Real Clouds Don’t Have Logos
I’ve been doing even more reading than normal lately on the subject of Clouds lately as quite a few of us within ThoughtWorks who are going to be speaking on the subject next month are comparing notes. It follows that when I clicked the link for “The Wrong Cloud” I was not actually prepared for a delightfully entertaining paper that would contain my quote of the day:
“Today’s so-called cloud isn’t really a cloud at all. It’s a bunch of corporate dirigibles painted to look like clouds. You can tell they’re fake because they all have logos on them. Real clouds don’t have logos.”
As much as I enjoyed reading their paper, I must say that I disagree with a lot of what the guys at Maya are saying. Yes, there is a large dose of spin and hand wavey magic going on with the current leading fashion trend (that bit is totally true). Yes, it is very easy to tightly couple your application to a cloud vendor. The thing is though that it’s not that different from the tie in you get when selecting what language you use to develop your application in, which third party libraries you use or even what operating system(s) to target. The only real difference I can think of is that if for some reason the cloud vendor you’re backing stops running your app goes down, unlike all those mission critical OS/2 applications that are still running out there…
I’m pretty sure that you’d have fair warning before the plug was pulled though, especially if you’re still paying them money every month for their services.
The real questions you need to ask before doing anything on any cloud service are:
- What is the problem I’m trying to solve?
- Do any of the cloudy offerings actually help me solve that problem?
- What is the cost difference between deploying this app in the cloud vs our own infrastructure (assuming you have any of your own)?
- What is the point at which that will change? Is there a usage point where it would be cheaper for me to move off the cloud?
- If I chose platform X, how hard will it be to move to platform Y?
Cloud is not a magic silver bullet – such things don’t exist. As with any technology choice you make, you need to select the most cost effective one for the problem you have, and try your hardest to ignore the FUD.