How IT can learn to stop worrying and love the cloud

PaaS speeds dev times and lowers risk for new apps -- so why does so much IT bureaucracy stand in the way?

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Defeating the legions of the Bastard Operator from Hell
I like getting Sacha's goat. It has something to do with his thick Swiss accent and tendency to be politically correct. I asked Sacha how developers can help drive cloud adoption and defeat the evil forces of the Bastard Operator from Hell.

"I think the first thing to do is to just give it a try. I'm surprised and amazed at how many people have an opinion on this without even trying it. They're like the best conspiracy theorists out there, right? 'I'm sure you can't do that' -- why not just give it a try? Also, maybe this is a European behavior, but I see a lot of people trying to take a horribly sophisticated project. 'OK, to make sure it works, I'm going to take a project with that type of database, with that type of high-level requirements, that piggybacks...'

"Forget it. Take a basic application, no corner case, no sophistication, and give it a try -- because the most important thing is to get up to speed. You need to learn. So don't muddle that experience with some corner case. Those will be obvious to solve once you get past the initial hurdle. Take an easy project and get started."

Then, says Sacha, if your policy permits, take a real project, push it to production (or pre-production) on a PaaS, and try it there. "What you want to do is to get back to IT with factual information about how this is a good option. You don't want to have a theoretical discussion with IT as to whether it is a good option or a bad option. You're gonna lose in that case."

Nothing succeeds like success. For example, if you can create a project and push it to production with complete test coverage in under a month, IT is going to like that. "That's where you need to turn the tables," says Sacha. "Then you say: 'I'd like you to give me a competitive offering where I can get started on the project in under a day. I want to be able to go to production without having to talk to you guys, I want to be able to push an iteration by some set date. I don't want to pre-pay for my machine, because maybe the project will turn out to be a bad idea.'"

According to Sacha, as developers work in the cloud, grow their expertise, and get what they need, they'll be its staunchest defenders. Eventually, core IT itself will start defending the use of PaaS.

In the near term, a lot of PaaS will be adopted through the usual channels, such as sneaking in via shadow IT projects. Only the best-run companies will come to terms with shadow IT and formalize it as fast IT and control it with core IT. As for the rest, well, as a consultant, I make a lot of money on server stack buildouts.

This article, "How IT can learn to stop worrying and love the cloud," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Keep up on the latest developments in application development and read more of Andrew Oliver's Strategic Developer blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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