Forrester: Choosing Public Cloud Platforms Starts With Your Developers

The Forrester Wave Enterprise Public Cloud Platforms 2014Choosing a Public Cloud Platform should start with your developers needs. Some developers prefer graphical tools; others prefer to perfect their application with coding. Some Developers want fast delivery capabilities; others want deep configuration and fine-tuning possibilities.

According to Forrester’s Q4  Wave report on Enterprise Public Cloud Platforms, Chief Information Officers rarely find that one cloud platform fits the needs of all their developers. Forrester broke down developer preferences into three types—Rapid Developers, Coders, and Development Operations Pros– to help you choose a platform that will support your team best.

What Developers Want

Rapid developers want high productivity and simple tools.

Rapid developers don’t want to spend valuable time coding.  They want automation and graphical tools so that they can deliver major applications as fast as possible.

To a Rapid Dev, public cloud platforms are an opportunity to increase velocity, quantity and quality of application delivery. Getting bogged down in writing infrastructure code, controlling virtual infrastructure, middleware control and other resource details would only slow down their process.

Coders want to focus on coding, not managing infrastructure.

Unlike Rapid Devs, coders prefer writing code. Most coders want to spend their time perfecting the application, not maintaining application servers and databases or virtual infrastructure.

A coder may have to deal with some configuration to get the performance and capabilities they want, but they would much rather spend their time working revisions and new features than managing infrastructure configuration.

Forrester suggests PaaS and IaaS + (Forrester’s term for IaaS vendors with incorporated abstract development layer, such as RackSpace and AWS CloudFormation) platforms for this sort of developer.

Development Operations Pros want configuration control.

 “DevOps pros” can code, says Forrester, and they need to configure the platform supporting their code.  A DevOps pro needs to be able to configure the application server and database, and may also need access to network, VM, and storage configuration.

Graphical tools, automation, and abstractions can get in the way of a DevOps pro if they block his or her ability to tune the platform properly.

Forrester suggests that DevOps prefer IaaS, IaaS+ and PaaS products that allow deep configuration.

Forrester’s Findings

Salesforce works best for Rapid Devs

Forrester evaluated Salesforce’s two cloud platforms (Force.com and AWS-based Heroku) as a single entity, but highlighted features of both platforms. Force.com specifically targets rapid devs, and scored high on infrastructure abstraction features, but only supports it’s own Apex language.

Microsoft’s Azure makes best fit for coders, but works well for DevOps too

Microsoft earned high points with a simplified developer experience and unique user interfaces that appeal to coders and DevOps pros.

Amazon Web Service scores high overall, but fits DevOps pros best

Amazon’s breadth of services and mature infrastructure  gave AWS good scores across all segments except rapid devs.  AWS scored high on platform configuration options and languages supported, making them the best choice for DevOps pros.