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Today’s blog post is an extended transcript of my presentation The Cloud Platform Play presented at JAX 2013 which deals with with three major topics:

  1. developers (as the primary users of PaaS),
  2. cloud platforms (as a means to make software development more agile and cost efficient),
  3. getting started (as a call to action to get familiar with PaaS).

Software engineering is a craft!

In his book “The New Kingmakers – How Developers Conquered the World” Stephen O’Grady from RedMonk explains why “developers are the most valuable resource in business.” The rationale is simple: every business nowadays depends on software. Software has become a key enabler to do things in new ways or more efficiently in order to stay competitive. This will result in an increased demand for developers. In some locations, such as in the Silicon Valley, developers are already a scarce resource and it has become common practice to buy startups just to acquire the talent pool.

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It’s about time the business finally acknowledges this! In the conversations I have with fellow software engineers it sounds like this has not yet happened on a broader scale though. The opposite! Typically, the development team is the last element in a complex process; and the one which has to compensate for all the mistakes made along the way like exaggerated customer expectations, poor requirements engineering – not to mention the always challenging timeline.

Software development has never been trivial, yet today’s inter-connected world has made it even more complex to develop great solutions that meet the market’s needs. It takes experience to learn how-to develop good software and it requires both a wide and a deep skill set to do it properly. Few developers directly program in assembler anymore, they rather use modern programming languages. There’s a whole stack of APIs, frameworks and libraries used on top.

As Joel Spolsky once wrote in a great article called Leaky abstractions:

All non-trivial abstractions, to some degree, are leaky. 

Abstractions fail. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. There’s leakage. Things go wrong. It happens all over the place when you have abstractions.

Consequently, software development requires a solid understanding of the complete stack of abstractions used in order to remain in control! At the same time, the need for software is steadily growing driven by the demand to develop and roll out new features in shorter cycles.

The new reality: Software is eating the world*

In the industrial age the rules were simple: the big players dominated the market. They were able to produce at lower costs and higher volumes. They had the biggest distribution networks and consequently the broadest outreach. Smaller companies hardly stood a chance to become competitive.

Times have changed! In today’s world, it’s not about size anymore, it’s about agility. Those who are the quickest to adopt to changing market needs and who are first to roll out new, innovative products are the ones who will win market share. Take Nokia for example, or Blackberry/RIM: they were the global leaders in their respective fields just a few years back.  These days they have to play catch-up to the ones of Apple and Android in a smartphone dominated mobile space. “Too big to fail!” has been replaced by “survival of the fittest!

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In a recent article titled “Software is eating the world” published in The Wall Street Journal, Marc Andreessen (co-founder of Netscape) states that more and more traditional businesses are transformed through software. The most prominent examples he provides are Amazon, Apple iTunes and Skype: the world’s biggest (book)seller, biggest music retailer and fastest growing telecom company respectively. These companies leveraged web technologies and software to outperform the competition and established themselves as the new dominating players.

Even more astonishing though is the fact that all these innovations are coming from the outside. It wasn’t a big publisher who re-invented the way we buy and read books. It wasn’t a big music label that finally solved the problem with DRM-free digital music. And it wasn’t a traditional telecommunication company that changed the way we communicate via the web. Why is that the case?

Scaling and innovation

Looking at the economy today we see two major challenges for companies small and large: scaling and innovation.

Small companies and start-ups are in need to scale their business. They have the need to reach out to the market and acquire new customers. What they lack in reputation they make up with a “whatever it takes” attitude. They are agile and hungry to succeed and willing to try out new ways of doing things and pursuing new ideas.

Large enterprises on the other hand struggle due to their size. Decision-making takes time. There are well-established processes and individual lines of business (LoB) have to adhere to long-term global IT roadmaps. They simply lack the agility needed to adapt to changing market needs and inter-company politics are dominating the daily business. Middle management is risk-averse resulting in a “business as usual” mentality.

Small companies are looking for ways that help them go-to-market and scale on demand. Big enterprises are looking for ways to leverage innovate solutions without being subordinated to a global IT strategy.

