Software development in the cloud: Benefits and challenges

Software development in the cloud: Benefits and challenges

Firms have utilized an increased number of Cloud solutions in recent years, according to recent research regarding cloud services, nearly one-third of a firm’s IT spending goes to cloud-based platforms.

The market size of cloud services is estimated to grow at a rate as high as three times the total IT services in 2022 (source). Infrastructure providers have proved their popularity in diverse areas. The areas include word processing, financial accounting features, inventory management, e-mail, and other services.

What is Cloud?

A system operated by a third party that provides data processing, access to data services, and software. Cloud-based systems are independent of configuration and physical location. Wikipedia defines cloud computing as the availability of data centers and computing resources over the internet. These computing resources are available on demand, without user management of user.

What are the types of cloud?

Cloud services have been categorized as public and private. The types are based on the level of security provided to the users. Services that are available over the public internet are called public cloud. In this type of cloud service, anyone can have access to the services provided by third parties. Public cloud services use different financial models, and they may charge money depending on the usage (storage or bandwidth).

The Public cloud computing market is expected to grow to $330 billion in 2020 (source).

Statistics released by Forbes show that 41% of the workload will be performed on public platforms through the current year.

Private cloud services, on the other hand, is a collection of resources shared among different organizations over public internet but with a certain level of segregation. These systems provide greater security than public cloud services. Firms should take into account their size and goals, among many other factors to decide which type of cloud services they are going to use.

A recent study has concluded that firms, on average, use 1427 different cloud based services (source).

Statistics revealed by Forbes have confirmed that 20% of the workload is done on private ones.

What are the types of cloud services?

Here are three main types of cloud services:

  • PaaS (Platform as a Service): A platform where software is developed, deployed, and tested. Application development platforms such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon web service lie in this category.
  • SaaS (Software as a Service): Softwares that serve as a service in the virtual environment e.g. e-mail and data storage. These services are accessed by web browsers or a smaller application.
  • Iaas (Infrastructure as a Service): A space for computing resources on the internet.

Software development in the cloud:

A recent development in the IT industry is the provision of infrastructure for the development of customized software. You can develop innovative business solution applications and run on cloud platforms. Anyone can utilize this cloud-based application development platform and run from anywhere around the globe.

Most of the developers might be developing software locally on their systems; still, they must have heard about this excellent opportunity to use computing technology for developing, deploying, and maintaining software through the internet. This internet-based service is a shift in the paradigm of software development.

Microsoft has entered this paradigm with a cloud operating system, which provides the development and management of applications off-premises. This service platform offering was launched more than ten years ago, it's called Microsoft Azure. It started as a storage platform, and other features were added later on. A recent report by Forbes concluded that more than 70% of CFOs consider cloud computing technology to have a significant impact on their business. On the other hand, Software experts insist upon looking into the benefits and challenges mindfully before adopting cloud-based application development platforms. Here are some essential points to be considered.

Benefits:

Less cost:

Software development in the cloud lowers down the costs of deploying and maintaining inhouse hardware and software infrastructure. Firms don't have to hire large IT teams to support in-premises computational platforms. Moreover, operational costs, such as power and air conditioning, are eliminated. Firms have to pay only for the services they use.  

Improved IT and business agility:

Firms can respond to external threats and opportunities rapidly as they don't have to make high investments for on-premises infrastructure. They can use any service they find useful and can access cloud-based service at any time from anywhere around the globe.

Reliability:

Another advantage of application development on the cloud is the provision of alternative systems in case of system failure. Cloud-based application development platforms are more reliable because services can be shifted to other available service providers.

Simple user interface:

Application development servers provide a web-based user interface that is simple and user-friendly.

Faster accessibility:

Developers can bypass the most complicated issues like scalability, failure recovery, and redundancy. This makes the development process quicker and less complicated.

Besides the overwhelming advantages of cloud-based software development infrastructures, few challenges are needed to be considered.

Challenges:

Downtime:

Firms are dependent on third-party remote servers throughout the development and testing process; in case of outage or downtime, tasks are suspended. Consequently, the delay can incur a considerable cost.

Security:

 Although cloud-based services ensure a high level of security while handling important data of firms, firms still experience risks as critical information is handed over to remote service providers.    

Support issues:

Businesses might find it challenging to migrate their services from one provider to another as they can face support issues and interoperability.

Staff training:

Proper training of employees is needed to get the best services from remote servers in every possible way. A statement has been released by Manoj Karanth, general manager and head of cloud computing at Mindtree. He emphasized the need to invest in training employees to optimize cloud-based development.

With the growing number of IT firms adopting cloud services, 83% of the workloads are being transmitted to third party infrastructures. Forbes has confirmed this percentage. On the other hand, the workload done on in-house enterprise servers has decreased from 37% to 27%.

IT experts have stressed the importance of professional training to master the knowledge and skills for implementing cloud-based development. Fortunately, courses and certifications to excel in Microsoft Azure development server and Amazon Web services are there, which will surely have an impact on the profitability of firms. 

Summary:

  • Increasing numbers of firms have shifted from on-premises IT infrastructures to cloud based platforms.
  • Some of the benefits are low cost, improved business agility, reliability, and faster accessibility.
  • On the other hand, risks of security breaches and increased downtime are a few of the disadvantages of application development on cloud platforms.
  • IT experts insist on extensive training courses like azure development certification, azure developer training, and azure certification to benefit from excellent development servers available on the cloud.