Got a chance to attend Amazon's AWS re:Invent conference last week. It was a great conference, and it was a real contrast compared to a typical Java-centric conference like JavaOne. It was a change of pace from the typical Java beat a TSS editor plays. The thing I really liked about it? In a world where everyone is hyping up the cloud, a conference like this is a great way to figure out what is 'right in the cloud' and where it's going sideways.
A great way to take the temperature of an industry is to look for patterns and trends, and there's no better way than to walk a conference floor and see if anything jumps out at you. Amazon is going as strong as ever in the cloud computing space, and they certainly seem to be kicking some major Oracle and IBM butt, but there are pain points. What are they?
Shaking out those monitoring plays
Every second vendor on the exhibit floor was a monitoring play, and even with as many that were present, there were some notable ones the Java community is familiar with that were not. So clearly, monitoring applications in the cloud is a challenge. Either that, or it's eazy-peazy to put together a cloud monitoring solution, which might explain why everyone and their uncle is trying to get in on the market. There will inevitably be some shaking out of vendors in this market over the next couple of years.
Who the heck is running this show?
The other big challenge with moving to the cloud is managing everything. There were plenty of DevOps plays on the exhibition floor, trying to answer the "how on earth do we manage all of this stuff" question. It's one thing to spin up an AMI instance. It's something entirely different to manage cloud based development, deployment and runtime systems.
AWS, why you no cost less?
Are you paying too much? Are your cloud costs too high? They probably are, and there are plenty of people who want to get you to spend a little money so you can save a little money. New products are being released that can tell you what is under-utilized, what is over-provisioned and where you can save some money buy shutting an instance down, or moving to a smarter usage tier.
Big, bold data
Big data is still a big opportunity, and it doesn't just have to be 'big data.' It can simply be about making sure your data systems are accessible and expandable. All the NoSQL guys and girls that you would see at a Java conference were there, trying to make the AWS world see their vision of storage. Initially, I thought it was kind of 'ballsy' to walk into Amazon's exhibition floor and start promoting your data storage solution when Amazon has a few of their own, but for the most part, each vendor ran AWS in the background, or was a play to help provide zone failover or even failover of data systems between multiple cloud providers, just in case someone at Amazon's RDS systems accidentally kicks out a power cord and everything goes down. It's funny, but data is always a problem, be it big data, ORM models or just managing your data in the cloud, and it doesn't look like that's going to be changing for a while.
I wrote a somewhat more formal article on the topic to keep the managing editors at TheServerSide happy. If you want to read a different version of the exact same article, give it a read. It's the same, but it's different, which means it's better, so you should read it:
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