The content of this blog post are most relevant to readers with current or previous software development background – I apologize to readers that might find this not too easy to relate to.
So you are a developer, I was one in my past career too. I remember the good old days where I had to spend significant amount of time working out a menu bar for my application and another chunk of time to develop an authentication module, among other potentially repeatable chunk of code. Perhaps I did not realize then that my app users could care less about certain plumbing aspects of the app that were necessary but did not add a whole a lot of value to the very business purpose of why I am even writing the application. The point here is that I was not 100% focused on delivering my applications business value because of the other technical stuff that I had to do. Well, this is how everyone wrote their apps back then.
Things have changed. It is now a time where PaaS provides the mechanics and the automated developer admin that we never had as developers. It is in a nutshell, the platform that takes care of all the plumbing work to build stunning, available, and scalable business applications on top of. Windows Azure is the underlying technology with a “never fail” promise and it has been architected to cater to that notion from the get go. This is not hype because developers can deploy their applications to the platform through an automated portal that in turn maintains load balancing and instances across multiple servers and even geographies. Your application will always be running and ready to receive requests even if some application instances have gone down, for good or bad reasons. Underlying OS upgrade, patching, servicing are typically done in an orderly and automated fashion. Users of the application will not know or feel a thing as they should not. The end results for the user is 100% availability and for the developer and administrator a 100% automated administration and scaling that is able to provide the 100% availability SLA to the application users.
How is that possible, you say! I will defer the deep details to another post but imagine (actually, no need to imaging, this is how it is todayJ) a visual studio environment that locally simulates PaaS in the cloud – that means that developers still do not have to worry too much about writing for the cloud and can remain focused on their application’s logic. When done, from within VS, they can package and deploy their application to the Windows Azure platform. All they have to do is to specify how many instances they need to have running (recommended: at least two), what geography they prefer them to be, and click the button. Within minutes, their application is available at staging or production environment ready to be tested or consumed. See, I told ya, it can be a wonderful world, and the story gets better.
I realize that there are a lot of details to cover, and I intend to. Windows Azure is a whole new world by itself and I will write about it in future post. However, I need to hear back from you, my readers. Tell me the Cloud areas that you would be interested to learn about. Tell me how high level or how detailed you want me to get and I will commit to you that I will comply, perhaps not to every single request but to ones that are more common among readers.
Please comment away …