Look for software development environments to make accommodations for cloud deployments, a Sun Microsystems official said on Thursday.
During the Cloud Connect event in Mountain View, Calif., Lew Tucker, Sun vice president and CTO for cloud computing, spoke of a button, of sorts, for deploying applications to the cloud. "I think that we'll see the IDEs [Integrated Development Environments], the tools that developers use today will start to accommodate the capabilities of even building and deploying applications out into a cloud service provider," Tucker said.
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Just as an IDE can deploy to an Apache Web server, IDEs can evolve to back cloud deployments, meaning it would be spinning up a new instance in that cloud. Tucker said he anticipates a variety of tools coming up to accommodate the cloud, but added Sun has not announced any such plans for the NetBeans IDE.
Cloud computing, Tucker said, has become a natural evolution from client-server to the Internet to the cloud. But he acknowledged that moving legacy applications to the cloud remains an issue, particularly data ownership and privacy. "The enterprise by and large has real hard, fast policies around confidential information and protecting that information, archiving, that has kept that information trapped behind the firewall. And so moving apps into the cloud, whereby company confidential information is moving out into the cloud, the enterprise has real issues with that," Tucker said.
He anticipates cloud providers will respond by providing appropriate levels of security and auditing. But IT departments like to know where their data is, who has access to it, and how that data is protected, Tucker said.
Enterprises could have a cloud model move behind the firewall, offering infrastructure as a service to internal customers and get advantages in scalability and cost, said Tucker said.
Sun, he said, has not made any announcement about becoming a cloud provider itself but said the company will be involved in public and private clouds. The company has had a grid computing platform, Network.com. Grid has been geared toward such applications as high-performance computing and batch jobs, Tucker said. Cloud environments are for more general purpose and Web-scale applications, he said.
Also playing into the cloud space is virtualization, Tucker noted. Virtualization had started out as a way for enterprises to do server consolidation, he said.
"Now, we’re seeing virtualization being used and cloud service providers as a way to take applications and move them into the cloud," he said. An OS and LAMP stack can be moved entirely as a virtual machine in the cloud, Tucker said.
Tucker also said he expects clouds for different types of applications, including games.
Sun, meanwhile, has maintained its Project Caroline platform-as-a-service platform as a research project, providing a set of tools for use in the cloud. The project revolves around the notion of a framework of sorts for developing scalable applications.