A case for not installing your own software
By James Gentsch on Oct 09, 2012
This week I watched some of the Oracle Open World presentations (from the comfort of my Oracle office) and happened on some of Larry Ellison’s comments about cloud computing and engineered systems. Larry said he sees the move to these as analogous to the moves made by the original adopters of electricity. The argument goes that the first consumers of electricity had to set up their own power plant. Then, as the market and infrastructure for electricity matured, power consumers moved from using their own personal power plant to purchasing power from another entity that was focused on power production as their primary product. In the end this was a cheaper and more reliable solution.
Now, there are lots of compelling reasons to be looking very seriously at cloud computing and engineered systems for enterprise application deployment. However, speaking as a software developer of enterprise applications, the part of this that I really love (besides Larry’s early electricity adopter analogy) is that as a mode of application deployment it provides me and my customers a consistent environment in which the applications I am providing will be run. This cuts way down on the environmental surprises that consistently lead to the hated “well, it works here” situation with the support desk. And just to be clear, I think I hate this situation more than my clients, who I think are happy that at least it is working somewhere. I hate this because when a problem happens, and let’s face it customers are not wasting their time calling in easy problems, we are seriously disabled when we cannot reproduce the issue which is triggered by something unforeseen in the environment where the application is running. This situation is incredibly frustrating and an all too often occurrence.
I look selfishly forward to cloud computing and engineered systems dramatically reducing the occurrence of problems triggered by unforeseen environmental situations in the software I am responsible for. I think this is an evolutionary game changer that will be a huge benefit to the reliability and consistent performance of the software for my customers, and may make “well, it works here” a well forgotten phase for future software developers. It may even impact the stress squeeze toy industry. Well, maybe at least for my group.