Revolutionary changes in technology are typically marked by a turning point and, for software providers operating in the cloud, the most recent turning point can be determined by a simple question — is the operating system still a factor in software development?
Cloud technology has been around for just over 20 years. It’s earliest business use was to host websites and to serve as a data center where companies could safely keep their servers. This allowed organizations the benefits of a data center without the expense of deploying and managing one themselves.
Location was an important factor as well in the early days. The early data center operators not only provided data center floor space and server cabinets, but they also set up their facilities where fiber optic lines offered high-capacity bandwidth. Each data center was constructed with a stable power supply that included backup generators and backups for the backup.
Cloud providers quickly realized they could also offer additional value by managing the servers on behalf of their customers and not just providing server rack cabinets. Managing servers meant they handled set up for new servers, system upgrades and updates, and kept servers running 24/7/365 with strict service level agreements (SLAs). While this additional service added convenience and reduced the need for as many in-house IT staff, it was still all about hosting servers.
As cloud technologies progressed, more capabilities were added creating the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry. Salesforce.com was one of the early SaaS pioneers. SaaS made software available without needing to install it on local servers or desktops, but instead, distributed from the cloud. Soon, more SaaS providers entered the marketplace in every industry such as, marketing, accounting, logistics, etc.
Moving the cloud concept from server-based to services-based marking a major turning point in cloud computing.
The service aspect of the cloud continued to grow as part of a natural evolution. Developers found that their software used many common components with other software. Some of these components could be purchased as reusable objects and others were incorporated into the operating system, such as print functionality. Cloud providers realized they could offer these components or services as well. This was the beginning of a significant shift into today’s modern cloud.
During this time, Amazon was perfecting its e-commerce infrastructure strategy and knew it had developed a service that many other companies could benefit from using. This is when they moved away from operating only as shopping site and into IT and software services. They created a whole new company, Amazon Web Services (AWS), selling their e-commerce infrastructure footprint as services to companies that desired an online retail presence. Seeing immediate success by offering their cloud infrastructure as a service, AWS ran further and faster into the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) segment giving them a huge head start over the competition. This has led to their substantial lead over Azure and Google Cloud they enjoy today. Five years ago AWS only had about 30–40 services. Now they offer over 150 and continue adding more.
The cloud today is not the same cloud as it was 20 years ago or even 10 years ago. With modern cloud services, it no longer matters which OS is powering applications. Instead, modern software providers now talk about whether their applications run on AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure. The question is no longer whether they need to develop for a Windows/.NET or Linux system, but whether they need to know the operating system at all. This is where the cloud becomes purely service-oriented.
As these cloud services evolve and improve, the software providers that leverage them will continually use less and less code and get increasingly more computing power. We’re not talking about a marginal 10% improvement, but a massive 10x gain, which is why this is a revolutionary transformation of technology.
At Qrvey, we leverage services available from AWS to create our own microservices to offer SaaS providers embedded analytics built specifically for their needs. This enables them to extend their own products with the additional functionality their customers demand. It’s a modern, cloud-native platform that leverages leading-edge cloud services. And, not once, do we talk about server specs or operating systems.