Survey: Cloud Dev Efforts on the Rise

The move to the Internet cloud will pick up steam in the next year for developers, according to a new survey from Santa Cruz, Calif.-based Evans Data Corp.

Nearly half (48 percent plus) of the 500-plus developers surveyed expects to deploy private cloud applications in the coming year. Development for the cloud is also happening now. More than 29 percent said they are currently building applications for a private cloud.

Evans Data announced some of the results on Tuesday, but the company's "Cloud Development Survey 2009" publication is expected to be released sometime next week. The survey also examines public cloud trends among developers.

About 48 percent of developers are using Java for cloud development, with C# coming in as the second language of choice, according to the survey. Half of those surveyed are using Amazon's suite of cloud services.

"Private clouds seem to be appealing for the easier methods of deploying and automating software delivery rather than the elasticity, and different pricing, that drove the initial fervor in public clouds," commented Michael Cote, software industry analyst for Redmonk, in an e-mail.

He noted that the migration path for development in the cloud appears similar to the adoption of virtualization by the development community. That is, cloud development began with experimentation, and has since moved on to secondary applications. The next step will be the development of true mission-critical applications for the cloud, Cote said.

Michael Dortch, acting director of research at Focus, said he was not surprised by the number of developers moving into the cloud environment.

"Frankly, I'm surprised it's only 48 percent of developers, given that software as a service and other cloud-based elements are the only piece of the current software marketplace showing consistent, significant growth," he said, in an e-mail.

Economic conditions are driving companies to look for cost savings in hardware and software deployments typically associated with SaaS or cloud-based services, according to Dortch.

"The ability to consume business-enabling IT resources as needed and on demand provides these and other benefits, which is why SaaS and the cloud are so popular among users and developers alike," Dortch said.

Today's cloud computing use amounts to an implementation of best practices, explained David Hakala, a colleague at Focus. And so far, it has been limited to simpler applications such as CRM.

"Extremely complex custom applications that provide competitive advantage, such as a travel reservation system, can't be implemented on a cloud's paradoxically flexible yet rigid platform," Hakala stated in an article. "In the future, though, cloud computing vendors will make their applications more customizable by end users. Then corporations will move mission-critical unique applications into the cloud."

Dortch said there is a continued concern about information security, reliability of resource access and vendor stability that have driven many larger cloud adopters to build private clouds, or use private cloud services from the likes of IBM or Amazon.

However, as cloud development evolves, and as hybrid public/private clouds emerge, there may be a business risk in cloud migration strategies, according to Cote.

"The buying community is setting themselves up for another cloud spending moment once they decide public clouds are okay and move from private clouds," Cote said. "While security and regulatory concerns are very real, companies would do well to spend time asserting how they might skip some of their computing needs over the public clouds and avoid paying twice for everything."

About the Author

Herb Torrens is an award-winning freelance writer based in Southern California. He managed the MCSP program for a leading computer telephony integrator for more than five years and has worked with numerous solution providers including HP/Compaq, Nortel, and Microsoft in all forms of media.