Platform as a Service addresses both needs! Cloud platforms (such as SAP HANA Cloud) provides both the design and the runtime environment to build scalable solutions and it greatly simplifies the deployment, which results in unprecedented time-to-market time-to-impact.

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Before we dig deeper and discuss the value proposition of PaaS in more detail, let’s have a closer look at the needs of all involved stakeholders of software: users, developers and the business.

Users want solutions that are easy to use (who reads a manual these days?) They want care-free applications: solutions they can access on-demand, on-the-go. Traditional software is getting a bad reputation due to the constant hassle it takes to keep it up-to-date via patches and upgrades. This is just one of the reasons why Software as a Service is gaining traction.

Developers are in need of better tooling and more efficient ways to develop software (see The Way of the Developer). They want tools that are easy to learn/master and support them in building solutions that are both maintainable and extensible. The last thing they want is an environment or tools that restrict them in any way or enforces a particular way of doing things. In short: they want a platform that supports them in their daily tasks yet allows them to use the programming languages, tools and the development environment they choose.

We already addressed the business’s needs: being able to deliver innovative solutions in shorter timeframes, and make money.

PaaS to the rescue

So, what to do? How-to enable software engineers to build quality software in less time and with less costs?

This is the problem space that PaaS is addressing: to make software development more agile and cost-efficient.  This is achieved by utilizing a standardized runtime environment sitting on cloud infrastructure (IaaS), which provides services and APIs for commonly required features such as persistence and connectivity. This approach allows developers to concentrate on app-specific topics instead of worrying about lower-level non-functional requirements such as scalability, security, high-availability, backups etc.

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Usually PaaS offerings support more than just one programming language. Java is a very common option as are other JVM-based languages such as JRuby, Clojure or Scala. Server-side JavaScript runtimes like node.js are becoming more popular as well. Some PaaS providers also support more proprietary programming languages like ASP.NET. In general, the guiding principle is to support more than just one programming model in order to appeal to the broader developer community (this concept is sometimes referred to as BYOL: bring your own language.)

A runtime platform by itself is of little value and hence all the cloud platforms provide a set of core services and APIs that help to speed up the implementation of recurring patterns like database access, secure connectivity to other (on-premise) systems, identity management and messaging infrastructure (just to state a few).

These core services are considered basic platform capabilities and the feature-set offered by PaaS providers are very similar in this regard. Hence, most platforms also provide higher-level services and features to differentiate themselves from the competition. The SAP HANA Cloud for example provides additional portal capabilities and support for mobile scenarios via the SAP Mobile Platform Cloud Edition. There are more capabilities currently in development such as SAP HANA Cloud Integration services (middleware functionality in the cloud), Gateway as a Service and others in the area of analytics and social.

To make it easy to develop cloud applications PaaS vendors provide plug-ins for popular IDEs such as Eclipse, some also support cloud-based IDEs such as Orion or Cloud9. Command line support is a must-have in order to allow integration in DevOps scripts (we’ll get back to this topic later-on!)

Last, but not least is the area of life-cycle management like source code management (e.g. integration with github) and continuous delivery (CD), which is a very important aspect of cloud computing. Some platforms also provide services that help with metering and billing customers or provide means to sell solutions directly via a central online store. In short, it is very similar to what we’ve seen happening in the mobile space (e.g. Apple’s App Store or Google Play.)

Why choose Java?

With all those cool programming languages around, why choose Java? Critics say that Java has peaked long ago!

Be it as it may, I believe that Java is (still) a great choice for PaaS. First, there’s a very active community of 10 million developers using Java and well, yes, it has been around for 18 years now.

I read a very interesting blog post from Zef Hemel called “Pick your battles“, in which he describes Cloud9’s approach to developing their cloud IDE based on “the hottest thing at the time: node.js” and the challenges they faced in doing so. I’d rather not spoiler here, but instead recommend reading his blog! However, let me share one of his findings:

“Build amazing apps with the most boring technology you can find. The stuff that has been in use for years and years.”

And if not for the programming language Java itself, then there’s still a lot of value in using the JVM as a runtime engine for a cloud platform as it allows developers to choose from a variety of (JVM-based) programming languages.

