The Practical cloud computing proposal is starting to gain momentum, given the number of followers.

There's bound to be discussions around the scope of such a site, so let's get things going...

There have previously been proposals for vendor-specific cloud sites:

  • AWS: Proposed Q&A site for Developers, IT Professionals and Enterprise/Solution/Domain Architects working on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud platform
  • Azure: Proposed Q&A site for developers , IT Pro's, Enterprise/Solution/Domain Architects, DevOps working on the Azure Cloud platform

While each of these could gain sufficient support individually, there are some benefits to having a multi-technology "Cloud Computing" site:

  • The various clouds (AWS, Azure, Eucalyptus, OpenStack, Apache CloudStack, Joyent) have many similarities
  • Participants may be able to answer questions across multiple technologies, thus building up their reputation rather than spreading it across multiple sites
  • The site will attract more activity, making it easier to pass hurdles for new StackExchange sites
  • The StackExchange overlords will have a larger pool of participants to attract advertising, thus increasing longevity of the site
  • Participants might ask multi-cloud questions (eg "Which cloud technology can do this?") that would normally be out-of-scope for a single technology, but would be in-scope for a general Cloud Computing site

While I'm pretty active on StackOverflow answering AWS questions, I can see the benefit of having a wider Cloud Computing site, even if only for concentrating reputation on fewer sites. Given appropriate use of tags, I don't see a problem with combining technologies -- it happens already on StackOverflow.

So, some questions:

  • Do any followers of this proposal have any problem with it being a multi-technology / multi-vendor site?
  • Are there any clarifications we should add to the Scope to help differentiate it from other sites (eg StackOverflow, UserFault, SuperUser)?
  • Is there enough general understanding around the term "Cloud Computing" to consider it to be a sufficient scope definition, or do we need a better definition to define the extent of the site?
  • Would it also be a venue to discuss third-party solutions (eg RightScale, Cloudberry products, Orbitera) that manage cloud resources or work in-conjunction with cloud services?

In general, I think a platform-agnostic scope is much better suited to the StackExchange platform. Between broad questions, concentration of activity, and the likelihood of someone finding what they're looking for through Google, a multi-technology cloud site will serve users better.

Addressing the specific scope questions:

  • I would prefer a multi-technology / multi-vendor site.
  • Some clarification may be required to separate Cloud Computing from Server Fault, Unix & Linux, and Stack Overflow. Those sites are currently where most cloud-related questions are asked, and there is some overlap. Perhaps it will be enough to describe this site as a Q&A site related to cloud platforms -- questions that are specifically concerned with the comparison, application, or use of cloud technologies belong here. Questions that are less concerned with that topic and relate more to topics covered on other sites should go to those respective sites, but I can see the overlap becoming confusing. I'm not sure how that divide can be clarified succinctly. It may have to be handled on a case-by-case basis. For example:
    • "What are the differences between Azure Cloud Functions and AWS Lambda?" - this is clearly related to cloud technologies.
    • "How can I alter my AWS Lambda function to use this library properly?" - this is less certain; it may end up being related to cloud tech, but it's more likely a programming problem.
    • "Why does my AWS Lambda function fail with the error _____?" - this is a tossup between cloud technology or programming, but that can't be determined by the person asking the question.
  • As above, I think there's enough general understanding to consider it good enough as a scope definition. I'm not sure there is a scope definition that would cover the inevitable overlap between cloud technology and other subjects without being too verbose.
  • I think it should also include discussions on third-party solutions, as long as those discussions remain related to the use of cloud platforms in general.

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