More than 700 development professionals, managers, and senior leaders across 20 industries participating in a study by Techstrong Research say that the cloud landscape is changing as buyers increasingly put the developer experience on the same footing as core technical and performance capabilities of cloud infrastructure services.
In the Techstrong Research report, “Q3 2022 DevOps and the Public Cloud: The Move to the Distributed Cloud”, respondents focused on their eventual move to the distributed cloud as both a means to provide a global and scalable cloud platform as well as a developer-friendly environment that enables faster and cheaper application deployment than traditional hosting platforms. The report was commissioned by Akamai.
The report underscores three major trends:
First, as cloud consumption continues to scale, cloud platforms must have global reach, significant outbound network capacity, and high data security capabilities. Cloud buyers will consider multicloud architecture to reduce reliance on a specific cloud provider. Still, they need to do sufficient due diligence because migrating between cloud platforms is expensive and time-consuming. Price-performance is the top reason to consider adding another cloud provider, so cloud providers must be wary of saddling customers with an ever-expanding monthly cloud bill. Re-platforming is expensive, but so is staying on a cloud provider that doesn’t aggressively follow the technology commodity curve.
Second, the next battle in the cloud wars will be fought by cloud platforms striving to appeal to, and win the hearts of, developers. This constituency requires ease of use, simplicity, and programmability from the platforms where they deploy their applications. That makes developer support a huge factor in a cloud provider’s ability to meet the needs of these teams as toolkits, APIs, easily integrated PaaS services, and a thriving ecosystem of pre-integrated third-party add-ons accelerate the developer’s ability to deploy quickly and reliably. Technical support must be responsive and knowledgeable, as developers have little patience for infrastructure issues that hinder their ability to ship code.
Finally, these two trends will intersect as organizations increasingly look for a global cloud platform with sophisticated edge computing capabilities. Providers with these capabilities will need to control a large global network to cost-effectively deliver these services and a value-added set of application services to allow developers to deploy their applications as close to the users as possible.
“The results of this study indicate that global, distributed edge cloud will favor a new class of cloud providers, to help organizations scale their application environments, support API-first software designs, facilitate integration with PaaS and third-party add-ons and assist customers in leveraging to modern deployment platform like Kubernetes,” said Mike Rothman, General Manager of Techstrong Research. “These distributed cloud providers go beyond the alternative clouds by having the scale and support to accelerate the migration to a global, cloud-native application environment without the complexity and cost of the legacy hyperscalers.”
The research found that the key criteria for selecting cloud providers have remained consistent:
DIY with control: Respondents want an easy-to-use, less complex environment that is secure and has the international security and compliance certifications to prove it. Security features accessible within applications remain the most important for organizations looking to switch cloud providers.
Global scale with large outbound network capacity: As businesses have globalized, the expectation is that cloud platforms will offer connectivity regardless of geographic location and at sufficient scale to meet an application’s peak usage needs. Re-platforming applications requires a significant investment to refactor the environment. Organizations are increasingly selecting their cloud providers based on their ability to meet their anticipated scale requirements.
Developer-centric: As developers (and DevOps professionals) increasingly weigh in on platforming decisions, key capabilities like open infrastructure, programmable APIs and self-service capabilities via CLI or a web interface are becoming key requirements.
Ability to distribute workloads to the edge: An emerging requirement, for sure, but bringing compute and data much closer to the ultimate consumer of applications will become increasingly important in a more remote and distributed world.
In April, Techstrong Research released a report on alternative cloud usage. That report, also commissioned by Akamai, highlights trends around multicloud and cloud technology as a part of enterprise infrastructure. Approximately 75% of survey respondents say that their IT infrastructure will be cloud-based by the end of this year. This is a double-digit increase over what was reported in Techstrong’s 2021 study. This continued and accelerating shift from on-premises to distributed, open, and heterogeneous environments is primarily driven by the need to add optionality and reduce costs, the survey found.
“Enterprises are discovering that the developer experience is as pivotal to success in the cloud as are core elements like performance, security, cost, service and global footprint to the edge,” said Blair Lyon, head of cloud experience at Akamai. “The findings of this research echo what our customers are telling us more and more: a developer-centric experience is a necessary part of an enterprise cloud.”