Progress Software: the "invisible" cloud is the "performant" cloud

Boston-headquartered Progress Software has been going through various reincarnations of itself since the 1980s during which time it has variously been known as a business application infrastructure software company, a data integration specialist and (if the company’s marketing machine pulls it off) a competent player in the new arena of cloud computing.

As hugely sceptical of cloudwashing and the current trend to position “just about anything”-as-a-Service down some level of Internet pipe connectivity as we should rightly remain, the company’s senior architect for SaaS and cloud computing strategy Mike Omerod has recently spoken of the need to diffuse talk of different cloud architectures and focus on what data really needs in order to be “computed” properly.

Public Cloud, Private Cloud or Hybrid Cloud?

Omerod says that although we have these current structural options to choose from in terms of virtualised hosted cloud services, all that really matters is that an application is available to the right set of users in the most “performant” way possible.

Editorial note: Is performant an Americanism derived as some soft or portmanteau out of ‘performance’ and ‘conformant’? OK, I guess we know what he means.

Omerod says that with this determined focus on performant-ness (is that a word either?) we can move to a point where we view the cloud as a more transparent entity.

“In a perfect world, I shouldn’t need to care about a physical implementation, or about whether or not it’s a public or private implementation. When all’s said and done, I simply want to be able to provide governance parameters around the use of my application and let the platform make the decisions about the optimum way to then serve up my app,” said Omerod.

Here’s the concept once again…

SCENARIO #1 — Imagine setting governance parameters around the sensitivity of an application’s data and having the platform determine that in the instance of highly sensitive data — the app should run in a private cloud.

SCENARIO #2 — If a key metric is “low latency performance” for users in a particular geographic region, again the platform should then determine to run the app in a data centre closest to users and this could possibly be public or private.

SCENARIO #3 — Imagine a scenario where the platform is frequently checking the usage rates for various different public cloud vendors and “seamlessly moving the application” to the lowest rate provider, again based upon my specified criteria. This is, in real terms, Omerod’s “invisible cloud” in motion.

“We may be a little way away from being able to achieve this, but I believe that the future of cloud will be the ‘transparent cloud’, where I can focus on building the best business applications driving the best business value rather than having to worry about the whole public/private/hybrid cloud debate, or being locked into a particular cloud vendor that may at some future time not meet my requirements,” said Omerod.

If Progress’ cloud evangelist being too fanciful here?

Do we need to be conceptualising and theorising around the practical real-world use cases of cloud computing in this way still, in 2012.

The short answer is yes, or you wouldn’t have read this far, right?