Application composability – a cloud computing perspective

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Let’s remember the time in the 2000s when companies introduced their cloud computing offerings at a large scale. New services were put into the popular IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS categories. New kinds of storage and messaging technologies were promoted. Also, novel approaches were discussed, such as designing applications for horizontal scalability and eventual consistency. People were excited when Netflix – at that time, a business popular for selling and renting DVDs – began to migrate their business of streaming videos onto the AWS platform in 2008.

If Netflix could run their business on AWS with their massive amount of video data, the thinking went, then cloud computing would be useful for many other businesses as well.

Netflix in Hollywood as seen by Cameron Venti The intermodal container

Back then, there was concern about the ability to migrate cloud applications between platforms as the industry feared a lock-in to particular cloud vendors. Projects started to work on solutions that would mitigate vendor lock-in. But it took years for these solutions to make cloud applications vendor-independent from the platforms they are hosted on.

To explain the need for – and value of – these solutions, the community settled on the metaphor of shipping containers. Shipping containers existed for more than a century, however, worldwide standardisation was initially missing. In the 1950s, standardisation kicked in, and it freed huge efficiency gains across the entire logistics chain: trailers, cranes, cars of trains, and ships were capable of transporting the


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