"Everyone's talking about "the cloud" these days. Walk
around the floor of a tech conference or hang out with anyone
making a paycheck from programming, and you'll quickly be inundated
by terms like "cloud computing" and "Google App Engine" and
"Amazon's hosted applications."
"Let's assume you've figured out what cloud computing is (there
are plenty of great articles to help you do just that in the
Resources section of this piece). If cloud computing was ultimately
about a programming language, basic understanding would lead you to
actual coding. For example, once you understand Java™ object
fundamentals, you can dig in and learn much of what else you need
to know as you go.
"But cloud computing isn't a language. Really, it's a paradigm.
And even if you understand that cloud computing is about all of
your services running on, and being hosted by, remote servers on
the Internet, you've still got a lot of decisions to make before
you can code anything. First and foremost, what platform will you
choose for your cloud computing needs?
"There's Amazon's offering; there's Google; there's a Microsoft
offering; there are a few one-offs like AppNexus and GoGrid... and
they're not all equivalent! In other words, you're not able to just
compare apples with apples. In fact, trying to sort through the
various feature sets is like navigating a very large, very
confusing, maze. With some very careful treatment, though, it's
possible to still make a decision based on what your particular app