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Nov 22 / 2016

Great Design Patterns in Cloud Computing (Dennis Allio, Group President, Cloud Technology Services)

If you ask any two developers that have been working for any length of time if they believe in standards and design patterns they will certainly answer, “Yes.” (My personal favorite design pattern has always been a Singleton. It’s so simple, but so elegant and powerful in its understanding, that there can only be one instance of a class, and the class itself is responsible for making certain that is true.)

If you ask the same two developers to agree on standards or design patterns and how they’d choose to implement them, things immediately start to get complex. This is part of the inherent nature of software design.

Cloud computing has design patterns as well. Migrating applications to the cloud can be frustrating at times, because in many ways, the pattern usage is much more fixed and rigid. An application that is created for on-premise or single server (or single developer machine) compute architecture is only limited by, at most, your organization’s agreed upon (and sometimes loosely followed), rules or standards.

One of the first challenges of any migration beyond the simplest Lift and Shift is understanding the patterns involved, and what changes (code or system architecture) will have to be adjusted to function or even take advantage of the new cloud platform.

This challenge is generally perceived as a barrier to cloud migration, frustrating many otherwise-capable software engineers. The secret to knocking down this barrier is to understand every developer’s inherent appreciation of design patterns, and to help them realize that cloud computing environments support and build upon really great patterns.

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Take a minute to consider the architecture involved with handling some of the most commonly touted benefits of cloud computing – basically unlimited CPU, RAM, or physical storage space – and you’ll realize that the foundation is all about strong and healthy computing patterns. Understanding the new patterns, and why they exist, will make your developers and applications better – by both enriching your devs’ skillsets, and by refitting or evolving your applications to these new patterns.

Companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft have spent vast amounts of resources solving the problems that software (and devops, and netops, and…) engineers run into every single day. Solving these problems requires cloud computing patterns that are by definition reusable by any number of engineers.  

Breaking down the fear and barriers of cloud computing migration comes with spending some quality time with the extremely well-thought-out and well-tested patterns that the platform providers have defined. These design patterns will make any developer feel at home, and once the new patterns are familiar, migration becomes so much simpler.

The patterns are well-documented,and are available to anyone. Here are a couple of great links to get you started.

Amazon’s Architecting for the Cloud: Best Practices

Microsoft’s Cloud Design Patterns

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