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Lightbend Survey Compares Cloud-Native Priorities of Execs and Devs

Lightbend, the company behind the Scala JVM language and developer of the Reactive Platform, today announced the findings of a recent survey of more than 1,000 developers, software architects, and IT leaders, who described their cloud-native architecture priorities at the application layer (higher up the stack, above Kubernetes).

The report on the survey ("Cloud Native Adoption Trends 2020-2021") shone a light on some interesting trends among the respondents. Among other things, the survey found that more than 75% already host the majority of their applications in some sort of cloud infrastructure; more than 60% are using microservices in production; and that more than 59% are running most of their new applications in Kubernetes and containers.

The survey also surfaced some interesting differences between developers and management about what the highest priorities for cloud-native migrations are or should be, which underscores the fact that enterprises remain torn between the convenience of automation and outsourcing and the power of configurability, the report concludes

"The survey showed that enterprises are expanding their view of 'cloud-native' to be much more than simply deploying containers on Kubernetes in the cloud," said Mark Brewer, CEO at Lightbend, in a statement. "Developers and business leaders alike are looking higher up the stack at the application layer, and how those architecture decisions can allow them to uniquely take advantage of the economics and scalability of cloud-native infrastructure."

The report lays out four key findings from the survey:

1. Management tends to have a clearer view of "cloud native" than developers. "[R]espondents in IT management roles were actually more likely to prioritize writing applications that take advantage of cloud infrastructure than developers: 54.7% of managers said it was their highest priority, while only 38.3% of developers did."

2. Microservices and containers are key to cloud portability and performance. "Respondents in some stage of cloud native infrastructure adoption were more likely to use microservices in production than those who were still evaluating cloud native infrastructure or had no plans to adopt it (69.9% versus 34.5%) and more likely to use containers for new applications (67.2% versus 55.2%)."

3. Enterprises are torn between automation and configurability. "[T]he choice between outsourcing and maintaining control over underlying layers of an application remains a tough decision. A small majority of respondents (52.6%) said they're moving towards ever-more abstraction and automation, versus 47.4% who say despite the trend towards automation they expect that developers will still be responsible for maintaining underlying systems. But there's a general preference for frameworks that respondents can personally configure/maintain/scale as opposed to those delivered as a service and consumed as an API: 58.1% versus 41.9%.

4. Developers and executives don't always prioritize the same things. "Developers think about cloud computing more in terms of specific technologies like Kubernetes and containers, while management thinks of cloud computing more as a new way to build applications. Management tends to prefer the idea of outsourcing as much maintenance as possible, while developers' preference for configurability over automation reveals a desire not to lose too much control over the many layers of an application stack."

The report, available now, includes many graphs and charts and additional details that paint an illuminating picture.

Lightbend, formerly known as Typesafe, was founded by Martin Odersky, the creator of the Scala programming language, Jonas BonĂ©r, the creator of the Akka middleware, and Paul Phillips in 2011. Lightbend is also the company behind the open-source application frameworks Play and Lagom, the streaming data pipelines framework Cloudflow, and the next generation serverless project Cloudstate.

Posted on October 27, 2020