What are the concerns?

With all the benefits of PaaS at hand, how come that many companies still hesitate? What are the concerns? From the discussions I have with developers and IT decision makers alike I came to the understanding that the main concerns are threefold:

  • security and data privacy,
  • loss of control (aka vendor lock-in) and
  • inter-company politics.
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Security and Data Protection

It’s a very important topic indeed, and a complex one as well! As such, I can barely scratch the surface here and instead have to refer you to some additional reading material. At the end of the day though it all boils down to trust. Whom do you trust with your data? Would you rather trust your own IT department or a company whose core business is to operate a secure cloud platform? Do you have your own data center or have you outsourced it already? Is it safer to put some of your systems into a DMZ yourself rather than running it in the cloud?

Fact is, running a data center is a very regulated business and there is a plethora of standards, guidelines and certificates that operators need to adhere to in order to ensure a maximum level of security. Same is true for data privacy. Here we face a much more fragmented field as the laws and regulations differ from region to region making it a non-trivial exercise to roll out a global solution dealing with personal data. Yet, initiatives like Safe Harbor and the planned reform of the EU’s 1995 data protection rules are aiming to improve the status quo. Within the European economic area the German “Bundesdatenschutzgesetz” (Federal Data Protection Act) is one of the most extensive laws about data protection and regarded as a solid reference for an EU-wide regulation [Source].

Before we continue, let me recommend a good starting point for individuals and organizations thinking about adopting cloud computing provided by the European Network and Information Security Agency (enisa): a paper titled “Cloud Computing Risk Assesment“.

Loss of Control

Another concern that is commonly expressed is the fear to loss control. People are not only worried about getting into the cloud, but also about what happens once they are in the cloud. What if they want to move from one platform to another? How easy is it to move the data? What happens to all those applications developed – are they portable? In short, they are afraid of vendor lock-in!

Here, the most important aspects to consider are open standards and open source. Companies are well-advised to carefully judge cloud platform providers from that point of view. The more proprietary a platform is the higher the total cost of ownership and the cost of development. Especially within the Java space there are a lot of standards for common features like persistence, security etc. and adhering to those ensures maximum portability while at the same time lowering the entry barrier for developers.

Open source-based platforms are especially appealing in this regard as they are backed by a huge community. De-facto standards (like Hibernate or the Spring framework for example) have gotten mass-adoption and hence have become very mature (= enterprise-ready). Thanks to great documentations and plenty of samples it is very easy to get started. And if one should face any issues there’s a huge community willing to help (see stackoverflow.) All of these factors dramatically reduce the cost of development, as you no longer need special expertise to develop great software.

Internal politics

As we techies know it’s hardly ever technology that makes things complicated. Usually it’s processes or politics. Same here!

At first glance it seems natural that some parties within a company are skeptical when it comes to cloud computing – especially IT departments. Of course they are not eager to lose influence and they may even be afraid to become obsolete. But nothing could be farther from the truth!

Matter of fact, operations are more important than ever and the skill set typically residing within IT departments nowadays is in higher demand than ever. The keyword here is: DevOps. While traditionally development and operations have been two separate entities with contradicting KPIs (the former measured by the number of new features being rolled out and the later measured by the stability of productive systems) the line becomes blurry in the context of cloud computing.

Developing cloud applications comes with the requirement to always be able to fix bugs and roll out new features. The development becomes much more agile and consequently the delivery process needs to be automated. Topics such as unit tests, integration tests, load tests, regression tests etc. (see continuous delivery) are essential to ensure that new features can be rolled out without jeopardizing the stability of the application or causing unnecessary downtimes. On the development sides there’s the need to provision development landscapes on the fly based on pre-defined configurations. Because of all of these reasons it makes a lot of sense to combine development and operation into cross-topic teams that take ownership of a product throughout its whole lifecycle. Those interested in the topic may want to check out the DevOps series hosted on IBM’s developerWorks website.

How-to get started?

At this point of the discussion I frequently get asked “so, how-to get started?” or “What are scenarios particular suited for the cloud?” Great question (as it indicates that the person asking it may be willing to try it out!)

