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Choice of Cloud Platform



[Ongoing series of blog posts to inform potential developers, users and (hopefully investors) about this new app ecosystem I am architecting, designing, developing and deploying. More details at this page]

The app ecosystem has many components but it can be broken down into two essential parts. There are the user apps (all types of users) and the API engine (which also includes the data storage system). The user apps live on the web, android and iOS. The API engine and the data storage system live on the cloud.

For almost a decade now, we have been hearing about this cloud. We hearing about it so much, sometimes, it’s almost funny to talk about it. However, the cloud is very real, and it really does make life simpler. For a developer, the cloud technology is a god send. It reduces costs, allows new features to become immediately available and mostly makes life better for end users as a consequence. It is only obvious that my app ecosystem runs all its processing in the cloud.

For cloud, I can only think of two choices – Azure and Amazon Web Services. I understand that Google also provides cloud services, and there are a lot of many smaller companies that provide cloud services. It is also possible to utilize cloud software to build our cloud services.

For those who are unclear about this concept of cloud, I will put a simple definition here. Cloud is about a service that can be scaled up and down as per requirements. Almost instantly. That is the cloud. For instance, I am running a server on a VM and I realize that I need additional 16 GB of RAM instantly. With a conventional VM, I will have to go through a series of steps and wait till it gets provisioned. This is just for RAM increase. What if I only needed the processing power increase for one day (perhaps I was launching some huge sale which only lasts one day) and no more. What if I wanted a bigger hard drive for a week only. Or perhaps, I don’t know what I need, and I wish to increase or decrease or perhaps I just wish to experiment and find the ideal combination. All this will lead to a flexible solution that will allow reduction of cost.

In a non-cloud scenario, there are people who have to do things manually. I am all for working with people (one cannot get anything done without people) but sometimes, they can be a hindrance rather than help. It is in human nature to make mistakes. That is why, when possible, we use machines. Cloud removes that human factor almost entirely. Without going through the IT team (or not have an IT team at all) I can provision stuff that are required to allow my service to work.

Now that I have discussed what the cloud is, time to decide the choice of cloud provider. For extremely obvious reasons, I will go with Microsoft, with the only alternative I would recommend being Amazon Web Services. Compared to Amazon, Microsoft services are expensive, and they have reduced trial periods. For instance, Microsoft is generous enough to give a month or at most 3 months of trial services. Amazon though, can give a year worth of free services in some cases. Clearly Microsoft is expensive.

However, for one thing, I have been using Azure for almost 5 years now and so far, it has not disappointed me. Their service is excellent, and Azure keeps getting better with new services being added constantly. They met my needs 5 years ago, and I am sure they will meet all my IT needs for years to come. It is possible I am a little biased here, but I am yet to come across a simple reason (other than low price, which is not really a priority for me) why I must explore Amazon Web Services, or some other cloud service.

So yes, the app ecosystem Project TD will be powered by Azure cloud.

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