Friday, January 09, 2009

Amazon Web Services (AWS) web based console. The economy and IT.

Amazon just released a very slick AJAX based console that provides a GUI environment for managing Instances and AMIs, and performing other admin tasks. I found the existing command line AWS admin utilities to be very nice to use but I will spend more time trying out the web based console the next time that I have a task using AWS.

With the world wide economy in a long term slump it becomes even more important to get good value from IT spending. For small and medium size companies I think that using "cloud" services will be part of the "new frugality" although large scale server farms will always provide better value when economy of scale makes large support and infrastructure development teams make sense cost-wise. While many of us will favor commercial development tools I have a hard time imagining a future where open source infrastructure software does not dominate commercial products. Amazon does provide startup AMIs containing Windows Server and I am not arguing that Windows Server is going away. I just think that any production software that requires runtime license fees will face a more difficult fight for business in the future.

Another part of the "new frugality" is the use of scripting languages for the (probable) majority of projects where best runtime performance is not an issue, but development costs are an issue. I am writing a "Web 3.0" book for APress right now that uses Ruby as the main implementation language - as much as I enjoy using Java technologies, I have to say that the book would be twice as long and the examples much more difficult to implement in Java.

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