My Narrative on Unbiased Cloud Computing

Over the past few weeks I’ve been posed with the “your biased claim” from some people.  I decided that I would put together a write up on what my motivations are for cloud computing, how I’m involved, and what my intent is for future involvement.

First off, I need to point out that I’m a software developer (which is probably obvious).  I build applications, mostly on the .NET Platform but also with other stacks such as Ruby on Rails, PHP (rarely), and of course the respective tools around those stacks.  I’ve also spent a lot of time working on enterprise architectures with massive scale (think 150k employees).  I have dug through REST at its core, implemented SOA and other such things.  Lately I’ve had the fortune of developing against Amazon Web Services (AWS) and also Windows Azure, again primarily using the .NET Framework (ala C# and such).

My interest in cloud computing really got started while I was working at Webtrends.  The company has a geographically dispersed, somewhat virtualized, network of hundreds of computers.  The way the company was moving made multi-tenancy easier and brought costs down for the company in a big way.  Something that cloud computing does from the beginning.  This whetted my appetite for large horizontally distributed and scaled systems.  Recently I moved from Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington to get even more involved in the heart of cloud technologies.

However, a major problem arose.

In addition to cloud technologies I’m also very pro-agile ideals.  I believe in the individual developer, working with others in pairs or however.  Learning better ways to build great applications and software solutions.  I try to live and breath the solid and great ideals behind the Agile Manifesto and Software Craftsmanship Manifesto.

I like to stay as unbiased as I can in regards to my technology stacks, and initially I was working out at Microsoft (As a Consultant).  I was forced into the antithesis of the Agile & Software Craftsmanship Manifestos.  It was depressing and I realized I couldn’t keep a good clear view of the various cloud technologies while hunkered down in the belly of the beast.  Two things weighed on my mind;  my intent to stay unbiased was clouded by working closely with the Azure team writing white paper materials and researching and the second was that so much of the work is done in a very anti-agile & anti-craftsman way.  It wasn’t serving me morally, ethically, or technologically.

I had to get out of that.  So I did.

I joined Russell Financial.  I am now doing Scrum Agile with a team of exceptionally talented individuals including @codereflection, @notmyself, @ang3lfir3, @terryhughes, and several others.  We use a lot of open source, unbiased software, that happens to primarily be on the .NET stack.  The ideas are shared open and with bias in regards to a whole host of things from Heroku and Salesforce, current enterprise ideas about Cloud technologies, and other things.  I now have a solid work environment that doesn’t provide me with a skewed view of the cloud technologies.

From here I can see the clouds and research, develop, and identify which cloud provides the best opportunities for each specific need that a company is working on.  Sometimes I might sound biased this way or that way, but every judgement I make toward one cloud service or another is based on specific criteria.

In other words, if I’m providing consulting to you for your efforts to utilize the cloud, I’m going to provide you honest, company specific advice on what your strategy for deployment, development, and return on investment should be.  So if you think I’m being biased, check your premise, my research, development, and general efforts around cloud technology are to find the best of breed options for whatever task, need, or want a company may come up with for cloud services.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled technical bits.