Enterprise application development has undergone a radical transformation, thanks to cloud based application development approaches.
According to IDC, cloud computing is the ‘third platform’, with each platform referencing a visible technology shift. The ‘first platform’ comprised of mainframes and terminals, the ‘second platform’ being the client-server model supported by PCs. The definition of the third platform is a bit broader than the previous two platforms, since it straddles both software as well as hardware aspects, with additional layers of mobile computing, cloud computing services, social network integration and big data analytics also finding place in the technology model. According to IDC, between 2013 through 2020, these technologies will drive around 90% of all growth in the IT market.
IDCs predictions are broadly in the right direction: the IT industry is undergoing a paradigm shift – with cloud application development services easily being one of the important drivers. The global cloud application services market is believed to reach US$127 billion by 2017, and its rise has proved to be a boon to companies gripped in a tough recession state.
The growth of cloud application development services has touched almost all segments of business: government, private, SMB, academic. This impact has been made possible by a myriad of cloud computing models:
- Public cloud: Paradigm where all computing infrastructure is on the public cloud
- Private cloud: Computing infrastructure is on a cloud within administrative control of the enterprise
- Hybrid cloud: A mix of public and private cloud approaches
Apart from the computing models, a multitude of well-defined cloud computing offerings have facilitated extensive adoption of cloud application development
- SaaS: Offers software application packages on the cloud
- PaaS: Offers a complete platform on the cloud, typically industry specific
- Infrastructure as a Service, IaaS: Offers computing resources (CPU cycles) on the cloud
- Security as a service
- Database as a service
(The above list not exhaustive; many cloud offerings are rolled out by technology startups, small businesses, most of whose business models are completely or predominantly built on the cloud computing model!)
The growth of cloud computing has been spearheaded by, among others, Microsoft, Google and Amazon. So much has been their impact that organizations rooted in their traditional enterprise computing mindset have had no option but to sit up, take notice, and incorporate cloud computing offerings into their offerings. Prominent examples are Hewlett Packard and IBM: not only are they offering cloud services, they are embracing the open-source concept. This is a huge cultural shift for both organizations and shows that all directions point towards the cloud.
Another important trend that is picking up among the user community is the role of cloud services brokerage. According to the information technology research and advisory firm Gartner, “by the end of 2015, 20% of all cloud services is supposed to have been consumed via an internal or external cloud services brokerage.” Enterprises and even government agencies will no longer be left with the task of just identifying partners for their cloud application development journey; they would have a brokerage or solutions driven firm, which takes care of this aspect considering the deeper understanding of specific aspects of their business and that too with a long term perspective.
Finally, cloud application development will also influence a visible socio-cultural shift in academia: Management programs will soon offer a cloud program to augment their curriculum and competitiveness. There are several MBA programs devoted to Business Analytics, and the inclusion of cloud computing is an eventuality waiting to happen!