Survey after survey has revealed that, despite torrents of digital opportunities, enterprises are experiencing threats to both business success and the credibility of their IT organisations because they struggle to respond to those opportunities quickly enough. A solution to this existential dilemma exists – in the cloud.
It goes almost without saying that the correct response to speeding the dev-test cycle involves switching the approach to development from legacy-first to digital-first, and assuming that all solutions will be both cloud-based and designed for mobile. This converts into the ability to deliver what the business needs: faster time-to-market, increased productivity, agility, flexibility and lower costs.
Mobility, too, is a driver of change, in the sense that our expectations of being able to access data from anywhere, at any time, has implications for datacentre network design, security and a host of other issues.
Continuous app dev
Cloud computing is a key enabler of the more agile, more flexible enterprise, and the core of the concept is the continuous application development model. Not so much a single idea but a concept underpinned by processes, continuous application development cuts away the traditional method of code, build, integrate, test, release and deploy. Instead, applications are broken down into their constituent parts and iterated as required once testing is completed. The code testing process is fast because the pieces are small, which also means developers will find it easier to fix bugs while the code is fresh in their minds. So because each step is small, iterations move quickly through the development pipeline quickly.
Cloud enters the picture as a crucial component in the continuous development process. Among cloud computing’s key attributes is the ability to spin up new VM instances as required, providing near-instant access to resources. So, using cloud providers’ PaaS services, test departments can test quickly and cheaply. It also means that developers can consistently create, provision and configure environments to match a range of production environments for development and testing purposes.
The ability to create and configure environments quickly is doubly helpful when it comes to developing mobile version of enterprise applications, as this is an even faster-moving target for developers, with users now habituated to new versions arriving on a regular basis.
Dedicated development services
But cloud services now go further. Development houses and departments can now call upon developer-specific cloud services, such as tools that help to speed and automate application building, testing and deployment.
Such services can, for example, analyse a test matrix to automate the process of creating the right test environment for each job, and then execute the tests, reporting back on the results of each test run. Others can test the performance of your application, reporting back on the results of running under differing load scenarios, so enabling you to better assess whether your app is ready for release.
There’s no longer a need to physically build your own heterogeneous dev and test environment to match production environments. Now scalable, high-fidelity, dev-test environments can be created in minutes, with visibility and tight control on usage of computing resources that minimises waste, and maximises control. Cloud services for developers deliver all this and more.
Is it time you took advantage?