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Cloud Computing Secret Development Effort Going On at Your Company Right Now

SaaS Update: Traditional Application Development Frameworks vs Domain-Specific Frameworks

The Dev2Ops Blog

Talk to any seasoned application developer who's about to embark on a new web application project and you can bet on the following: they have decided on or have narrowed down their choice on an application development framework. The use of some kind of framework is taken for granted. Why do application developers rely on and use frameworks? Because frameworks provide the necessary scaffolding that allows the developer to focus on just the business logic.

Talk to engineers and administrators that manage the online service of a SaaS or eCommerce business, and you see quite a different picture. Indeed, you'll even find a different set of assumptions. This group, the one that keeps the service running, writes and uses custom scripts and tools to get their job done. This "stuff" is software, and it is crucial for keeping the business online. Unfortunately, this software is almost always invisible to the business owners. And, you can also bet on the following: there isn't a framework, and there IS a whole lot of scaffolding being reinvented.

When I say framework, I'm not referring to EMS frameworks, the ones that include agents on each host for monitoring and (ahem) "management". What I'm talking about here are the scripts the engineers and administrators write, to automate the online service operations. These are done without an underlying framework. This body of management scripts ultimately boils down to business logic, the logic that governs the delivery of the service operation.

For those that may not be aware of or don't have first hand experience in the SaaS or eCommerce world, it turns out there really are two software development efforts going on. First, there is the software effort everybody knows about - the one the business and product owners focus on - making the software enabling the business model. Second, there is the effort producing all the stuff that enables the delivery of the business, in the form of an always-on online service. This software lets the operations team keep the service updated, maintained and available. Unfortunately, this second body of software is often taken for granted, seems to occur behind the scenes and is almost never subject to the same attention and rigors as the business model software.

More Stories By Alex Honor

Alex Honor is co-founders and a committer of the CTL and ControlTier open source software projects that provide a comprehensive application service provisioning platform.

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Most Recent Comments
S. Sunil 07/17/08 05:49:42 PM EDT

@Eric

Don't ask or you might get an answer ;)

Eric Scotts 07/17/08 05:38:32 PM EDT

Spot on. Has anyone studied the amount of money that is drained off into these efforts? It must be massive as a whole.

Tristram Wright 07/09/08 03:48:58 PM EDT

Excellent article!