Bifurcation of IT in the cloud age challenges IT service providers

Posted by Mike Vizard on Aug 20, 2015 9:58:37 AM

Developers at workPopular wisdom holds that most of the application workloads running on public clouds involve application development and testing. But the latest “State of the Developer Nation” report, based on a global survey of 13,000 developers conducted by the market research firm VisionMobile, finds that most of them still prefer to develop applications inside their local data centers.

Given the fact that the majority of the developers surveyed were relatively modest in size, the survey also suggests that cloud computing, at least for the time being, is starting to bifurcate the developer community in a way that will make it more expensive in the years ahead for IT service providers to manage both applications running on premise and in the cloud.

Developers moving away from public cloud

The survey finds that nearly half of developers (44 percent) use a private cloud platform running on premise for application development. This is compared to 16 percent for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and 13 percent for Microsoft Azure.

The primary reasons that developers are continuing to eschew the public cloud appear to be concerns about security and the simple fact that on-premise systems make it simpler to build an application. In particular, on-premise systems make it easier to build an application that needs to be integrated with the same systems and databases where it is most likely to be deployed in production.

Of course, a study of this size is going to be skewed toward small independent developers. More than half of mobile developers (51 percent) and well over half of Internet of Things developers (59 percent) aren’t making enough money (less than $500 a month) to be considered professional developers.

It's a hybrid cloud computing world

Nevertheless, IT service providers should take note that despite the rate of growth of AWS and Microsoft Azure, not all application workloads are heading into the cloud any time soon. For all intents and purposes, it will be a hybrid cloud computing world for years to come.

The challenge IT service providers face is that it’s likely to be years before the management of any of those clouds is unified. The new IT reality is defined by a series of semi-autonomous clouds, each with their own management framework that needs to be mastered. From a cost perspective, that means IT services providers can expect to be required to master at least two or three separate management frameworks in the age of the cloud.

For example, on-premise systems are still dominated by VMware and all its associated management frameworks. In the cloud, it appears that some variant of the open source OpenStack cloud management framework will dominate. In both cases, IT service providers will also have to contend with new architectures based on micro-services that more than likely will require mastering the open source Kubernetes framework for managing Docker containers as well.

What IT service providers need to know

The end result, despite advances in IT automation, is that it’s becoming more expensive to be an IT service provider. Legacy applications running on premise are not likely to be retired any time soon. Instead, more applications than ever are being deployed in the cloud and on premise. There’s no doubt that the growth in the number of applications that need to be managed is a good thing for IT service providers. But IT service providers should now take note of the fact that the total cost of addressing that opportunity is rising just as steadily.

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Photo Credit: Robert Lowe on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0 license. 

Topics: IT Services Trends

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