Research: Cloud Platforms Cater to Three Developer Types

Are you a strict code-writing machine, a DevOps programmer who needs to fool around with a lot of configuration management or a point-and-click "developer" just wanting to get quality apps out as quickly as possible via a GUI? Whatever type you are may determine what kind of public cloud platform best fits your development needs.

With everything -- including software development -- moving to the cloud, recent data from Forrester Research Inc. indicates the wide range of public cloud platforms address three types of developers, differentiated by their approaches to programming.

The three categories identified by Forrester include "coders," "DevOps pros" and "rapid developers." The primary difference among the three is their preferred level of resource control, according to "The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Public Cloud Platforms, Q4 2014."

Coders just want to code, not configure and manage infrastructure, so they prefer Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS+) offerings that take care of many of those mundane details. (Forrester defines IaaS+ as traditional IaaS vendors who add an abstract development layer and benefits commonly found in other types of platforms.)

DevOps pros write code but also do the configuration and management of servers, databases, networks, storage and so forth. Platforms that lend themselves to such extensive configuration include IaaS, IaaS+ and PaaS.

The Three Developer Types
[Click on image for larger view.] The Three Developer Types (source: Forrester Research Inc.)

Finally, the rapid developers prefer graphical tools that automatically create applications without the hassle of writing code. They measure large application development cycles in weeks or even days and value public clouds as a new avenue to increase quantity, velocity and quality of app delivery.

Forrester weighted the criteria for ranking cloud services with respect to the needs of the three developer types, along with adding the requirements of CIOs who oversee all three development types.

In weeding out the vendors to rank from among 43 enterprise reference customers who use public cloud platforms for enterprise app development, Forrester settled on Acquia Inc., Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), CenturyLink Inc., Cordys, Dimension Data, Engine Yard Inc., GoGrid, Google Inc., IBM Corp., Mendix, Microsoft, MIOsoft Corp., OutSystems, Rackspace Inc., Inc. and Verizon.

Cloud powerhouse AWS ranked No. 1, closely followed by Microsoft, for leadership status in all developer-type categories except for rapid developers. For those speedsters,, Mendix and OutSystems were the leading platforms as ranked by Forrester.

Overall, AWS, Microsoft and were the top three cloud providers for developers.

"AWS, Microsoft and Salesforce are each leaders in meeting CIO requirements," the study said. "Each of these vendors started its cloud-platform journey in a distinct position serving a specific developer type and has expanded its offerings to provide greater breadth to a wider range of developers and support for a larger catalog of application types. Across all four Forrester Wave comparisons, two vendors stood out as consistent and clear leaders, while another, AWS, was a leader across three of the four segments."

In other study highlights, Forrester also found a kind of convergence of the public cloud services providers as they evolve their platforms to attract organizations and their development teams. "The popular wisdom that cloud computing comes in three flavors -- Software as a Service (SaaS), IaaS and PaaS -- no longer describes reality. We find that vendors are blurring the lines between the three cloud-computing categories."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.