactions miss the point, though. We don't get paid to play with computers all day. We are here to develop applications that provide value. The flexibility and automation potential of the cloud allows developers to deliver more value faster and cheaper than we ever could on real hardware.

The ability to deploy my applications on a pre-configured OSS software stack without having to ask for permission or wait on anyone else, is huge. That capability allows me to provide more value because more of my time is directed at solving real problems, rather than dealing with red tape.

Cloud computing also allows for dramatic improvements how applications are managed. Consider how netflix deploys their software. Having the capacity to deploy entirely duplicated setups allows for much safer and predictable deployments. There is no way you would get approval to purchase and maintain enough spare capacity to deploy like that on real hardware. In the cloud the impossible is cheap and easy.

OpenLogic's CloudSwing brings the benefits of cloud computing to developers with a minimal learning curve. The pre-configured platforms, supported open source software and cloud provider neutrality of CloudSwing are designed to improve productivity.

What do you think the biggest benefits of cloud computing is to developers?

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