Software and the Cloud

Software and the Cloud

The Cloud. This term is thrown around a lot these days. It use to be only the IT industry but now there are many more industries that leverage the power and capabilities of the cloud.

The term “cloud” is used to describe a place that exists in the online world.

  • It can be a place where people collaborate on documents like Google Drive or Microsoft’s Office 365.
  • There are companies that do their entire development in a cloud environment. Companies such as Salesforce and Google allow developers to work together from prototyping to deployment in a real time cloud environment.
  • The gaming industry leverages the power of the cloud as well. Steam, Ubisoft, and Electronic Arts create copies of your profile and all saved games in their clouds associated with your user name. This allows you to log into any other computer, and you can pick up playing right where you left off. Microsoft and Sony also use this approach with their latest consoles. Microsoft takes is one step further and uses their Azure platform to take some of the game physics programming load off of the console to increase performance.
  • The simplest version of the cloud is the most common version and that is essentially “the giant flash drive in the sky”. Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive are just a few examples of the most common cloud storage services. These allow you to access your data from anywhere at any time.

What does the cloud mean for the software industry?

Normally in software development there is a limit on the amount of testing and staging servers available. Even with virtualization, there is a limit to how much work the hardware can handle. When developing in a cloud environment there is no need to wait as there can be a near unlimited amount of servers available.

Developers are able to experiment easily. If a developer comes across a feature or an issue that needs a work around, they can spawn a new instance using that same website/application that is independent of the original. The developer can then experiment and work on it without worrying about breaking something on the original. If everything is successful, the original can be replaced in its entirety with the new, working version.

The cloud also allows developers to leverage platforms and power that were previously inaccessible.

  • Virtualization, private clouds, and public clouds are available at the Infrastructure as a Service level from companies such as Amazon Web Services or RackSpace Cloud.
  • Platform as a Service instances are the main powerhouses of cloud development which provide not only databases, but language environments as well. These are services such as Google App Engine and Salesforce’s platform.

Overall, the cloud has expanded and grown exponentially from simply a magical flash drive. Nearly every branch of the tech industry, and even many industries outside of tech, find ways to leverage the cloud in one way or another.

The one thing to watch out for though, is that the cloud is a double edged sword. It is not always the right choice for a business or customer. There are cases where even though the cloud is available, it just doesn’t make sense to spend extra man power to implement that solution. Here at Palm Beach Software Design we help you determine the best platform for your software implementation based on your business needs. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts, and also about your company’s next or current project.