Cloud and DevOps are almost a match made in heaven. Cloud started truly gaining steam in the age of DevOps and Agile, and has adapted – or grown up in it – well, depending on your viewpoint. If not for the combined issues of data gravity and data (im)mobility, we might have gone even farther than we did into the cloudy world.
Targeting cloud is not so much about language as it is DevOps tooling, though. All of the major Git companies have cloud-centric extensions (this is the core of GitOps) that raise the level of “fully automated.” Cloud environments, by their nature, provide APIs for infrastructure, and the Git vendors (and many, many others) have hooked into those APIs to make deployment an integrated part of DevOps at a level of detail that other environments (with the exception of containers) require a lot of work to match.
The negative to cloud-centric development is lock-in, of course. Creating an entire DevOps toolchain and process that supports vendor X will not work directly with vendor Y. Tools can help with this issue, but the real solution is in our next installment – container development.
The part of development that arguably benefits the most from cloud-centric development is testing. It is easier to spin up a test environment as-needed and spin it back down when testing is done – no need for a spare set of hardware or a stand-alone VM server; just redirect the DevOps ecosystem and spin it up, then account for data (scrubbing, copying, etc), and you’re off. Codify the steps for data, and you have a re-spinnable environment for test-on-demand.
The part of cloud that is arguably the weakest is security. Let’s face it, far more of your infrastructure is publicly (or semi-publicly, if running in a VPC) exposed than in a data center. There are far more places to lock down, and a sometimes-bewildering number of options to secure. But the flexibility of pay-as-you-grow makes it an appealing option, and there are tools to help manage all those lockdown points. Just make sure that you’re not the weak point in the shared security model.
Cloud makes a lot of things easier, and Node makes development of any step in the stack easier by using the same underlying language on the server that is used in browsers and in many mobile development platforms. Node “feels” more right for web development, at least because one connection, one call … even if it makes long-running processes require a bit more work.
Whatever you choose, pay attention to how deeply invested in the cloud vendor’s proprietary interfaces you are, because, like all technical decisions, one day you or your replacement will have to get around those interfaces. And keep making the software the org needs.