Awhile ago I tried reading about Google App Engine, from its site and from the Wikipedia article. What I realized was that not only did I not understand what it did, I didn't even know what problem it was solving.

I am a competent programmer in a variety of languages, but I have little experience with large frameworks. Is there a book/site that explains cloud computing in a way similar to how "Programming with POSIX Threads" explains threading, ie identifying specific problems and the mechanics of how they are solved, from a programmer's perspective?

I tend to be a low-level bits-bytes-and-memory-addresses sort of person, so abstract explanations of the architecture tend to give me a giddy and uneasy feeling. I suppose cloud computing can't be understood at the byte-level, but the lower down it is the better I'll understand it.

1 Answer 1


Your question is not about Architecture, you need to understand what cloud computing is. Since you mentioned about Google Appengine, I answer the question from web application developer point of view.

What does cloud mean for a web application developer: A web application developer can use the infrastructure provided by companies like Amazon, Google as a service. Like electricity you pay only for what you use. If you ever had to administer a set of web servers yourself you will be able to see the "problem". The problem of maintaining a set of webservers and scaling is solved by these service providers.

A simple analogy to explain cloud computing is electricity. You don't generate electricity for your home needs, instead you pay for your use. It reduces lot of overhead and allows you to do what you want to do. Similarly in cloud computing you pay only for the computing power you use.

Key players in cloud computing market are

  1. Amazon - Amazon webservices
  2. Google - Google Appengine
  3. Microsoft - Windows Azure

For me concept of cloud computing is not new, its an age old concept. Its just that marketed as cloud computing.

  • upvoted for 'electricity' example
    – iuq
    Jun 29, 2015 at 6:30

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