Instead of giving a direct answer let me share a story. A while back I had the unique opportunity to witness Gunther Dueck (former CTO of IBM) give a presentation about innovation in large enterprises. One of the things that stuck with me was that he compared large enterprises to cruise ships: once set in motion it’s hard to turn them around and it takes time to change course! There will always be people fighting new ideas and holding on to the good old way of doing things (= naysayers to progress, or “Fortschrittsverweigerer” as we say in German.) Instead of hoping/waiting for a top-down movement it may be better to send out a few speedboats that explore new lands detached from the mothership and only come back once they have found something fruitful. In some cases it may even be necessary to send out sub-marines that explore new territories without even being noticed by skeptics.

This approach makes a lot of sense to me personally and matches my own experiences made while developing solutions on emerging technologies. In fact, one of my former managers once told me: “Manchmal ist es leichter, um Verzeihung zu bitten, als um Erlaubnis zu fragen!” (“Sometimes it’s easier to seek forgiveness not permission!“) Especially when it comes to the adoption of PaaS – being a developer-centric topic – I tend to believe that the revolution has to be started bottom-up (see Billy Marshall’s post “The CIO is the last to know!“)

Consequently, my advice to such questions is to carefully choose a pilot project and then look for an executive sponsor to get started. “Think big, start small!” should be the guiding motto. Once you have developed a cloud application, show it to the business people and then things get rolling. (You’d still have to hold them back and explain that it’s a mere prototype and not something to be set live the next day, but we all know that drill, right?)

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Typical cloud scenarios

To be frank, I don’t think there’s such a thing as the killer app for cloud. In general, every scenario that requires having to deal with large volumes of users or data is a great fit for cloud. Same is true for applications that need to be accessible from all around the globe. Prominent examples are shop floor systems dealing with thousands of sensors or broad-reach apps connecting thousands of users. Usually mobile solutions are connected to backend systems in the cloud. It could literally be anything…

One of the easiest use-cases to get started with are so called employee self-services like time-recording or absence management solutions. This type of applications is not mission-critical and hence well suited to gather experience with developing cloud solutions. On the other hand, such self-services reach a lot of users and solve a classical pain point – eventually helping to win your co-workers for your cause. If you just use the cloud as a vehicle to access the respective functionality (e.g. via mobile devices) keeping the data in the corresponding on-premise system(s) you can even work-around some of the data protection aspects mentioned earlier.

Cloud – A new gold rush?

Analysts and IT influencers alike predict enormous growth in the PaaS sector and “suggest that now is the time to begin evaluating how PaaS offerings can fit into your overall IT strategy.” [Source] As we all know too well though developers are resistant to marketing and can only be convinced to give something a try by their peers. Fortunately this is easy to do. Most of the PaaS vendors provide developers with free trial accounts or even developer licenses, which makes it very easy to test-drive and evaluate them. The time is now!

Looking at the stats of the last gold rush the numbers may not sound too convincing: 100,000 left for Klondike, 40,000 made it to Dawson City and only 4,000 found gold!

I interprete these numbers differently though: those that well prepare for the road ahead and who are the first on the road will also be the first to stake their claim and make a fortune. PaaS is still in its infancy and as such all cloud platform providers are looking for great show-cases and reference customers that help in marketing, making it the perfect time to get started as the platform vendor of your choice will support you by amplifying your message and advertising your solution.

So, what are you waiting for?

Related:

PS: The typical disclaimers apply… all my personal point of view … yada, yada, yada!

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26 Comments

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  1. Carsten Nitschke

    Matthias,

    great Post on Cloud. Cloud for sure is just a question of when for many organization. There is no doubt that they will adopt more and more. You mentioned at the beginning of your posts 3 very important names in the industry who are driving important changes like Amazon, Apple and Skype.

    Amazon for me is one of the examples where I can say with no shame I really envy the way they can do business especially with AWS. They have come out of the nothing and are really moving at light speed putting solutions out in the market. This agility is seen by the market and it will be not an easy game for others to follow their giant leaps.

