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PaaS vs. Managed Virtualization

The idea of using the cloud for development is good in theory, but it can be cost-prohibitive

I’ve been reading a few discussions on how to more effectively manage development of a Flex project. And the reason many are looking for a solution has nothing to do with Flex, per say, but has more to do with the complexity of our development environments.

The hidden reason is cost. Cost for setting up each developer environment. Cost of licenses.

The bigger reason is, or should be, security.

Enter Platform as a Service (PaaS) to the conversation.

Although the idea of using the cloud for development is good in theory, it can be cost prohibitive. Here is why:

• The cost of using the cloud. In reality, you’ll end up spending around $1k per computing instance per year. i.e. per developer

• You still have to license any development tools for each developer seat. Check your EULA, they typically address ways of circumventing license requirements via virtualization.

You do get the benefit of quickly setting up an environment for a team. But lets face it, the only real benefit is the level of security in that your code base is never on someone’s laptop. Don’t get me wrong… this is a really big benefit!

From my research, I would recommend VMware ACE instead of PaaS. VMware ACE allows you to provision standardized client PC environments inside secure, centrally managed virtual machines called ACEs. Each ACE contains a complete client PC—including the operating system and all applications. Administrators use the dynamic policy configuration capabilities in ACE to lock down endpoints with device and network access control, there by protecting confidential company data and ensuring compliance with IT polices. You will get security through a managed virtual machine and the ability to quickly deploy a “ready to go” environment for your developers.
No, its not cheap. But it is way less expensive than the cloud with the equal benefits.

I know this because I’m looking into these tools in order to manage our training facility where we teach ColdFusion, Flex and LiveCycle.

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Rob Rusher is an Adobe Certified Expert (ACE), Community Expert, and Certified Instructor (ACI). In his role as Principle Consultant for On3, he leads an Adobe software enablement practice to help his clients build rich Internet applications and to rapidly increase their knowledge and skills to better support their organization's goals. He has taught and mentored the technical teams at Standard and Poor’s, eBay, IBM Global Services, the Social Security Administration, and other Government and Fortune 100 organizations.

Because of his depth of knowledge and long standing relationship with Adobe, Rob was selected to write the Certified AIR training course as well as the ColdFusion and Flex certification exams. Rob has also co-authored four best selling books on building secure, cutting-edge and rapidly developed applications using Adobe AIR, ColdFusion and Flex. He is also very active is organizing and speaking at Adobe conferences and user groups. In addition to growing his software consulting practice, On3, Rob has been building expertise in rich client application development on a wider variety of devices and platforms that extend the applications to change the way we all create and live.

On3 provides consulting, mentoring and training services to help organizations grow their own experts from within. For more information, visit us at www.On3solutions.com. Rob Rusher maintains a weblog devoted to Adobe Flex and other Internet technologies at www.RobRusher.com.

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