The Trouble With Coding Across the Clouds | Opinions | ChannelWorld.in

PARTNER HOTLINES

The Trouble With Coding Across the Clouds

By David Taber, CIO.com on May 09, 2011
David Taber, About the author

David Taber, CIO.com

David Taber is the author of the Prentice Hall book, “ Salesforce.com Secrets of Success” and is the CEO of SalesLogistix, a certified Salesforce.com consultancy focused on business process improvement through use of CRM systems.

Most cloud applications have development (or at least scripting) capabilities that allow for deep customization plus some level of database access and computational capabilities. But even the best of the cloud applications must put in limiters for their platform/development environments: an app isn't a general purpose run-time or generic object container. For example, the development language must be made safe for a multi-tenant deployment, and must be well-behaved so that user code can't take down the virtual machine, database, or overall application. Further, some kinds of language constructs must be limited to prevent resource hogging and deadlocks. (Indeed, if you think about the billion lines of user code that Salesforce.com has running in their cloud, keeping quick responsiveness and good uptime stats is a non-trivial task.)

Using Salesforce's APEX as an example, the language can handle most business logic without too many tricky work-arounds. But inevitably with a cloud-based development environment, there will be certain requirements that push against the platform's limits. For example, there might be a terrific library in J2EE that does just what you want, but J2EE is simply not available in the cloud platform where you need it. Even if you need just a couple of methods out of that library, it may turn out that some of its underlying functions cant be successfully ported over to the native language of your platform.

Let me take a real world example: license key generation. Software vendors like to use license keys to enforce their end-user contracts. The CRM system holds the license keys (as part of the customers' Assets), and it would be nice to generate the keys entirely within the CRM application. So the software organization asks to port the keygen system into the CRM app. The key generation uses encryption methods that are available as part of the CRM platform, but it also uses a nifty library that does arbitrary precision math. Arbitrary precision, as in: multiply two 400-digit numbers and take the square root modulo 7. That nifty library does this math entirely with strings, using recursions that are most lovely.

So even though you can port all the logic to the CRM system, the computational load of actually running the keygen will blow through the governor limits that must be enforced on the CPU, heap size, and number of queries. These run-time limits frequently hit analytics (think BI), optimization (think stock portfolios), really big lookups (think the Named Account Model or multi-channel distribution strategies) and other business applications touched by the CRM.

The answer, of course, is to call a service that does the data crunching outside, in an adjacent cloud (hence the title for this article). Unfortunately, there aren't any easy design patterns for these situations, because:

• Some of the data you need to access might not be able to move, because of policy, organizational politics, security, or other reasons. In other situations, the data might need to be moved because of other system changes that are underway.

• If your other cloud has to crunch on a lot of data that must live in the CRM database, you might want to ship abstracts, summaries, rollups, or bit-map representations of the data, rather than raw records.

• Depending on the problem, it may be easier to transfer data from a remote resource, or to port code to another cloud and use a function- shipping strategy.

• The other cloud may be easier to work with in RESTful protocols like JSON, even though the problem lends itself to WSDL and SOAP.

• Depending on the nature of the computation, it may make sense to do virtually all of the work inside the CRM system, and then call just the tiny method needed from the remote cloud. Conversely, it may make sense to do virtually all the work remotely, and call it as a full-fledged service.

• If the computation needs to evaluate system state (e.g., workflows, locks, or data changes), the amount of network traffic (and the resulting latency) can be a serious factor.

• Security, testing, and deployment considerations can't be ignored. If the computational problem is important enough, it's going to be around for years. So it has to be managed over time and survive with minimum hassle even when there are developer, administrator, and organizational ownership changes. (Think about whether that upcoming reorg will mean your developers will even have sufficient access to that other cloud in the future.)

So the first step is to determine the best architecture for your particular application, figuring out what elements of data should be transferred and refactoring your classes across the cloud geography.

Latest Opinions

  • The anti-Beatitudes: Calling Apple a religion

    Put on your special underwear and get ready to cut a goat! No, not because our Apple religion calls us to those practices but because arguing Apple is a religion just drives a Macalope do some crazy stuff.

    The Macalope
  • Cameramakers missed the Wi-Fi bandwagon on the road to obsolescence

    The day of the standalone digital camera has passed for all but professional photographers and those who aren't paid for their work but have particular needs a phone's built-in camera can't meet. Smartphones won by making photos easy to share online.

    Glenn Fleishman
  • When it comes to Apple products, how thin is too thin?

    One of the characters in Neal Stephenson's novel Snow Crash uses knives with edges a single atom thick, so sharp they can cut through anything. I think about those knives every time Apple announced a newer, thinner MacBook or iPad or iPhone.

    Jason Snell
  • Yahoo: One Giant Step—Sideways?

    Authentication is the biggest issue that enterprises have to face in a connected world because all systems have flaws.

    Balaji Narasimhan
  • Weird science: The Apple Watch may already be killing you!

    You should see the Macalope's biceps right now. He's totally ripped from all the tables he had to flip because of this piece in the New York Times by Nick Bilton.

    The Macalope
EDITOR'S PICK

Try These 5 Undiscovered Google Drive Tricks

Google Drive and its attendant apps offer a wealth of tools to help you be more productive. Try these five for the biggest boost.

What Does the Collaborative Economy Mean for Information Security?

Most employers allow their staff reasonable use of office products such as telephones, copy machines, coffee and the like. For the most part, employees won't be using the copy machines to compete with Kinko's or a company car to compete with black car limousine services. Well, at least not until now.