    The Dinosaurs have disappeared because they were not able to adapt fast enough to the new circumstances or they were simply too big. I guess we will see history repeat itself in the Cloud arena.

    I second your thought that there is no killer app. Yet I am seeing more and more companies moving to the Cloud. For me a strong example was BBVA, when they moved their email and office Apps to Google. This is a strong example since the spanish Data Protection Law (LOPD) is probably even stricter than the German.

    It would be fun to see a full fledged offering for SAP Apps (inlcuding large scale HANA Deployment) in the Cloud.

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    1. Matthias Steiner Post author

      Thanks for the feedback Carsten!

      Yes, AWS is really an interesting success story. If you want to read more about it I can strongly recommend O’Grady’s book mentioned in my blog.

      The BBVA example is a great one and shows that SaaS is picking up.

      It would be fun to see a full fledged offering for SAP Apps (including large scale HANA Deployment) in the Cloud.

      Not sure if “fun” is the right measure, but AFAIK there may be news on that front very, very soon – stay tuned 😉

      Cheers,

      Matthias

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      1. Carsten Nitschke

        Thanks Matthias,

        fun can have various readings. I tend to look at it from a positive way. Regarding your last statement I will definitely stay tuned and I am very much looking forward to see it.

        Cheers

        Carsten

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  2. Fred Verheul

    Great presentation and transcript Matthias!

    Just this morning I was (catching up and) reading the version on your own blog ( http://www.inscope.net/post/4150 ) and I noticed it wasn’t finished yet. Thanks for putting the whole blog post out here on scn as I think it’s excellent material.

    Funny off topic anecdote: I mentioned the forgiveness/permission quote to my wife the other day, and last night she came back to it and ‘confessed’ she’d ordered a bread making machine. And she wanted to know whether I did approve of it (the thing was delivered today so she couldn’t wait any longer without me noticing anyway…). So yes, it really works better sometimes to just go ahead and do what you want to do. Needless to say I did approve (well of course no approval was really needed) of it and I’m now looking forward to the first results 🙂 (due tomorrow).

    Back to the topic of PaaS: personally I’m still waiting for an ABAP PaaS solution from SAP, but Java developers are really lucky and should take advantage of sap_hana_cloud to build some fancy new applications.

    One of the great things about a PaaS is that it really levels the playing field: everyone can now start building great apps, no expensive hardware is needed anymore. That will for sure have a lot of implications for the current SAP developer base and SAP partner ecosystem, but as you say: the new goldrush has begun, and you’d better be quick!

    So far my ramblings. Thanks again for sharing.

    Cheers, Fred

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    1. Matthias Steiner Post author

      Thanks for your kind words Fred!

      It’s a bit funny for me to see that the “forgiveness/permission” statement is the one that most people can relate to. It sure stuck with me and I still consider it one of the best advices I ever got from a manager. 😉

      Interestingly enough I read an article published on readwrite called “Forrester: Middle-Aged Developers Driving Cloud Computing” recently that talks about the same lines:

      “[…]  Often, those who have the most value to contribute are more experienced programmers. In addition, such programmers have also been working in enterprise IT long enough to recognize a better, more efficient way of developing software, and to have the job security needed to take a risk on coloring outside the lines of enterprise IT policies. […]

      In other words, as with open source, these developers can’t be bothered with corporate bureaucracy.”                  

      Cheers,

      Matthias

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  3. Jan Penninkhof

    Another excellent blog Matthias. I can only imagine how much time you must have put into collecting, digesting and writing down these thoughts that you’re sharing with the SDN community.

    There was already a little debate on Twitter about the “The New Kingmakers” mantra. While I do believe in the mantra, I don’t believe developers are the sole and most crucial “gear” in the engine of a business. You may have very good developers, that create awesome software, but if that software doesn’t somehow generate value, it’s useless, which also has its impact on the value of a developer. In a business, developers are important, but so are the other folks. I think it would go too far to call only developers kingmakers from that perspective. Unless you call every one of them a kingmaker of course 😉

    Where I do believe that developers are kingmakers, is when it comes to making or breaking software products that they integrate to solve business issues. Previously these choices were made by bosses/suits as there was often a hefty price-tag attached to these products. But the world has changed, and much software is available freely, resulting in the fact that the developer is much more in control of picking the tools he wants than previously. In many cases, the “suits” don’t even (want to) know what is running under the bonnet anymore. I think companies such as Microsoft, Oracle and Maybe even SAP must feel the pressure from products such as MySQL, Apache, Cassandra, Hadoop, Eclipse, Linux and others. Developers are currently able to make of break products, hence the justification of the title kingmakers in my opinion.

