A while ago I wrote I would post some articles on cloud computing. I believe cloud computing will change the way we all work. It will have a big impact on the IT-industry. Sure it will take some time to get this secure, trusted, reliable enough for the masses but soon when ‘legacy’organizations find out about the cost reductions and other advantages they will change over to cloud. Most of the startup are already using cloud services because of it’s agility and flexibility and pay for what you use model.
Actually cloud computing is quite common for some time now. Lots of companies are using Salesforce type of apps in the cloud. Office 365 will soon be a normal thing to use instead of maintaining hotfixes and updates on your own infrastructure.
For development of applications running in the cloud there are various options. Google App Engine, Force.com and Microsoft Azure are some big names. They all use their own development platform which means customers on that platform cannot switch to another cloud provider without having to rewrite the application code. The code is stuck to the platform of the provider. It is a bit like having an electric appliance which can only be used with a specific electricity company. If the electricity company has many outages or raises the price of power, you cannot switch to another company. The common name for this is vendor lock-on or Hotel California. You can check in but you cannot check out. The provider will lure you with low prices and when enough customers are in, prices are raised to be able to have a healthy economic model and deliver good return for investors and shareholders.
VMware announced it’s own application development platform called Cloud Foundry in April. It is based on open source software. It can be described as a layer which sits between the cloud provider infrastructure (computing resources) and the software used for development.
As it is open source the application can run on cloud providers which support Cloud Foundry. Even when the cloud provider does not run VMware vSphere as it’s underlying virtualization platform. So if the cloud provider does not comply to SLA’s or raises the price, the app can be moved quite easily to another provider without having to rewrite the app.
Much more info in an article on Gigaom.com