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Why new Software Developers are kicking Enterprise butt in the Cloud

Updated on November 20, 2013

So what is it that defines the difference between the ‘haves’ and ‘havenots’? Is it technology choice? Is it expertise? Is it budget? Or is it perhaps a more fundamental consideration of how well we can adapt our thinking to take advantage of this new paradigm.

A lesson from history

Allow me if you will to draw a parallel between Cloud computing and the Industrial Revolution – OK, I accept that’s a bit of a reach as far as analogies go but I think there’s an important lesson here to be learned from history. The Industrial Revolution was ‘ignited’ by one, apparently simple technological development, an improved production technique.

This enabled the cheaper production of stronger cast iron which in turn led to the proliferation of Steel as a construction material and it was steel that radically changed the course of human urbanisation, transport, engineering and well, basically the way society has developed since then.

If architects had continued to apply these new construction materials to old design principles they would have never achieved the cost efficiencies and ability to scale that led to the high-rise age.

So the lesson here is that it is the rethinking of how we do things that makes the critical difference, not the humble invention itself.

Virtualization and Cloud computing are the improved tools and techniques that are today enabling us to challenge and change the ways in which we have so far developed, deployed and consumed IT services. However, if we’re going to take full advantage of this new technology’s capabilities we need to change the way we think, we need to challenge our existing system engineering models and we need to stop trying to force square pegs through round holes.

Look to new architectural models

After 5 years experience of working with customers making the move to Cloud, if I had to identify the most important difference between those who succeed and those who don’t, it would be this: Success in the Cloud can be measured by the extent to which you can ‘Think big.’ What I mean by this is that you need to think differently than you have before. Don’t think like an enterprise IT executive. Think like an ISV. So what does it mean to think like an ISV?

We’re all familiar with the Service-Oriented Architecture model or at least the broad concepts, its been around in one form or other for at least a decade. We believe that we are now witnessing a critical development in this field from Service-Oriented Architecture to Service-Oriented System Engineering (or SOSE). Now SOSE has been on the radar of forward-thinking software developers for at least half the time of SOA but prior to the advent of Cloud was prohibitively expensive and difficult to adopt due to immature standards and tools.

In some sense, SOSE continues where SOA left off, by bridging the divide between Development & Infrastructure. It more fully considers the service delivery as a whole instead of software and infrastructure as separate layers.

Foster a new breed of architects

Perhaps, this is a major contributing factor to why we are seeing the increased importance being placed on the role of DevOps role within IT. In our experience, we have found that the ability of an individual or team to cross that Development & Operations divide, is of paramount importance to the success of any Cloud initiative. We don’t define ‘DevOps’ in terms of role or skills but rather in terms of mindset. These individuals are open-minded, are willing to learn what the person next to them does. They are quite literally a new breed of IT craftsmen that are leading the Cloud revolution and we consider them to be the most valuable engineering assets in our business.


In closing I’d like to circle back on this whole idea of thinking BIG. From our perspective this does not necessarily refer only to scale but perhaps more importantly to scope. So maybe it should be thinking WIDE! Success in the Cloud depends on widening the scope of where and how you approach Cloud adoption. And that means thinking past VM infrastructure and embracing new cloud service architectures.

Author info:

Stephen Hurford
Cloud services director
DNS Europe Ltd


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