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Cloud Computing Is Now a Serious Alternative

Alan Williamson believes 2009 will be the year that companies will look at the cloud as a serious alternative

Alan Williamson believes with a passion that 2009 will be the year that companies will look at the cloud as a serious alternative as it moves out of the early adopter phase. Williamson, the instructor and presenter at SYS-CON's upcoming all-day Cloud Computing Bootcamp on March 31st in New York City [view full schedule here], was speaking in a widely read interview published at java.sun.com - the official home of the Sun Developer Network.

In a wide-ranging discussion about every aspect of cloud computing, Williamson is asked about the impact of the Cloud on developers.

"I wouldn't necessarily say that cloud computing makes it easier for developers," he replies, adding:

"Cloud providers merely remove the need to worry about physical hardware, and instead of waiting days for a new server to be available, it's up and running in minutes. But that's where they stop. You still have to manage the process of loading, distributing, backup, and so on."

Williamson gives his opinions and insights about Amazon's EC2 platform, about Microsoft's Azure platform and Google's App Engine. and about the inter-relationship between open source and cloud computing technologies, which he deems crucial to its increased excellence and proliferation.

"The cloud provider has to show more than simply 'uptime' statistics," he says. "Complete transparency will become the norm. Observe how the likes of Google are open-sourcing more and more of their technology in order to gain not only the trust but the help of the community."

The interview - well worth reading in full (and indeed re-reading since it has a great deal of insight and covers a wide spectrum of issues) - naturally covers too the question of what Williamson currently perceives to be the biggest potential danger of cloud computing.

His take on that is crystal clear: "Over-expectations and underdelivery."

"People are being sold the idea that the cloud will solve all their problems," Williamson adds. "It won't -- it merely moves the problem to another domain. Instead of worrying about bare, physical metal, you now have to worry about provisioning and the process of managing a more rapidly changing data center."

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About Alan Williamson: Alan Williamson, named the UK's first Java Champion in 2006, is Editor-in-Chief of SYS-CON's Cloud Computing Journal and Instructor/Presenter of Cloud Computing Bootcamp. He has spent more than 15 unusually productive years as a developer. He graduated with full honors in computer science from the University of Paisley in Scotland in 1994. He was for several years editor in chief of Java Developer's Journal, a major resource for the Java community. In 1998, he created the BlueDragon Java CFML runtime engine that, among other things, powers MySpace.com. He works as a consultant to many startups and more recently cofounded aw2.0 Ltd, a software company specializing in deploying software solutions within cloud networks.

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