ESRI UC Cloud Tech Workshop
Just a few quick notes. Scott Morehouse gave a high level overview of ESRI’s take on the cloud. Depicted it as the next step in a natural evolution that began in mainframes, minis, workstations, PCs.
Three types of clouds:
Software as a Service (SaaS) (e.g. Salesforce)
Platform aaS (e.g. Azure)
Infrastructure aaS (e.g. Amazon EC2, S3)
While he only said the first two (SaaS and PaaS) were “interesting”, he later mentioned ESRI is actively experimenting with EC2/S3. I wonder if this means ESRI intends to build their own Infrastructure so as to provide a spatially enhanced Platform so upon which 3rd parties can build and sell their own apps?
Apps Need to be a Sellable Asset
The keynotes were really good yesterday. Hernando de Soto made a strong case for the importance of “sellable assets” for development. While he was speaking of developing nations, I think the same can be said of the geospatial software industry. There is little incentive for developers to post code at ArcScripts. We need to recognize that the tools developed by application programmers are a form of capital. The challenge is how to make them sellable assets. I think a marketplace for applications could be a part of a cloud. Let’s get back to basics. Years ago ESRI was always reminding people that GIS is a lot more than just data. Applications are another important part. The session seemed to place far more emphasis on all the cool new map services (data) than on applications. There was a demo of Business Analyst Online at the end. After the presentation, I asked Dirk Gorter if some day a 3rd party could develop something like the BAO app and deploy onto ESRI’s cloud where it could be capitalized. He said yes. I hope he understood my question clearly, there was the usual commotion of moving out for the next presenters to come in. More on this later.