Drupal's Destiny in the Cloud

Forty years ago software ran on mainframes. In the eighties it moved to the personal computer. Right now, before our eyes, it is moving to the internet (or 'the cloud' if you will). Of course, this will create a spectacle. Over the next decade we will witness Microsoft grapple with fate — licensing software in boxes is a dying business — and Google's presumed ascendancy when much of the world's information moves online. But this isn't simply the titanic clash of industry giants battling it out for market share. The technology industry is not continuously overturned only by faster processing and the ongoing invention of new tools. Rather, the real uprooting is accomplished by disruptive new models for doing business with technology.

New models always seem outlandish at first. When IBM allowed Microsoft the licensing rights to resell DOS on commodity PC hardware, it had no idea it was giving away the keys to a kingdom which at the time existed only in Bill Gates' head. One billion PCs later, it is Microsoft stumbling into the new computing model's market with a product they pay more to create feature by feature than their start up competition does.

Folks out here call these cycles of technology "waves". For Drupal, I would call it a massive opportunity. Like any bell curve of adoption, what happened last year is approximately 1/4th as interesting as what happens next year. And what is happening in the coming years with commercially available "cloud hosting" services such as Amazon EC2 will be integral to the future model of delivering software and services over the internet.

These new services aren't just cheaper and easier to use than commodity hosting servers, most importantly they are imminently hackable. Suddenly it doesn't seem so outlandish that our Drupal, the same one that can get the job done on GoDaddy if needed, could soon run and scale on the same infrastructure powering the top websites in the world.

And if Drupal could do that... what else could it do?