Tech Chat

Collaborating To Outcome Based World: Priyadarshi Mohapatra, Avaya

Priyadarshi Mohapatra, Managing Director, India and SAARC, Avaya, on how IT is transitioning from a keep-the-lights-on role to one that enables customers to deliver results.

The Dawn of the Digital Age: Akhilesh Tuteja, KPMG

The development of digital infrastructure will be a key growth driver for technology and solution providers. 

Paradigm Shift from End-Users to User-First : Parag Arora,Citrix

Parag Arora, Area Vice President and India Head, India Sub-continent, Citrix, says new technologies will force organizations to take a user-first approach in 2015.

Mobile and Cloud Are Gamechangers of the Future: Karan Bajwa, Microsoft

Karan Bajwa, Managing Director, Microsoft India, says, in  2015, organizations will adopt a mobile-first and cloud-first strategy to get ahead of competition.

A Network for the Internet of Everything : Dinesh Malkani,Cisco

Dinesh Malkani, President, India and SAARC, Cisco, talks about IoT and the significant technology transitions in the networking world.

Moving to the Third Platform: Jaideep Mehta, IDC

Cloud and mobility are the two technologies that will fuel the rapid adoption of the third platform in India.

Envisaging a Holistic Security Strategy For 2015: Sanjay Rohatgi,Symantec

Sanjay Rohatgi, President–Sales, Symantec India, says the company has a set of holistic solutions in place to secure organizations from security threats. 

Beating the Bad Guys: Sivarama Krishnan, PwC

Organizations will need to turn inwards to establish robust information security strategies.

Building Capabilities for a Digital Tomorrow: Alok Ohrie,Dell

Alok Ohrie, President and Managing Director, Dell India, on the company’s investments to build end-to-end solutions and delivery capabilities for a digital world.

SLIDESHOWS

CEO Comebacks: For Better or for Worse?

We bring to you six global CEOs who made the idea work, or not.

Datacenters in the Weirdest Places

A peek into some of the most unusual datacenter locations in the world. Here are 13 datacenters that are built in unusual locations like mines, ships, trucks and even a nuclear collidor. Taking about common wisdom, eh?

12 LinkedIn Mistakes IT Pros Make

LinkedIn is the go-to place for IT pros to market themselves, connect with co-workers, find former colleagues, and meet-up with like-minded folks. Take a few minutes now to make sure your profile showcases your accomplishments, and skills. Here are some common mistakes to avoid.

ChannelWorld Survey: State of the Market 2014

Partners poll their sentiments, expectations, pain points, and challenges for the coming year.

6 Leaders Who Headed for an Abrupt Exit

The abrupt exit of top leaders of Indian and global tech companies this year, with many of them citing ambiguous reasons, surprised the technology world.

FAST TRACK

Kamtron Systems

Transitioning towards a service-oriented company will boost our growth, believes Kavita Singhal, director, Kamtron Systems.

TIM Infratech

Delivering ‘best of breed’ technologies to enterprises is key to success, says Monish Chhabria, MD, TIM Infratech

Mudra Electronics

A vendor-agnostic strategy helped us sustain business, says Bharat Shetty, CMD, Mudra Electronics.

Systematix Technologies

Our USP is a customer-friendly approach backed by services, says Akhilesh Khandelwal, Director, Systematix Technologies.

CorporateServe Solutions

Our ability to turnaround complex ERP projects in record time is what gets us customer referral, says Vinay Vohra, Founder & CEO, CorporateServe Solutions.

KernelSphere Technologies

We are emerging as an end-to-end systems integrator, says Vinod Kumar, MD, KernelSphere Technologies.

Uniware Systems

We constantly validate emerging technologies for first-mover advantage, says Vergis K.R., CEO, Uniware Systems.

Astek Networking & Solutions

An innovative approach helps us stay successful, says Ashish Agarwal, CEO, Astek Networking & Solutions.

CSM Technologies

Our approach is backed by innovation and simplicity, says Priyadarshi Nanu Pany, CEO, CSM Technologies.

EMC PARTNER SHOWCASE

Partnering for Profitability

Atul H. Gosar, Director, Network Techlab, shares how the company’s association with EMC has provided it with a competitive edge and a wide customer base, leading to increased profitability.

Sponsored Content

Promising Pipeline

Venkat Murthy, Prime Mover, 22by7 Solutions, shares how EMC brings in competitive edge by enabling technology, GTM and lead generation, helping 22by7 acquire new customers and retain old ones.

Sponsored Content

Powerful Performance

Deepak Jadhav, Director, VDA Infosolutions, says initiatives by EMC around training and certification have helped the company’s staff improve its performance and enhance customer experience.

Sponsored Content

Performance Booster

Rajiv Kumar, CEO, Proactive Data Systems, says that the solution provider’s association with EMC has helped expand its customer base and added value to existing offerings.

Sponsored Content

Pursuit of Profitability

Santosh Agrawal, CEO, Esconet Technologies, shares insights on how the systems integrator’s association with EMC has spelled sustained success over the years.

Sponsored Content

Non-Performance is Not an Option

Nitin Aggarwal, Director, Trifin Technologies, shares insights on how the association with EMC has helped the system integrator stand out and empowered its personnel to deliver consistent performance.

Sponsored Content

SOCIAL MEDIA @ CW India
SIGNUP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Signup for our newsletter and get regular updates.