What, exactly, is a “post-cloud” world?

By February 24, 2010Uncategorized

If you’ve bothered to read the Gluecon site, you’ve probably picked up on my techno-marketing-babble-jargon. Namely, the word “post-cloud.” When I first wrote that, I wasn’t sure what I meant, but I knew I was trying to convey what things are like on the other side of this “cloud debate.” For the next 12-18 months, every technology conference and their cousin is going to “debate the benefits of the cloud,” or talk about “the move to the cloud.” I really just want to move past that, as so much of that will just be fluff.

That was my motivation in writing “post-cloud,” but now I’m starting to think my marketing-speak may actually hold some meaning.

Traditionally, the development divide between web app developers and enterprise IT developers has been pretty wide. And over time, the tension in that gap grew until it strained (and maybe has broken). I mean, developing behind a firewall on a relational database for IT apps (or platforms or middleware) that has been put through the “lifecycle” ringer by some rather large system integrator before being signed off on by your CIO has always been pretty different from “we built a web app.”

But over the last 7-10 years, it turns out that building the web app is now where things get really hard. Scalability, high availability, interoperability — when done at “internet-scale” these problems take on a meaning that’s even *more* mind-bogglingly big than doing it inside of an enterprise (I’m not trying to downgrade the efforts of IT in the enterprise, just making a point). Increasingly, enterprise developers are turning to, or even becoming web app developers because the skills have met; the gap has started to close; in a “post-cloud” word, enterprise developers ARE web app developers (or even more scary: mobile web app developers).

So, what is a “post-cloud” world in this light? It’s the world where web app development skills and enterprise development skills meet.

And you can see it in everyday news, like Twitter making the decision to move to NoSQL-based Cassandra. My business partner, Phil Becker, has a great saying (I’m paraphrasing) that if you want to know where the real money is getting made in software, look for the databases. Twitter now joins Facebook, Digg and others that are moving to what is increasingly the data model of choice for the “post-cloud” world – NoSQL. I don’t know if a lot of enterprises are doing it yet, but I guarantee that enterprise guys are investigating, watching, kicking tires (Comcast, for example, uses Riak), and I’m sure that folks at Oracle have taken note.

The point is that the interesting thing about the “move to the cloud” isn’t about capex vs. opex, or any of the other silly “benefits” talks that you’ll hear all over the place. The interesting thing is in the web app developer/enterprise developer skill set converging in a way that we’ve never seen before. It opens up whole new fields of innovation (ie, both parties can learn a lot from each other). THAT is the “post-cloud” world.

And that is why you’ll find everything from NoSQL (which is distinctly internet-scale stuff) to SAML (which is about as enterprise as a protocol gets) at Gluecon. Be sure to join us.