The Evolution of Application Development in the Cloud

Michael Vizard

Slowly but surely, application development in the cloud is gaining momentum.

A survey of 400 developers by Evans Data released this week ranks IBM at the top of a heap of providers of cloud computing services for developers. Now while it's a little early to anoint winners in this emerging category, it's interesting how quickly IT organizations are warming up to application development in the cloud.

According to Dave Locke, IBM worldwide marketing manager for Rational software, customers are still a little skittish when it comes to developing and testing applications in the cloud. They are past the stage of putting their toe in the water, he said, but few are any more than ankle deep in terms of adoption.

Long term, Locke expects that hybrid models will predominate when it comes to application development in the cloud, with most customers initially seeing the cloud as an on-demand extension of their existing application development environments that can be called upon to handle spikes in application workloads.

But over time, Locke says that customers also will come to discover that cloud computing services such as the ones provided by IBM are both inherently more secure than their own application development facilities, and that collaborating with other partners is a lot easier to accomplish on a cloud platform than trying to share access to software running on internal IT servers over a virtual private network.

In addition, cloud computing platforms are more amenable to dealing with transient developers that tend to come and go during the course of any given project.

Finally, Locke notes that in the future, most applications will be designed to run on a cloud computing platform. So to truly replicate those environments, the applications themselves should be developed on a cloud platform in the first place.

In short, it may take a little while longer for application development in the cloud to go mainstream. But once it does; it will do so with a vengeance.

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