The age of Core Cloud Computing is over

Amazon coined the term "Cloud Computing" back in 2006. The term "Cloud Computing" really meant "a way to treat computers just like any other utility". The idea was that Amazon really understands how to manage physical hardware, so the average developer shouldn't have to. Cloud Computing was born, and eventually expanded into other "Cloud Services", simple, common services that developers would need in order to build any basic application.

Cloud Computing today has expanded to mean just about anything, there are multiple types of Cloud Services including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and other offerings in between (some also insist that Software as a Service (SaaS) is a type of Cloud, but really that's been around much longer then the term Cloud).

A Cloud Service really is a building block to help you develop your application. There are only three types of Core Cloud Services on which every other service is built:

  1. Compute - (EC2 "Instances", which replaced "Servers")
  2. Storage - (S3, EBS, which replaced Hard Drives and File Storage solutions)
  3. Network - (ELB, VPC, etc, which replaced Routers, switches, and networking gear)
Every other Cloud Service is built from a combination of these three services. They are the basic fundamental building blocks of all applications and services on which you can build anything. Some may even argue that Storage and Network are just specialized versions of Compute, but we won't go down that far of a rabbit hole.

Lets take a look at RDS for example, RDS is basically a specialized Compute instance with Storage and Network built in to serve up a specific application (An SQL database). Before RDS you could still run an SQL database on the cloud, it was just more complex to do it yourself and the initial investment of time was much greater. Amazon saw the amount of people doing this same basic task and decided to make a top-level service that was built on the three building blocks to make that one task more simple.

The most significant new service to come out recently was Amazon Device Farm, which is actually a specialized version of Compute. It's still a Compute service, but instead of being built on traditional server hardware, it's built on top of Mobile devices to help you test your code on a different type of hardware. This is the only Core Service that Amazon developed this year, and they've released many new services in 2015.

What does this mean for Cloud Computing going forward?

The age of building Core Services is over. The focus now is on making it way easier for developers to produce new products. Even beyond that, the amount of top-level resources is so high that the focus for developers now should be on building services for non-developers. Up until very recently, many services developers would make came out of necessity to make other developer's lives easier, either by monitoring applications, or by providing one small building block to a larger application. Those days are coming to a close very quickly as the Cloud Computing providers are starting to integrate those types of offerings right into their platforms.

If you're building applications in the Cloud today, don't start by designing something new for other Developers, start with designing something that the average person could use.


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