A tour of cloud computing: “A seamless multi-cloud experience is currently practically impossible”
Cloud computing is worth exploring; this is what we think but of course, we’re no experts. Therefore, we decided to invite 12 experts to weigh in on the present and future of cloud computing. Our next guest is Carlos Sanchez, Principal Software Engineer at CloudBees.
Cloud computing is worth exploring
In last year’s JAXenter Technology Trends Survey, we asked readers about their interest in different technologies and, according to the results, the cloud was a very relevant topic for developers. As you can see in the figure below, cloud computing was the runner-up in the “General IT topics” section, after software architecture.
If you want to read more about respondents’ favorite and least favorite cloud platforms, have a look at the results. Sure, cloud computing was already very popular but these results put things into perspective for us; in 2017, respondents were more interested in cloud computing than in microservices, DevOps, machine learning, blockchain and the list goes on. That may or may not still be the case, but these results opened our appetite for everything cloud-related.
Despite cloud computing’s popularity, there are still a lot of unknowns, misunderstandings and gaps. For example, earlier this year, we learned from Sumo Logic’s 2018 Global Security Trends in the Cloud report that almost half of their respondents reported that current tools do not work in the cloud. Furthermore, a whopping 97% out of the 300+ respondents felt that they lacked the tools for proper cloud security. Read more about the report here.
The bottom line is that cloud computing is worth exploring and the benefits definitely outweigh the risks. This is what we think but of course, we’re no experts. Therefore, we decided to invite 12 experts to weigh in on the present and future of cloud computing.
A tour of cloud computing will be published twice a week.
Here are the interviews published so far
- Abby Kearns: “It’s very important for technology to be cloud-compatible, if not cloud-native”
- Oleg Chunikhin & Terry Shea:“Serverless is another step towards improving productivity, especially in DevOps and operations”
- Peter Meulbroek:“Cloud-neutral adds a large amount of complexity and risk to a migration, without really solving the issue”
- Ross Kukulinski:“Observability is an essential component when successfully operating software in the cloud”
Our next guest is Carlos Sanchez, Principal Software Engineer at CloudBees.
JAXenter: Everything is in the cloud these days, including our precious data. How can developers maintain an appropriate level of security in an increasingly insecure landscape?
Carlos Sanchez: To maintain a high level of security requires both automation and governance to ensure the best defenses are put in place and the correct security processes are followed by employees. To add to this, infrastructure as code also improves security as it helps control any changes carried out to the infrastructure, then follows the same processes that development does. This, therefore, prevents any unauthorized changes from occurring, which may hinder your security.
JAXenter: What benefits does a cloud-based infrastructure bring? What are the drawbacks?
Carlos Sanchez: One of the main benefits is the scale and pay model cloud-based infrastructure offers. This enables businesses to pay as you grow, opening up new opportunities to use the cloud facilities as and when you require them. For start-ups, this is particularly interesting as it offers an adaptive infrastructure depending on how fast they grow.
We are witnessing a lot of growth in monitoring tools, which are necessary once cloud technology is being used at scale.
What is also very interesting about cloud-based infrastructure is the self-service element it offers, increasing the speed at which you can bring new solutions to market because the infrastructure is easily accessible.
JAXenter: What is your favorite cloud-based tool, service, or platform to use and why?
Carlos Sanchez: For me, this has to be Google Cloud as its services are extremely easy to use for all developers. In particular, the Google Kubernetes Engine makes application deployment much easier and far less complex compared to more traditional tools as it abstracts infrastructure elements.
JAXenter: Is Kubernetes becoming central to cloud adoption?
Carlos Sanchez: Certainly! Kubernetes is becoming the “operating system” for the cloud, mainly as it enables developers to easily abstract resources. What’s more, the way Kubernetes functions it utilizes the underlying infrastructure and lower level operating systems, which together all lead to higher levels of productivity.
JAXenter: Jakarta EE has recently taken the cloud-native Java path. How important is it for a technology to be relevant to today’s cloud-first world?
Carlos Sanchez: It is crucially important, mainly because of the way we now do business and develop software. We are increasingly moving towards an environment which primarily uses containers, whilst simultaneously turning to cloud-based deployments.
Together, both trends demonstrate how users look for easy to deploy, “as a service” type of product installations, which usually are in the form of pay per use and other dynamic features provided by the cloud.
Carlos Sanchez: We are seeing multiple attempts at implementing serverless from different cloud providers which in normal circumstances cause a lock-in. However, as adoption increases, we should expect to see clear winners that will create the de-facto standard. Consequently, projects that successfully become cloud provider agnostic will offer lots of benefits to developers and sysadmins.
JAXenter: If cloud technology wants to continue to grow, tools should grow and adapt as well. What are the most mature tools right now?
Carlos Sanchez: There are currently many mature infrastructure-as-code tools on offer. Some of these include Terraform, AWS Cloud Formation and Google Deployment Manager, which all help reduce the complexities of cloud infrastructure management successfully. We are also witnessing a lot of growth in monitoring tools, which are necessary once cloud technology is being used at scale. For example, projects like Prometheus are growing in popularity for exactly this reason.
JAXenter: How can we capture the multi-cloud opportunity? What are the roadblocks to multi-cloud success?
Carlos Sanchez: A seamless multi-cloud experience is currently practically impossible. Nonetheless, while AWS dominates the market, there are other providers offering additional tools and solutions to help bridge different clouds together. Such solutions have a lot of extra work to carry out before they develop multi-cloud applications, mainly because there are no current standards in this area.
More traditional apps will be able to take advantage of some of the serverless benefits.
That said, the most promising advances are likely to come from Kubernetes and federated Kubernetes clusters, that allow dynamic loads across both regions and providers on the cloud.
JAXenter: What do you think of serverless? Is it a “revolution of the cloud,” as Maciej Winnicki, Principal Software Engineer at Serverless Inc. told us last year?
Carlos Sanchez: Serverless is definitely a paradigm shift that will become increasingly useful. We are already witnessing Functions as a Service (FaaS) covering very interesting use cases and now there are “serverless” container offerings, bridging the gap between new FaaS offerings and traditional software. As a result, more traditional apps will be able to take advantage of some of the serverless benefits, running on demand, autoscaling, and offering pay per use.
Application developers have entered a new era with the advent of cloud technology. If you want to meet the movers and shakers in the world of cloud computing, don’t miss JAX London, a four-day conference taking place October 8-11, 2018.