Several weeks ago, I flew out to San Francisco and got to talk with a lot of developers about their applications and the cloud. There were three points that almost every developer brought up: scaling their app, initial deployment and feature requests.
Developers who already had an app in the cloud were very interested about how they could scale it. The key for doing this is having an application with modular design, where you can split different functions (web, app and database servers) across multiple nodes. Furthermore, having the app integrated with a hosting provider’s API is a way that it can programmatically make changes to the infrastructure, like creating new servers. This takes a certain amount of planning as the app is being built, but is the best way to leverage the true power of the cloud.
For developers who were bringing their application to the cloud for the first time, it was more about their initial deployment rather than scale. They wanted to figure out how to get their application to deploy in a way that was going to be as agile as possible and gain them as many options for growth and iteration. I talked to them about the first five things that they should do when starting a cloud project, but also was able to reiterate those same tenets of modular design and utilization of the API as I discussed with devs who were interested just in scaling.
The final thing that most developers talked about was feature requests. They were very clear about letting us know what we could do to make their lives easier by adding in certain features and functions. This was a great opportunity because we got to show them that some of these features exist in our architecture. In other cases, we were able to show them how to use a combination of existing features in order to get that same functionality. For those things that didn’t exist in the Rackspace Cloud ecosystem, we were able to bring back a lot of great feedback to our product team.
After visiting with all these developers, the one thing that I learned was that we get awesome results when we combine the expertise of our customers who host on the Rackspace Cloud with Rackspace architects. I would encourage more customers to call in and talk to us about how to host their application on our infrastructure.