Weather Report: It's Anyone's Guess

Opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of MRD.

If you've been following cloud technology, you'd most likely understand the title of this article well and while sighing... tell me about it.

My last article ( was about the case of a particular type contributing to the pervasive uncertainty in cloud technologies right now. If not read, the short of it was ClusterHQ, a seemingly viable company with good cloud technology and talent, decided to shut down. BTW, further comments from ClusterHQ and/or staff seem to have not appeared anywhere on the Internet. This article, however, is a macro-look at a larger matter in the industry as a whole.

On the face of it, there seems to be 2 types of uncertainties with cloud; each of which evoking their own set of concerns.

  1. Too Many Technologies
    Indeed... every time you turn around there's more cloud technologies to track on the radar. And seemingly, additions in ever increasing numbers. This may seem great. After all, choice is good right? Yes, but there's a point when there's too many. The more there are, the more likely there's overlap amongst them, which itself is more likely to increase in size. Making a sound business choice simply becomes paralysingly too unclear. It would be OK if an entrant were a totally new tech layer in the cloud stack, but they usually aren't. And even if so, like the case of ClusterHQ, another would likely include such features or services in their own sometime, which architecturally, yet unlikely, could be just as good a place (e.g. orchestrating state in containerization). Too many can also fragment communities and resources, resulting in many mediocre, rather than a few extremely useable choices.

  2. Company, Community, or Foundation Support May Not Last

This is a major concern if the technology is proprietary and the source code is not put in escrow for such an event. Most aren't these days though, but rather open source. In which case, you've got the code and all is fine, right? Well... maybe not. Just as important in some cases, is the ongoing support for a technology. There may be changes to dependent APIs and an adopter may not have enough development resources to keep up such maintenance. That would be one SOL adopter.

What is a decision-making technologist to do? The operative modifier earlier in this article was "right now". Although this situation could apply in the proprietary space, there's usually SLAs in place there to ensure support up to a future date. So let's examine the matter in open source.

The issues with 1 and 2 above should actually be expected in open source as a natural course for a new technology space. Here's how it works. Cessation of a project, as in 2 and although unfortunate on a micro level, would result in a solution to 1. And thus be a macro solution to the whole matter. Right now, we simply haven't reached a steadier ecological state in cloud technology, and instead are seemingly coming off the tail-end of the initial explosion. A big bang if you will.

You're probably not feeling assured yet because we're still left with the question- "What is a decision-making technologist to do?".

It's probably best right now is to step away from the technology and focus on the requirements a bit more, architecture, research, then later when more certain, decide what technologies can realize it all. I won't call out any here, but it appears a few technologies have already and deservingly reached escape velocity. So deployment should be possible for at least a couple layers of any cloud stack.