For the past few years, tech vendors have been trying to peddle cloud computing as the next big frontier in the constantly evolving tech market. However, cloud is still showing the typical one step forward, two steps back kind of movement.
With the objective to promote the cloud services market, Cloud9 IDE is providing a complete cloud-based development environment for an army of software developers who can create an array of apps for the worldwide users.
But is cloud going in the right direction at the right pace or are there still some roadblocks in its acceptance by the market? How will Cloud9 IDE help developers? These are among the key issues that RMN Digital managing editor, Rakesh Raman, discussed with Ruben Daniels, CEO and co-founder of Cloud9 IDE in an exclusive interview, which is given below:
1. Is cloud technology ready for commercialization or is it still in its infancy?
Yes, some of the cloud technologies are ready for commercialization. Having said that, there is a lot of space for growth. Cloud technologies allow for freedom and flexibility in usage of resources and their cost. The freedom to scale up and down when needed. For basic infrastructure (IaaS or Infrastructure as a Service), this problem has been mostly solved.
The software layer on top of the infrastructure, sometimes referred to as PaaS (Platform as a Service) is a very diverse and more complex beast. Any part of applications from the database to logging and messaging to monitoring can be offered as a service. Each of these new services is searching to find a market between the cost and risk of integrating the technologies in-house, or buying an already working and scalable solution in the cloud.
The PaaS space is under heavy development and there is much more growth to be expected from it. To truly build on the cloud, developers need new tools and new ways to interact. We see a new cloud layer that complements the PaaS space with tools and integrations with PaaS services. This cloud Integrated Development Environment (IDE) space is a hybrid between a development PaaS and SaaS (Software as a Service) for software development. The technologies for this space have just reached the point where it is ready for commercial use.
2. What are the avenues for professional developers to leverage cloud and create lucrative businesses using cloud platforms?
I believe that any developer that is starting a new project should use the cloud. The ability to scale when needed and have most (if not all) operational tasks outsourced are great benefits. It allows professional developers to focus on creating the application itself.
This means that the time to market for any idea can be tremendously minimized. A direct consequence of this is that apps can be created with lower cost and more time to iterate on the app itself. That, in turn, can result in the faster and higher adoption of your app.
3. What’s the USP (unique selling proposition) of Cloud9 IDE for developers’ community?
Cloud9 IDE offers a way to very easily get started with coding. You log in with your github or bitbucket credentials, and with two more clicks you are editing your code in an online workspace that we provide. Developers don’t need to install their runtime, IDE, nor their database or anything else. It’s all there behind a URL. Yet, this is just the start.
Once you’re developing on Cloud9 IDE, you can share your workspace with others by simply sending them the URL of your workspace. Give the invitee read-write rights and you can edit code at the same time, see each other’s selections and chat. Many developers are working together with other developers that are remote. By using Cloud9 IDE they are able to truly work together on code as if they were in the same room, but better, because now they can type at the same time.
This is great for problem-solving issues, knowledge sharing and even pair programming or code reviewing. The exciting thing is that it’s not just the code that is shared, but also the actual runtime environment. So, if I have a bug that I can only reproduce on my system, I can ask the maintainer of that feature to come, look on my system, no matter where this person is in the world, to see it and help resolve it.
Cloud9 IDE fills the space between repository hosting (e.g. GitHub) and app hosting (e.g. Heroku). Developers can now fully work in the cloud, from any computer, anywhere in the world and work on their code and with one-click on the button deploy their app to a growing number of PaaS providers. There is no need to install software development kits (SDKs) or configure your app to get deployed onto the cloud when using Cloud9 IDE.
4. Are cloud-based services more relevant for individual consumers or for enterprise users?
Consumers are influenced by the proliferation of SaaS services, the top layer of the cloud offerings. SaaS services usually build on top of one or more PaaS and IaaS services. Services like DropBox, Evernote and Spotify are great examples of how the digital lives of consumers are moving from their local machines into the cloud. For any type of content, the benefits are roughly the same; users can access their content from anywhere and any device, they always have a backup and it’s very easy to share their content with others.
Enterprises are not only users of apps, but the developers of these apps as well. There is a big trend going on right now that is dubbed ‘the consumerization of the enterprise’. What’s interesting is that this trend might actually cause large enterprises to become more innovative. This is where the cloud can play a big role in helping enterprises stay current. The flexibility that the cloud offers is great for developing new services catered to a large group of enterprise users. The benefits are the same as those that draw startups to the cloud; flexibility in scaling up their apps and with a cloud IDE developers have a care-free environment where they can only focus on their code.
5. What advantages does the cloud offer for enterprise users – particularly small and medium businesses (SMBs)?
The cloud makes it very easy for SMBs to build apps that start out small and then scale up when needed. You only pay for those resources that you use, and if you build an app using a cloud IDE you don’t have to worry about installing and configuring anything.
So the cloud lowers the total cost of an app. That means that it is much easier to create apps and iterate on them or discard them if they fail. With the world growing exponentially more dependant on apps while the total number of developers is growing linearly, the cloud and cloud IDEs in particular can help overcome the inevitable scarcity in developers.
6. Are there some bottlenecks in cloud adoption by corporate users? If yes, which are those and how can they be overcome?
Corporations generally care more about privacy and security of clouds than any other user. These concerns are all addressable with technologies that provide solutions like virtual private networks (VPNs) or private clouds under full control by the enterprise themselves. We see a good uptake by corporations of Cloud 9 IDE and it seems that even for data as sensitive as source code, corporations feel the cloud provides enough security to adopt it.
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Ruben Daniels (pictured above) is the CEO and co-founder of Cloud9 IDE, a leading cloud-based Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that enables web and mobile developers to work together and collaborate in remote teams anywhere, anytime. Ruben started his first company at 14 and has owned and sold multiple businesses since that time. Heavily influenced by his experiences with Visual Basic in the 90s, Ruben combines trends in cloud, apps, social media and mobile into Cloud9 IDE to change the way web applications are built.
This interview is published under the RMN Digital’s “Thought Leaders” series in which top tech market leaders of the world express their views on different burning issues and market trends.