Feeds

Java in the cloud: hardware-free miracle drug?

Cross platform hits its limits

Boost IT visibility and business value

Despite huge spending and a never ending supply of new products, enterprise IT is no less complicated than it was a few years ago. Cloud computing with all of its promises is still more of an aspirin for your headache than a cure for your infrastructure disease.

The cloud is still relatively virgin territory with effectively two vendors - Amazon and Google - setting the pace and defining the way people think about it. Despite announcements and press releases, we've yet to see much from IBM, Sun Microsystems, or Microsoft, the vendors who typically drive new technology purchasing. And there isn't much consensus on what defines a cloud, with only two consistent themes of multi-tenancy and infinite scale.

While it's easy to consume cloud resources, deployment is defined by two approaches: virtual machine images like Amazon EC2 (known as Amazon Machine Images or AMI), and direct code deployment like Google App Engine. App Engine only offers support for Python applications and is therefore severely limited. Before everyone starts crying, there is nothing wrong with Python, but odds are you will need support for more than just language in or out of the enterprise.

Despite lacking multiple programming languages, the Google approach of code and deploy is far more appealing and I would expect that mechanism to become the weapon of choice for most, if not all cloud offerings, regardless of language.

Java, which introduced the (theoretical) "write once, run anywhere" paradigm seems like the most likely candidate for a cloud operating system standard, but Sun has been mum on this as they've reorganized and finally created a cloud business unit.

One of the big challenges for Java in the cloud is that no one has yet come up with a simple deployment mechanism. Several people have argued with me that this approach wouldn't be applicable in most scenarios and in fact might not work at all in light of the need for things like build and compile. Nonetheless, that doesn't mean that Java shouldn't become the dominant cloud operating system.

Questions answered

In fact, Java answers many of the cloud question: Java is open source, mature, standardized, has plenty of development and management tools, and APIs that support a vast array of other systems. Java also has a very large enterprise developer base, a key to getting new technology tested and adopted.

Deploying an application at a cloud provider may be similar to an enterprise or local deployment but the methods developers use to interface inside the firewall versus the cloud are very different. Developers have to change the way they manage and deploy applications to jive with the cloud providers' unique infrastructure. And since we currently lack portability between virtual-machine (VM) vendors and not all cloud providers instantiate the same rules and interaction mechanics you are pretty much locked in.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cloudy CoreOS Linux distro declares itself production-ready
Lightweight, container-happy Linux gets first Stable release
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.