Committing to the Cloud

When I teach Learning Tree’s Introduction to Cloud Computing course I often get questions about how components from different public cloud vendors can be used together in an integrated application. The answer, of course, is: “it all depends on the application.” Here I would like to give a more comprehensive response than that.

This will be the first of a series of blog posts that will explore that question in some detail. I will go through the process of building a real-world application using services from Microsoft, Amazon and Google. Further, I will do all development and testing in the cloud. Dev/Test is often a good use case for organizations wishing to get started in the cloud. I will use a very minimal local machine which will allow me simply to connect to cloud resources using only RDP, SSH and HTTP.

My application will be designed using an n-tier architecture. There will be, at a minimum, a tier for storage, business logic and presentation. Since I am attempting to illustrate interoperability between cloud vendors it may make some sense to host components for each of the architectural tiers with different providers. So, somewhat arbitrarily, I will choose to host the storage on Amazon Web Services (exact service to be defined later), the business logic on Azure (so I can program in C# J) and the presentation on Google App Engine (since it is very cost-effective).

Follow along over the next few weeks. We will go from square zero to a fully functional, interoperable web application that uses services from the “Big 3” public cloud providers. We will provision our development, testing and deployment environments from a lightweight client (tablet PC). All the while we will track cloud costs and development time.

This should be fun!

Kevin Kell

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