Everyone is talking about the cloud. But how many people really understand how to use the cloud to build, host and maintain their sites?

Like most things in the tech world, the cloud is just an evolution of what we've all used before or are using today. What has changed is the technology of the hardware and networks that allows more accessibility, usability and scalability. Just a few years ago we all had to connect to a phone line, access our modem and dial in for our connectivity. Today, with all of the wireless, wifi, myfi and oodles of other options to connect, we almost take for granted the crucial connection that allows all of this new tech to happen. The cloud is the evolution of the old datacenter model where, instead of having banks of dedicated servers, we now have the world of virtualized servers and data stores where Web 2.0 and beyond will live.

Well then, how does this impact the development of my site and how I maintain it?

Application development in the cloud is based on the SaaS model (Software as a Service) where developers can leverage open-source solutions or pre-packaged installations that allow for rapid deployment and lower costs to the customers. At a recent SIIA (Software and Information Industry Association) conference, they introduced the concept of PaaS (Platform as a Service), which allows for:

  • Multi-tenant architecture – common technical resources and code instance for multiple client companies.
  • Customizable/programmable user interface – support the creation of high-flexibility user interfaces without the need to write complex code.
  • Unlimited database customizations – provide ability to easily modify/extend the data model (i.e. construct objects, define relationships, specify validation rules/permissions) via a "point-and-click" declarative environment.
  • Robust workflow capabilities – engender process automation by providing "point-and-click" tools to easily define workflow processes and specify business rules.
  • Granular permissions model – multi-level control over security/sharing within/across applications and platform components.
  • Flexible services-enabled integration model – enable seamless integration of "cloud" application data and functionality via a flexible web-services enabled integration model.
  • Analytics layer – enhanced ability to leverage aggregated data across companies and applications for analytics.
  • Integrated content library – common elements that extend the core application feature set, improve info-sharing and speed up go-to-market time.

The cloud platforms, and specifically the PaaS solution, speeds up the process even more by offering a set of packaged solutions that developers can choose from based on business and technical requirements. These new solution options will allow developers even more flexibility when choosing platforms and deployment methods.

John Bosso is responsible for the Web Development team that builds and maintains cutting edge solutions for our web centric clients. John is a seasoned development and program manager whose assignments have included Director of Program Management, Senior Development Manager and Director of Production Engineering at companies and agencies including Vodafone, Nimblefish, DHAP Digital and Digital Impact. He has focused on managing the overall engagement for web and mobile development projects for clients such as Adobe, AT&T, Industrial Light and Magic, Sears, and the Toyota/Lexus/Scion family of sites. John has a BS in Aeronautical Engineering and Business Management from San Jose State University and is PMI certified. John can be reached at jbosso@redbricksmedia.com.

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