    As for your choice with regards to Java, I can only concur with what you wrote in your blog. For me, java has exactly the right abstraction level and is a language of exactly the right “generation” (nth GL). Not too much secret magic going on, that eventually happens to work against you (like in the RAD tools you mentioned). And it also doesn’t require too much low-level nitty-gritty, such as housekeeping and freeing up memory, that distract you from building the software that you’re supposed to build. Besides that, there is an enormous amount of tools, libraries, frameworks and knowledge available. Much more than for any other language (although Javascript is catching up).

    James Governor of Redmonk also mentioned in a speech he held at the SAP Office (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xj-poAYP7I, 03:18) that “The web development shops think that Java is dead. That is until they turn into Java shops. All web companies, when they grow up, turn into Java shops”. That underlines what you mentioned about sticking to the boring and proven recipes, rather than to envy the “punks” that have drank too much of the kool-aid-on-rails 😉

    I love the shape into which the world of software development has evolved. Everything is so much more within reach; development environment and frameworks can be downloaded from the web, a lot of knowledge is available on SDN and Stackoverflow, and lab-environments and even production systems can be provisioned in the cloud with a click of the button. Developers may be kingmakers, but in their own right kings of the castle themselves as well 🙂

    Cheers,

    Jan

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    1. Matthias Steiner Post author

      Hi Jan,

      thanks for your feedback and for sharing your own thoughts!

      I do agree that there are other important roles in business and that the whole “The New Kingmakers” mantra needs to be taken with a grain of salt. On the other hand, it is certainly true when it comes to mobile and cloud platforms. Without software engineers developing apps for your platform one won’t make it.

      Great designers are also very important as are becoming data scientists (see Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century). I mentioned DevOps in my post as well. So I surely don’t want to over-rate the developers role in this, yet as I feel they have been under-rated for way to long let’s enjoy that mantra (while it has some attention!)

      Developers may be kingmakers, but in their own right kings of the castle themselves as well 🙂         

      Indeed! That’as a complete different notion I’ve been thinking about. Especially when it comes to mobile or cloud platforms developers have all the tools it requires to become a king in their own right. All you need is to develop your app and all the rest (marketing, selling, billing etc.) is taken care of by the platform providers.

      Cheers,

      Matthias

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  4. John Astill

    Great blog Matthias, this line jumped out “As we all know too well though developers are resistant to marketing and can only be convinced to give something a try by their peers” . I had not realized it until I read it, but that is so true.

    Good blog and great comments above too. “Kool-aid-on-rails” 🙂

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    1. Matthias Steiner Post author

      Thanks John.

      As we all know too well though developers are resistant to marketing and can only be convinced to give something a try by their peers” . I had not realized it until I read it, but that is so true.

      Absolutely and that’s why I’m able to make my living as a “developer evangelist”. Here’s an extract from Chris Heilman (Principal Developer Evangelist at Mozilla) great Developer Evangelism handbook:

      Why do you need developer evangelists?

      Every day millions of dollars are wasted in companies because non-tech people and tech people either don’t communicate at all or completely miss each other’s points.

      Even more money is then spent on internal promotion of your products or external communication and advertising to get people excited about your new product.

      What you really need is enthusiasm about your product – honest interest in using it and the right message to the right group.

      If your product targets developers this can not be achieved with marketing or PR. We’ve managed to remove the developer world from the commercial part of IT companies so far over the last few years that developers are very cynical about anything that does not relate to technology first and brand second – and neither marketing nor PR can deliver that.

      Developers however are very happy to listen to what other developers say – if these developers are very good, have their respect and deliver the message in the right way.

