Software development in the cloud: Benefits and challenges

The majority of developers are probably still writing their source code locally. Even though the “where” is not that important, many have started to notice benefits of software development in the cloud. When compared to locally, a developer can be quicker and more flexible during the process if working in the cloud. So, what are the main advantages and disadvantages of software development in the cloud?

Different cloud hosting services

They provide hosting on virtual servers that pull their computing resource from comprehensive underlying networks of physical web servers. Businesses can decide what they need and pay only for what they actually use. They can access cloud hosting services at any time, so they don’t have any extra costs such as additional capacity.

There are two main categories of cloud hosting services — public and private. Their main difference is in the level of security provided for their users. Various cloud hosting services are depending on business requirements. When trying to choose the best one, businesses should check the advantages and disadvantages of their preferred service. For instance, cloud hosting for web resellers would be an effective solution for small agencies, marketers and business owners. However, businesses that require a high level of security should look more into private cloud hosting services.

What do cloud service providers offer to developers?

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There are several reasons why developers are embracing writing codes in the cloud. However, it’s important to note that cloud platforms are not as recent concepts as some might think. Actually, Microsoft Azure has been on the market for more than 10 years. It started as basic storage and compute platform and become so much more than that. Amazon Web Services has been around even longer than that.

Here are some of the benefits cloud service providers offer to developers:

  • Compute. It provides the ability to run applications and services on systems of a cloud provider. That way, developers have computing power without having to invest in their own servers.
  • Container support. It includes the ability to host and run containers.
  • Content delivery. It includes the ability to distribute content and placing objects on the cloud edge.
  • Database services. They include scalable databases and services with features like SSD storage for fast access, data redundancy and pipelines, and others.
  • Machine learning. Services that are helping to drive machine learning and artificial intelligence are one of the latest additions for many cloud providers.
  • Management. Cloud services and functions have increased and, consequently, the option to control and manage these services has been added.
  • Mobile services. They provide access to configure mobile apps and work with their features such as notification services, data storage, user authentication, and others.
  • Website management. Many cloud providers offer the ability to manage DNS and web services, and even web hosting.

Software development in the cloud: Benefits

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The cloud provides a few unique benefits for developers that can help them in their operations. To get the most out of business technology, it’s vital to understand both the benefits and obstacles of cloud computing. However, there are much more advantages than disadvantages. For the majority of businesses, costs are one of the key factors when deciding whether to implement a solution or not.

Cloud computing is cost-effective as it enables businesses to save enormous capital cost with zero in-house server storage and application requirements. Also, not having on-premises infrastructure eliminates their associated operational costs such as administration costs, power, and air conditioning. With cloud computing, businesses pay for what they use and stop engaging whenever they want. One of the biggest myths about cloud services is that they’re too expensive so small businesses can’t afford them. Actually, they’re quite affordable for smaller businesses.

Besides cost savings, another significant benefit for developers and businesses is reliability. Indeed, cloud computing is more reliable when compared to an in-house IT infrastructure. In cases of server failure, hosted applications, and services can be transited to any of the available services with ease. Cloud computing provides much more enhanced and simplified IT management and developers enjoy a simple web-based user interface for accessing software, applications, and services. Computing resources that just keep increasing are providing businesses with a competitive edge over their competitors. Developers can deploy mission-critical applications which deliver immense business benefits without any upfront costs minimal provisioning time. Other important benefits, especially for developers, are faster and simpler access to central services, no bottlenecks, scalability, redundancy, and disaster recovery.

Challenges

The biggest disadvantage that most of the developers will name when talking about the weak sides of software development in the cloud is the occasional outages and downtime. Consequently, business processes can be temporarily suspended. Not to mention that without an Internet connection, developers can’t access any of the applications or data from the cloud.

Even though cloud services have the best security standards when compared to other solutions, there is still a long way to go to ensure the highest level of security. There is always a risk with storing data and essential files on external service providers. If a company has chosen cloud computing, they will need to provide its service provider with access to their important data. This vulnerability can lead to serious security issues. Another thing to consider is the level of flexibility of cloud services. Providers like to highlight it when talking about using and integrating cloud services, but switching services is a whole another story. Businesses might find it challenging to migrate their services from one provider to another as they can face support issues and interoperability.

There is also limited control as one of the obstacles when talking about software development in the cloud. Service providers entirely own, manage, and monitor the cloud infrastructure leaving very little room for users to control it. That way, businesses can’t manage the backend infrastructure as they can only control and manage the applications, data, and services which are operated on top of that.

With so many cloud service providers, we can only expect to see more improvements in this field. Seeing security as a critical issue, companies will have to decide what option is the best for their business and their security. But, before making that decision, they should be aware of all advantages and disadvantages as this decision will directly affect their business.

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