Some people love their automobiles. They can tell you all all about their technical specifications. They buy upgrades and after market parts. Its a lifestyle and a hobby. I am not one of those people. For me an automobile is purely a means to an end. I am here, I want to be there. Having lived the last year without a car (my truck is in storage and will be for sale soon), I can say I don’t much care whether I get there in my car, or a taxi, or a zip car. This is the benefit of modern urban living, I suppose.
So, just as I look at an automobile as a means to an end, I look at servers as a means to an end. I guess that makes me a Software Guy. I know there are Hardware Guys out there. They’re doing great things and I’m thankful for them. But, for the most part, I am interested in what computers can do for us, not how they do it.
I don’t think I’m alone in my attitude. That’s why I think that computing as a commodity a strong future. We can leave things like data center efficiency to someone else and focus on the things that are really important to us. Oh, if you’re at facebook scale, you’re probably going to have to do serious cross stack optimization. And if you are at the hobby end, current cloud offerings may be pricy.
But, consider this. What can you buy with $100,000 per year? One programmer or 120 ec2 instances. (more with reserved instance pricing.)
At a certain scale, cloud computing makes alot of sense. $100,000 is just a number. Oh, I know, you have this guy in Belarus and he works for less. But, the fundamental equation is the same. Programming is expensive and computing power is a commodity. Did I mention I’m a software guy?
Are you interested in how to use PHP in the cloud? Clay Loveless recognized the advantages of cloud computing early, jumping on ec2 as one of the early adaptors. He’s recently written a great Introduction to AWS for PHP Programmers. I’d encourage you to check it out.