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Robert Scoble
Talking with Niall Kennedy today he noted that because of cloud computing every programmer will know how much their code costs. Implications:
1. Programmers will be incented to remove processor time from their programs. - Robert Scoble
2. New tools (sorta like Visual Studio) will evolve that will tell the programmer the cost per server DLL or compiled bundle. Imagine a tool that, after you compiled your code, would say "with 100,000 users this code will cost you $497 of Rackspace time, $535 of Amazon EC2 time, $524 of GoGrid time." - Robert Scoble
More economic incentive to hire good programmers! - Dean Clark
And with EzChip and Netlogic those apps will run faster than desktop apps! here we go into the future! - Stephen Pickering
3. Employers will hire people who can write more efficent code, because it'll be in their best interests to do so. This is a huge change from today, where programmers are incented to "get it done" and not care so much about processor time. - Robert Scoble
1a. Not really - developers will continue developing. This item refers to folks who make deployment decisions. - iTad
Stephen and Dean: exactly! - Robert Scoble
Process control and synchronization will become more important than load balancing. - Brian Roy
2a. This in turn will cause fierce competition and will lower prices. - iTad
Your second point is very interesting indeed. For subscription based services you can really pin-point cost vs. price and adjust dynamically/automatically when the code changes (especially in a cost +) scenario. - Christopher
as far as web based stuff goes a more immediate realization is the bandwidth costs associated w/ images and other static file downloads. web guys n gals are now paying attention to client side caching, gzipping and all that good stuff that reduces bandwidth and overall # of http requests - Arin
Tad: I disagree. Because EC2 and other cloud systems will charge for processor time (and other systems will charge for bandwidth amount) employers will start putting much more pressure on programmers to remove those costs from their code. - Robert Scoble
3a. I'll believe it when I see it. Even when shown all of the advantages of agile and test driven development most CTOs continue to view it with scorn. As long as non-technical managers are driving the bus there will never be enough focus on quality of code. - iTad
Niall was also saying that programmers will choose between available code (Wordpress plugins, for instance) based on how much processor time they take. Word will get around that XYZ plugin does basically the same thing as ABC plugin but does it in 20% less processor time, which will reduce cost. - Robert Scoble
Tad: when the CTO is seeing the credit card statement from cloud computing every month they'll start looking into it. They might be lazy, but if the tools present cost per component these things will change, and change quickly. Especially if the economy remains as crappy as it is today. - Robert Scoble
It'll still be a race to see who can put what out the first. Regardless of cost or quality, many time the guy first out of the gate wins. As long as you're first you can always go back and fix things later... Or so most of the development managers I've known seem to think. - iTad
I think there may be a large amount of work going into profiling and optimizing frameworks/apps, but most developers won't worry about "processor" time. We'll write the code and then there'll be a bigger emphasis on clearing up bottlenecks, etc. Biggest change might just be in best practices. - iTad
Let me clarify - the biggest single waste of processing cycles is processes running with nothing to do. Being able to dynamically allocate and retire "processing units" by controlling which processes are running when and were is the 80%. Code optimization is the 20%. No argument it will become an issue, but really efficient code idling is a far bigger waste than code with 4% wasted processor time. - Brian Roy
++ Brian - iTad
Virtualization will get more attention with cloud computing models in the future. Virtualization will enable organizations to create virtual instances designed to dynamically isolate processes and services so systems can inter-operate with minimal impacts when 1 process hangs or gets saturated. This way we can shape our systems to align hardware, code and processes to optimal fit - Susan Beebe
I had a post on this a while back Cloud Programming Directly Feeds Cost Allocation Back into Software Design ( The optimizations will be different for different clouds. For Amazon the goal is drive load to the CPU ( Other clouds will no doubt favor other optimizations. - Todd Hoff
Right Susan. I've also read that virtualization in the cloud will also make services much more robust because if one data center or even service provider (ex. EC2) bites the dust, it'll be possible to relatively seamlessly switch to another. Virtualization on the cloud is very exciting. - iTad
Toddh - great point. I assumed an on/off virtual CPU like Amazon - which would mean the goal is high CPU utilization. If the model is % load based or how much CPU you actually use the model is very different. - Brian Roy
