I’ve been thinking the relationship between operating systems and the reason why they exist – the applications. How does PaaS fit into the future of computing or is IaaS just a stepping stone to a world without the traditional one server, one application approach?
Having a background with enterprise IT, I know something (but not much) about deploying applications. Many of them are multi-tiered, the usual being front-end application servers with back-end database servers. Some may have a load balancer in front of the application servers. Thus, there are a few different roles a server must fulfill to deliver the service to a customer using the application these servers in whole produce.
How do you set up an application? It depends about the requirements of course, but basically there are some usual things, at least if you narrow the selectable services. VMware got an idea to bundle a few virtual machines into a vApp which can then be deployed. I have not personally used those, but they seem like an interesting concept. They do work in a bit different way than how an AWS instances would work since with VMware you have the luxury of for example vMotion taking care of VM migration in case the host dies… Giving there is a VMware HA cluster in place. Hiding the complexity this way sounds fantastic! I love it. I do want the same in Amazon AWS!
There has to be a way to group things in Amazon AWS. There are a few tools such as RightScript and Puppet which provide a way to move from a specific AMIs to specific scripts which produce a certain kind of servers. Using these scripts it should be possible to deploy a full application with various components. Puppet also makes it possible to update a class (with Puppet the servers may belong to a class, maybe clasess) of servers to have for example the latest resolv.conf file. Sounds nice! Essentially, this sounds a lot like Microsoft SCCM but for UNIX like operating systems.
How about a future where a business owner could just browse to an IT webstore, select a CMS installation with a rough estimate of usage and the system would just produce it by running the scripts in the backgroud? Or upgrade an existing system? How many IT admins would lose their jobs?