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The new cloud application design paradigm

Bernard Golden | Jan. 21, 2014
Most of today's applications, and all of tomorrow's, are built with the cloud in mind. That means yesterday's infrastructure -- and accompanying assumptions about resource allocation, cost and development -- simply won't do.

Naturally, you're now faced with another challenge: Managing all these dynamic resources and multiple tiers. This suggests you should ...

Leverage a sophisticated application management solution that treats your application topology as a coordinated set of resources and can dynamically (and automatically) add and remove resources, ensuring there are always enough resources available. Automated management also removes the need for error-prone manual operations interaction, a common source of application failure.

Finally, and quite importantly, dynamically adjusting the amount of resources assigned to an application ensures that resource cost matches user load. This should allow better cost/value balancing.

Developers Building Cloud Applications Have New Expectations
In closing, let's return to a statement made above: "Once it's obvious that these artificial limitations are no longer necessary, developers will insist that whatever infrastructure is used must support flexibility and elasticity."

It's important that we, as an industry, internalize the implications associated with the new developer expectations. The history of IT is that new platforms enable new applications types that rapidly become the vast preponderance of every company's total application portfolio. Oh, and by the way, that portfolio explodes in size, since every new platform represents at least an order of magnitude cost/benefit improvement.

Given what's now available via public cloud computing, here's the new expectation of developer benchmarks:

  • Resource availability within minutes, not hours or days.
  • Full infrastructure malleability; on-demand virtual machines with firewall changes that take weeks is unacceptable.
  • A rich set of supporting services, such as highly scalable object storage, redundant database, queues and email.
  • Fine-grained cost assignment directly tied to resource use.

I believe we're working in the most exciting time ever for IT. Ten years from now, the landscape of what we call "IT" will look so different from today that we'll scarcely recognize it. The key is to recognize that all value of the field of IT is associated with applications. The critical task is to optimize our environments, our processes and our thinking around that reality.


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