When I hear people talk about the "cloud" I often find that I have a different view of what "cloud" means. What is a cloud? How is it structured? There are all sorts of definitions, but in my mind I have thought of the cloud as a service I can use, just as I use the web. My browser works with any kind of hardware, and software, as long as it handles the http spec.
In my mind, that's what I expect with a cloud database service. It conforms to what I expect in a SQL Server database, allowing me to deploy my data and objects, and expecting that I don't need to worry about a database name, or configuring Windows logins, or even worrying about scaling up from 4 to 8 CPUs. I'd expect that the cloud would handle this fairly invisibly.
There's an acronym called PAAS, which is Platform as a Service, and it's analogous to SAAS (Software as a service) and IAAS (infrastructure as a service). The idea is that an application platform exists in the cloud and you essentially upload your code, allowing the provisioning, scaling, and other details to be handled by the platform is interesting. This article talks about PASS solving lots of developers' problems, but I think it' s a little premature to think that this is the best solution for many types of businesses.
I do hope that we find a way to smooth the deployment and access for our applications and services for both companies and consumers. It does feel that we spend a lot of time covering up for the inefficiencies in our entire application development and deployment life cycle. The cloud has some promise here, but it has to be more than a Windows host that runs on someone else's hardware. It has to truly handle much of the complexity and abstract us away from those details, in a secure, safe way.
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