Will cloud computing ever change the Java development process?
By Cameron McKenzie
Has the cloud really revolutionized the way software developers do their jobs? There is so much discussion about the impact of cloud computing on IT, and there is no argument that utility based computing will continue to rise in popularity, but for the low level developer who still boots up his desktop every morning and double-clicks on the Eclipse, NetBeans or IntelliJ icon as they kick off another day of software development, is the ethereal cloud really having any impact on how they do their jobs? Jason Tee, a regular contributor to TheServerSide, predicted that cloud computing would be a massively disruptive force in 2013, but as we pass through the middle months of the calendar, it's questionable as to whether anything has changed at all over the past six months.
Moving beyond Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Everybody understands how the various Platform as a Service offerings have changed the way applications are iteratively deployed and fractionally monitored at runtime. Having a deployment platform that can utilize elastic computing resources is certainly revolutionary, and many enterprise organizations are emptying their data centers as they move towards using servers that drift back and forth across hypervisors in the cloud. In fact, TheServerSide spoke recently with Sacha Labourey, the founder and CEO of CloudBees Inc, on how organizations can most effectively transition and become cloud-enabled.
What exactly is cloud based development?
But the manner in which cloud based technologies are changing how applications are deployed is becoming old news. The real question is how cloud based technologies are having any impact on the illustrious developer? And perhaps the biggest problem with asking such a question is the difficulty in defining exactly what cloud based development really is. If you have a team Wiki or JIRA tracker hosted on a cloud based server, then do you qualify as being a trail-blazer who is pushing the envelope in terms of developing in the cloud? There are indeed ways that the cloud impacts the developer, but are they actually having any real and tangible impact on how developers do their jobs?
Mark Driver, VP of research at Gartner, is a bit of an expert on cloud computing in the ecosystem of Java, and we put the question to him as to what exactly constitutes cloud based development, and even he admits to struggling with how the term can be concisely defined.
The future of cloud based Java development
Of course, the reality is, we all may be missing the boat that people like Codenvy CEO Tyler Jewell are steering. "We believe that in five years, there will be no viable reason for developers to develop on a desktop ever again," said Jewel in a recent interview, asserting that the could based development offerings that their company, and others competing in the same sector offer, will completely revolutionize application development. Interest in this segment is certainly rising, but it is too early to tell if widespread adoption is imminent.
Cloud computing is certainly not a flash in the pan. The benefits cloud computing brings to enterprise environments improve productivity, reduce costs and speed up the time to market, but from the view of the actual application developer, has the cloud really impacted the way they perform their jobs on a daily basis? Today, the answer to that question seems to be 'no', although there is no shortage of experts and innovators in the industry that are working hard to shift that 'no' to an unequivocal 'yes' in the next few years.
How has cloud computing changed the way your organization does development? Let us know.
28 Jul 2013