Grown up cloud or – why I moved to Solidsoft
February 4, 2013 4 Comments
With the adoption and maturity of public cloud growing, businesses are changing the critical lenses they use when thinking about deploying applications to the cloud.
During the last couple of years, during which I delivered countless briefings on Windows Azure to businesses across the UK, I found that, broadly speaking, they typically fall into one of three buckets – those who are jumping in head first (a clear minority, mostly composed of start-ups and very small ventures), those who object completely (another minority who see public cloud as too new, to risky, to flaky, too different, not different enough, or any number of other reasons) and the vast majority who wanted to explore further, albeit with some caution.
This third group, the majority, and a very diverse group, wanted to criticise public cloud from a point of knowledge, to get some first-hand experience, and it’s members usually sought a project or two which were small enough and contained enough, which provided a fairly narrow and well defined profile of risk, and gave it a go. some took it further than others, but, generally speaking, failure was almost always kept as an option and the cloud was treated, to a degree, at an arms length.
I’m a curious, yet conservative, guy, and I can subscribe to this view very well – a child who’s been given a new toy and wants to poke it around a bit, see what it does, see if it’s fun, before deciding to its worth welcoming this new toy to the group of favourites, maybe even chucking away some of the old ones to make some room. It all makes perfect sense.
This poking around business, though, meant that, until recently, most have taken a fairly uncommitted approach to public cloud and have not yet started to look at what it means to take public cloud seriously. They have not yet made place in the pram for the new toy.
I sense that there has been a real change in this respect recently, driven partly by the maturity of the public cloud platforms and the surrounding technologies but largely because businesses, who have seen the benefits of the cloud either first hand or by observing others, are now starting to seriously commit to adopting public cloud as mainstream.
What this means is that the scope of the discussion around cloud computing has to be much broader than it has been so far, and the proposed solutions have to be more comprehensive.
These ‘grown up’ cloud solutions need to ensure that, with the great benefits that public cloud bring in cost, flexibility, agility, collaboration, focus, etc, the other aspects of the enterprise IT landscape such manageability, supportability, end-to-end security, etc all looked into in detail as well.
Grown up cloud takes into deep consideration the fact that what gets deployed into the cloud has to remain deeply connected with everything else – whether it is integrating parts of a solution that spans cloud and on-premises, integrating an application in the cloud to the rest of the enterprise or indeed connecting together multiple cloud tiple platforms into one coherent end-to-end solution.
Be it EAI and/or B2B, or a single application that spans cloud and on-premises, one has to think about how a versioning strategy would looks like, how would an IT estate that spans my data-centre and multiple clouds be managed? how does logging monitoring look like? what’s the back-up strategy? all these questions, and others, have to be looked at as part of a mainstream solution in the enterprise, cloud-or-not.
Of course this sounds very old-school, it is. but it’s, arguably, carries increased importance as organisation not only deploy applications to public cloud in an ever increasing velocity (and ferocity?) but actually as there’s a big move from build to buy, from manage to subscribe, all drive not only a move to a cloud platform but, indeed, to multiple cloud platforms.
In my personal story, this is exactly why I was delighted to accept a position as a principal consultant in Solidsoft’s CTO office, after a couple of great years in the Windows Azure space at Microsoft.
My role as a technical specialist for Windows Azure was absolutely brilliant, I love Microsoft as a company and as a place to work at, and I absolutely love the technology it delivers. I enjoyed (almost) every bit of my two years at Microsoft, but, for me, there was one big downside at this point in time – in this particular role, one does not get to walk along ones customers long enough to touch on everything that matters.
In that role, you work with customers as they make their first steps – you work with them to define their needs, you bring your understanding of the platform and mix it all together to get a view of a solution on the platform, at which point you, typically, pull out of the conversation somewhat and let the customer, often with the help of a technology partner such as Solidsoft, get on with delivering the vision.
Admittedly this has many advantages, but it also carries some disadvantages – and at this exciting time for software development in the enterprise I wanted to be firmly in this other part of the conversation – where both functional and non-functional requirements are digested in detail and translated into a complete solution, which is then built in a way that ensures it is is fully integrated with the rest of the enterprise fabric, that delivers long term benefits to the business, and that just works, and I could not think of a better place in the UK to do just that other than Solidsoft.