After a hiatus, I am going to touch the “PaaS Is The Future Of Cloud Services” series again. When I wrote the post on Rightscale’s support for Windows, I linked to the Rightscale blog post where they had highlighted the difficulties with Windows instances. Picking up on the Rightscale post, William Vambenepe, a cloud pundit, argued that Microsoft should focus on PaaS instead of IaaS. He even compared it to countries like Singapore where they overcame the lack of natural resources with business innovation.
From ancient Mesopotamia to, more recently, Holland, Switzerland, Japan, Singapore and Korea, the success of many societies has been in part credited to their lack of natural resources. The theory being that it motivated them to rely on human capital, commerce and innovation rather than resource extraction. This approach eventually put them ahead of their better-endowed neighbors.A similar dynamic may well propel Microsoft ahead in PaaS (Platform as a Service): IaaS with Windows is so painful that it may force Microsoft to focus on PaaS. The motivation is strong to “go up the stack” that the alternative is to cultivate the arid land of Windows-based IaaS.
Our online lives are full of metaphor. Our files live in folders and trashcans. Our inboxes are full of messages we’re carbon copied on. Even the ubiquitous QWERTY keyboard was designed to make mechanical typewriters jam less often, rather than for typing efficiency.Metaphors help us to understand and adopt new things. They’re a bridge between the familiar and the strange.
So while much of cloud computing’s success today comes from the simple metaphors we’ve used to describe it, we have to avoid being trapped by those metaphors. EC2 is not AWS; clouds are not machines. It’s the surrounding ecosystem that matters, and we ignore it at our peril