A lot has been written about the impact of cloud computing – on-demand with massive virtualization – on deployment of services and, perhaps more importantly, the reduced cost to market of Web-based businesses, thus spurring significant entrepreneurship.
An interesting side impact is the effect on the rate of technology change. New technology platforms, and especially software platforms and frameworks, are developed and released all of the time. Yet, there is usually a relatively slow uptake on these new technologies. It takes time for people to hear about them, go up the learning curve, find projects in which to use them, and then, perhaps most painfully, find the infrastructure on which to deploy them.
The advent of many Internet platforms – blogs, Twitter for microblogging, user groups – has increased the speed of knowledge propagation. However, I would argue that the dramatically reduced cost of getting infrastructure on which to run and try a new platform is one of the single biggest factors in adoption. Quite simply, when you can try some new platform for a few dollars or less, you are far more likely to try it, and quickly discard the ones that do not solve any problems while adopting (and advocating for) those that do.
In the words of Deep Throat… “follow the money.”