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An Application-Centric View of Cloud Computing

What should we look to as the next wave or focus in the cloud space?

A recent survey from F5 indicates that the cloud computing movement is making significant headway despite what some may see as mere fluff and hype.

The survey, comprised of employees from large enterprises (2500+ employees), indicated that 82% of respondents are in some stage of public cloud use/trial and that 83% were in some stage of private cloud use/trial. Apparently, at least for the respondents in this survey, cloud computing has officially arrived.

If we are to believe that cloud computing adoption is on a serious up-tick, what should we look to as the next wave or focus in the cloud space? For my money, I think cloud conversations need to move from talking about harnessing servers or application infrastructure in a cloud to simply talking about applications in a cloud.

The state of the cloud computing art should be driving towards an application-centric view of how users leverage cloud in their business. Instead of a user interacting with a cloud provider to decide what server, operating system, or application infrastructure configuration they need, they should instead be interacting with that provider to determine the needs of their application. The infrastructure needed to meet the application needs specified, unless otherwise dictated by the consumer, should be transparent.

Such a goal is a pretty lofty aim, but one that I think is important if cloud computing is going to realize its full potential. The capability to pull this off implies a lot of advancements in the cloud computing arena, not the least of which should involve work on standards that describe how to express the requirements, qualities of services, and dependencies for a given application.

There will also need to be some amount of synergy between traditional application deployments and cloud-based application deployments. At some point it would seem that users are going to demand a single logical view of all the applications in their organization. These applications may be deployed in an internal cloud, external cloud, or traditional data center, but to a user these resources are simply applications that make their business tick. It's unclear how much commonality could be derived from application deployments in a traditional data center versus those deployed in a cloud, but to the degree with which those deployments are common, users should be able to view and administrate them from a single interface.

Cloud computing is moving forward, and adoption is on the upswing. In order to keep this momentum going, I think cloud providers and vendors should take an application-centric view of the cloud. 

What do you think?

More Stories By Dustin Amrhein

Dustin Amrhein joined IBM as a member of the development team for WebSphere Application Server. While in that position, he worked on the development of Web services infrastructure and Web services programming models. In his current role, Dustin is a technical specialist for cloud, mobile, and data grid technology in IBM's WebSphere portfolio. He blogs at You can follow him on Twitter at

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