Cloud computing underwhelms PHP developers

Developers still see it as the future, but they think it is currently overhyped and vendor-driven

While technology vendors continue to pound home the message of cloud computing, PHP developers Tuesday viewed the concept as overhyped and were not in agreement on its benefits.

Developers at the ZendCon 2010 PHP conference in Santa, Clara, Calif. heard Zend Technologies CEO Andi Gutmans tout the company's cloud computing plans, which involve developing Zend PHP Cloud Platform. During his presentation, however, developers appeared mostly underwhelmed when Gutmans asked if cloud computing was game-changing or just hype. Afterward, developers gave cloud computing mixed reviews.

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"I guess I have a feeling that 10, 15 years from now, maybe we'll all be using this stuff, but right now, it's entirely pushed by vendors," said Phillip Winn, back-end developer for games builder Tapulous.

"I don't see value in it," Winn said. "I don't have a strong opinion. I don't care. It doesn't affect me."

Winn recalled a former employer who thought cloud computing could be used to cut costs and reduce staff levels. "Economically, it ended up not making any sense for them," said Winn.

Cloud computing, said attendee Chuck Hudson, founder of Aduci, a consulting firm, has been the subject of some hype. "But there's definitely some opportunity there to leverage cloud computing," with developers able to rapidly develop systems and for enterprises to save on infrastructure and maintenance costs, Hudson said.

Rather than view cloud computing as a potential job-killer, Hudson sees it as a chance for IT persons to expand horizons. "I think it's more an opportunity for people in their current roles to learn the new technology and apply it. So I think it's just retooling your toolset."

Cloud computing, said Joseph Munowenyu, computer programmer at Valley City State University, in North Dakota, is "where everything is headed." At consulting firm Atos Origin, the company does not yet use cloud computing, said Atos developer Chris Campbell. "It's something we've been looking at." But he also saw "an element of hype" to the concept.

After his presentation, Gutmans acknowledged people could be "a bit tired of hearing about [cloud computing] because there's so much talk about it." But customers are nonetheless interested in leveraging its benefits, Gutmans said. Zend Cloud Platform will feature portable and native cloud services, application platform monitoring, cluster management, application deployment, configuration management, and IDE integration.

Within the same building complex as ZendCon, attendees at the Cloud Computing Conference & Expo conference Tuesday were more upbeat about cloud computing, as would be expected.

"We're definitely interested in cloud computing and right now, I'm on a research project where we're actually using the Amazon Web Services [cloud] environment to do all of our research work," said Jim Cannaliato, vice president of technology at SAIC.

Another attendee noted his company's growing use of cloud computing. "We've got some bits and pieces, so we're not fully cloud-enabled, but that's the direction we're heading," said Sadri Behbahany, senior director of IT at Wacom, which makes tablet input devices.

This article, "Cloud computing underwhelms PHP developers," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter.

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