Tad I think you're right and those coming out of the universities need to start listening to their Instructors ( I was an Instructor) on taking the time for best practices. Most coder wannabes at least in the U I taught at wanted to "get in and get er done". Very impatient. - Melanie Reed
... and they can come to learn what impact they are having on the state of the climate - and the planet as a whole - James Pearce
This is really nothing new -- mainframe developers could also have a sense of how much their code cost. - Michael Lee
I wonder if it would provide incentives to tier access to CPU heavy functionalities when the load starts to scale up. With few users, you want to attract users, so you offer everything you have, but as you get more users, to make sure that you can manage your cost increase, you need the additional users to be more CPU efficient, so maybe you will not let them access the more CPU hungry functionalities... - Antoine Bertier
+1 Michael, in fact it goes back to time sharing days.... - Antoine Bertier
Cloud computing is time-sharing or load sharing, or load balancing. We haven't thought about it enough as a concept. See Brad Templeton's talk at #BIL - Francine Hardaway from twhirl
Michael: one difference, though. Lots of programmer friends of mine have Cloud Computing accounts at Amazon, Gogrid, or Rackspace and are writing and uploading code there. I was just at Gogrid and got a demo and their cost report is in your face. You know exactly how much is being charged to your credit cards. Back in the mainframe days the costs of those things were so high only the biggest corporations could afford them and no one had credit cards back then. The feedback loop is much faster. - Robert Scoble
software development / programming cost depends on cost of communication, it's 80/20 not aiming at the 2nd performance or energy percentile. though, tuning specialization could emerge due to selling to the uninformed - without ever breaking even... - wolf hesse
I finally posted more detailed thoughts on the current cloud computing landscape and ways we might measure code efficiency and cost in the future. - Niall Kennedy
programmers and arch designers that can produce results that have a high perceived value and a low resource use (cpu, bandwidth, storage) will be rewarded. this may not result in better experiences for the user, tho. - MikeAmundsen
Its not because of cloud computing, its because of a recent trend in accountability. But I like your point, Scoble. - Aaron deMello
For business applications, MVC-like platforms (JBoss, CakePHP, RoR) will win in the end with cloud computing. Since they support pattern expansion they are very efficient, the prerequisite for cloud computing. The programmers themselves don't matter that much in this case, analysts and architects do however. On the contrary, writing computational intensive code (e.g. C++) will require the BEST people. Those who know their algorithms will thrive. - Kris
Basically it comes down to this: machines should work; people should think. Something that IBM has called the Pollyanna principle. - Kris
I agree with Robert in that CTO's might start thinking differently when they get that bill every month from Rackspace (or whoever), but in a grand scheme of things I don't think anything will be "really" done about programmers code and the processing power that it uses. If that was really the case, we'd all start programming in C again... or even Assembly! - Daniel Marashlian
i suspect that providers will learn that CTOs are looking to shave costs. as a counter-measure, providers will sell 'blocks' of CPU/Bandwidth/Storage ala fixed cell phone plans. they'll capture the 'monthly remainder' as extra profit. some will offer 'roll-overs' to soothe CTOs. the ones that offer totally metered pricing will be shouted down by the FUD of 'runaway' monthly costs touted by the packagers. oh yeah, the pkg price magically matches the cost of your own hardwr/maint costs.CTOs will like that - MikeAmundsen
Business and marketing is always going to drive development, that's why 80% of software is never released. Even if it is released, functionality is always going to be #1 on the priority list. Testing, Bugs, UI, and especially performance are always last on the list. That's why a formal education in Computer Science is going to be more critical then ever in the years to come. All of those secondary pieces in the software development cycle need to be woven into the developers DNA. - Daniel Marashlian
This really is full circle to the 70's and 80's again. One problem that I can see impacting on how competative the space could be is with the ease on how people can simply move supplier. If you have a service that involves data creation and handling (your customer CRM for example), how easy would it be to port that data across to a competing cloud based service for whatever reason (costs, disagreements, change in business)? I know what's involved on the inhouse side and would be similar in many respects. - alphaxion
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