      The trick is to allow people in your company to play with your products and advertise why they are excited about them – after all the people in your company are consumers, too.

      The best advertiser is someone who is not consciously advertising a product but instead is so enthusiastic about it that it becomes contagious. You can empower your developers to be these people without much extra cost – all it needs is trust, a bit of time and to let them off the leash.

      Cheers,

      Matthias

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  5. Chris Paine

    Great post! I really liked the slides when you posted those, this incredible detail to go with them is just fantastic.

    Although I hope this doesn’t mean the end of a native node.js option on Neo as was shown in some slides in the past.

    I’m going to have to take some line drawing lessons – the artwork to go with the presentation was great, was it done especially for the presentations?

    Loving it. 😀

    Cheers,

    Chris

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    1. Matthias Steiner Post author

      Thanks Chris! Happy to hear that you find the slides appealing. Yes, there were tailor-made for this presentation.

      Knowing I would face a large, non-SAP audience at JAX 2013 I wanted a fresh look that underlines our understanding of the “new SAP“.

      And no, node.js support is still on the agenda, sorry if I should have given the wrong impression here.

      Cheers,

      Matthias

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  6. Tobias Hofmann

    With all those cool programming languages around, why choose Java?

    And who says that Java isn’t cool?

    Java is made with internet in mind (the dot in dot com). What are the alternatives available? Perl? Ruby? PHP? Ah, when people say that PHP is in because Facebook uses it and silently ignore HOW Facebook is using PHP …

    Javascript? Sure, asynchronous, server side JS is very attractive (who says you cannot use Java + X?), but writing complex solutions using only Javascript can get a very complex task.

    That Java is the choice in many scenarios can be seen when you look at how many language can actually be run on the Java VM: Scala, jRuby, Clojure, Groovy (+ Nashorn). They all can run inside the same VM, try that with PHP …

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    1. Nigel James

      Sometimes all you need is PHP … sure it’s a ball of nails for  but it is architectures that scale not languages.

      (And you can run PHP in the JVM too)

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      1. Tobias Hofmann

        And you can run PHP in the JVM too

        Are you refering to my frase “They all can run inside the same VM, try that with PHP …”? Well, how many other languages can you run on PHP?

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        1. Nigel James

          How is that important to the language? If PHP solves the web problem for a certain scenario then and you have the skills to do that then by all means use PHP. To be pandantic you cant run any languages on java either. They run in the JVM. Since facebook created HipHop (a PHP VM of sorts) you could get other languages to run in that if you could be bothered.

          Languages all solve a problem and there a several companies running PHP at scale.

          Cheers,

          Nigel

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    1. Matthias Steiner Post author

      Many thanks Harald!

      Originally the term ‘play’ in this context was inspired from sports and would best be translated to Spielzug’ in German. As such it’s meant to describe how to stratically position yourself to be succesful in the game or win ground.

      Cheers,

      Matthias

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    2. Pankaj Kumar

      Thanks for pointing to the cloud9’s rationale on selection of the technology stack. As the gadget loving, tech geeks novelty entices and we fall into going for the latest and greatest. Money quotes from the blog on balancing the desire to try new and commercial aspects of the making software

      If a new technology is the only way to solve a problem you have, it’s a no brainer.

      If a new technology is going to give you the edge to push the competition out of the market, it’s a no brainer.

      If it’s new technology for the sake of new technology, think twice.

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      1. Matthias Steiner Post author

        Really liked the blog and the perspective provided on technologies. As you mentioned, we geeks sometimes need to pace ourself when it comes to adoption. “Choose your battles wisely” is the best advice of them all 😉

        Cheers,

        Matthias

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  7. Anderson SANTANA DE OLIVEIRA

    Very interesting post, Matthias Steiner. In particular the concerns section. SAP is participating to the Cloud Accountability project, where we target these barriers to cloud adoption. Maybe you can join us at the workshop we are organising in conjunction with the Cloud Security Alliance EMEA congress to discuss risk management strategies for cloud services, you can find more details here http://www.a4cloud.eu/node/103.

    Best regards,

    Anderson

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