Where would we have been in 2008 without cloud computing to throw our ‘ah-hem’ erudite opinions at? A long way from proven in certain spheres of the enterprise computing environment, there were (and arguably still are) no shortage of areas for the technical press to cast doubt over.
Will we see the skies clear a little in 2009 with fresh precipitation coming in on a prevailing wind?
Well… Adobe used this week to leave a few vapour trails detailing its latest cloud-based offering for developers looking for a build and test environment capable of prototyping LiveCycle ES applications without needing to install and configure this server product themselves.
A cloud prototyping product you say? Almost a ‘sandbox in the sky’ then.
If you’re not familiar with the product, Adobe describes LiveCycle ES as a server solution that combines data capture, information assurance, document output, process management and content services.
The gateway to this product is via the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud and Adobe is not the only company to use this route to what it describes as a virtual self-contained enterprise development environment.
This kind of prototyping environment sets out to create an environment in which applications can be pre-configured as ready to run server instances on the Amazon cloud. The goal being to reduce the time required to boot new server instances – and thus give the developer more opportunities to re-modify and test again.
It all sounds tight and well managed doesn’t it? I have only one problem with this story though. I tried to research around this topic and couldn’t find too much out there. It’s the vendors who are talking about it and the better of the IT news web sites (i.e. this one) who are covering this still very emerging trend. This may be a problem endemic to the nature of the topic in hand I suppose.
I did reach out to Michael Coté, an industry analyst with RedMonk for an opinion and he pointed me to his thoughts on this announcement. When testing this offering Coté says that, “Adobe’s 6-Gig download didn't make for a fun install and setup experience. Setting up any piece of middleware is typically annoying, stackless stack or no. Part of the tool-chain Adobe is providing is built around addressing the setup-deploy-run-teardown-repeat cycle: the idea is to make it as easy and quick, as possible to get a fresh instance of ES. The goal here was to work with developers, not operations folks deploying LiveCycle ES. That said, it turns out that Adobe does offer hosting LiveCycle instances for those who'd rather do that than host it on-premise.”