There’s been a lot of talk recently about the NSA’s Internet spying program. By now, you’ve heard all about it, so I won’t go into too much of the details. Suffice it to say that the NSA is reading everyone’s e-mails and checking everyone’s phone records.
Now, just saying that is a loaded statement. Just because the NSA can capture all of that data doesn’t mean it can make sense of it in a timely fashion. Really, I’m envisioning a great big Google-like cluster where users can search for things, but the idea of monitoring huge swaths of people on a daily, instant-to-instant basis, is most likely not how things work.
Still, others in the technology journalism world are questioning whether or not this whole development will kill the United States’ cloud hosting businesses. The answer is: of course not. Sure, the idea that the government is watching and reading everything going into or out of AWS is disturbing, but at the same time, in business, this isn’t enough to drive your company overseas.
Frankly, there’s only one takeaway I see for developers here: Be ready to spread your apps around the globe. These NSA revelations probably won’t do a whole lot of damage to American hosting; there are so many well-heeled customers here in the U.S. that hosting outside its borders would quickly yield Web slowdowns that would hurt business.
But that’s not to say that everyone hosting in an American cloud shouldn’t have a backup. And that’s why I’m advocating for developers to be ready for multi-cloud, multi-continent deployments. Many developers are already doing just this.
So if you’ve got a Java app, take a gander at JRebel and ZeroTurnaround. Put some time in with Amazon’s zones and replication controls. Be sure you’ve got everything structured so that it can be yanked out of one cloud and spun up in another with minimum fuss.
While the NSA’s wiretapping might not be the worst thing you have to deal with as a developer, the independent nature of the entrepreneur is sure to produce at least a few bosses who burst into their development rooms demanding a cloud shift to something outside the U.S. Whether this is actually necessary or not is irrelevant. At this point, just be ready to move at the drop of a hat.