Developers Churn Out More Cloud Apps, But Security Concerns Linger
A market survey of more than 400 public cloud developers found that they are releasing applications with greater frequency, the cloud creates more opportunities for collaboration and that security is often an afterthought in the public cloud.
Market researcher Evans Data Corp said the greater frequency of cloud application updates reflects steadily improving software quality as opposed to traditional approaches like software patches and service packs previously downloaded to software used in datacenters.
The survey found that more than one-quarter of developers are releasing updates of their cloud applications on a daily basis while 37 percent are releasing new versions at least once a week. The increased frequency of releases is attributed to greater flexibility that allows for minor tweaks to cloud applications as soon as they are written rather than bundling changes into larger files, Evans Data said.
More than 16 percent of respondents told Evans Data they update or release new versions of cloud applications at least once a month while the remaining 20.2 percent said they update apps less than once a month.
The flexibility that has created more opportunities to update apps and boost quality also promotes closer cooperation between application developers and other IT team members, the survey found. About 51 percent of those surveyed agreed that a cloud infrastructure encourages collaboration and improves developer operations.
Closer ties between developers and operation teams that deploy, run, and support applications results in "high-quality software," the market analyst found.
While the majority of developers surveyed said cloud computing improves IT coordination, nearly all of the remaining 49 percent of respondents said it either worsens, erodes, or has little or no impact on developer operations. Indeed, nearly half of the skeptics said coordination between developers and operators worsened in a cloud framework.
Among the top concerns for public cloud developers were scalability and security. "One of the criticisms enterprise IT has faced over the years is the fact that security often gets addressed too late in the application development process, before the right protocols and controls can be baked into the code," the survey concluded. "This continues to be a problem in the cloud era."
The tendency is for security to become a prime concern only when public cloud applications are actually being built. During earlier stages of development, when deployment is still a year away, developers tend to be more concerned with reliability, scaling, and vendor lock-in.
Developers focused on ensuring that cloud applications functioned properly tend not to worry about security until apps or services are about to be rolled out, the survey concluded. Security concerns were highest among those respondents who had no immediate plans to develop applications in a public cloud environment, presumably giving them the time to consider the big-picture concerns like cloud security.
Worries about scaling applications in the public cloud were greatest among developers preparing to deploy applications (21.8 percent) or planning to over the next seven to 12 months (21.3 percent), Evans Data found.
Along with security, collaboration, and application updates, the survey also examined cloud computing issues related to private versus public clouds, private cloud management and datacenters, standards, tool use and which applications would move first to the cloud.