Amazon, Google, Microsoft are top cloud choices of application developers

One in five software developers say they are working on cloud applications and many of them rely on cloud-based servers, storage and databases to deliver them, says a recent survey from Forrester Research.

One in five software developers have built cloud applications in the past 24 months, says a new report from IT market analyst company Forrester Research. In the process, they rely heavily on public cloud resources, specifically in the areas of compute, storage and relational database management systems (RDBMSs), from three key companies: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and Microsoft.

Digging deeper into their responses, meanwhile, reveals an interesting trend in how the cloud market is shaping up, and in particular, a blurring of the line that divides infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for enterprise cloud buyers, says Forrester Research analyst Jeffrey Hammond.

"We're moving away from distinct leaders in a single market segment, like IaaS or PaaS, and toward a model that mirrors a traditional buying pattern, where app development professionals choose between best-of-breed services (for example, compute, storage, RDBMS, messaging, CRM) or integrated data centres of services (AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Salesforce/Heroku/Database.com)," he writes in a recent blog posting about his team's findings.

"That's how I think we're starting to see developer adoption of cloud services evolve, based around the capabilities of individual services, not the 'XaaS' taxonomy that we pundits and vendors apply to what's out there," he adds.

When the findings are examined on an individual service basis, AWS, Google and Microsoft clearly lead the way in providing cloud-based resources to application developers.

Compute resources: Forty-seven percent of respondents rely on the Cloud to provide raw processing power. Of these, 62 percent have implemented or plan to expand their use of Amazon's EC2. Microsoft lags in distant second place (39 percent implemented or expanding), with Google Cloud Platform last (29 percent implemented or expanding). "This gap in adoption is well outside of the standard margin of error, so we have to give the nod to AWS when it comes to compute," says Hammond.

Storage resources: Likewise, 47 percent rely on the Cloud for storage resources. Here, AWS leads again, with 42 percent of the cloud developers surveyed using its storage resources or planning to expand their use of them. However, Microsoft and Google aren't far behind with 32 percent and 31 percent of respondents, respectively. When asked if they plan to expand their use of these storage resources, however, it's a three-way race, with virtually no difference between expansion plans (25 percent, 21 percent and 23 percent for AWS, Microsoft and Google customers respectively). "This workload looks like it's headed for a strongly competitive market in 2014," Hammond comments.

RDBMS resources: When it comes to using cloud-based databases, meanwhile, some 38 percent of developers surveyed take this route. Here, Microsoft Azure SQL Database and Amazon RDS are almost neck and neck, with 48 percent and 45 percent of cloud developers, respectively, using these services or planning to expand their use. Google Cloud Platform, meanwhile, has attracted only 33 percent of developers surveyed to its database resources. Also, Hammond notes, many of those developers (27 percent) who have not yet implemented in this area are planning to go with Amazon RDS when they do.

These findings may help other software developers to place their bets when it comes to cloud resources - but their previous buying habits in existing areas of IT are the most likely predictor of where they will invest, according to Forrester Research.

"If you believe in best-of-breed today for your on-premises strategy, then it's likely that it will make sense to look at adoption leaders in the cloud in a similar way - on a service-by-service basis," says Hammond. "If you'd prefer to use one provider that has the best aggregate 'buffet' of services, then who's leading who at the individual [services] level will matter less."

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a sponsor of IP EXPO 2013. It's the first time the company has sponsored a UK event and, in addition to a keynote by AWS UK & Ireland country manager Iain Gavin, the company will host the Amazon Web Services Lab, where a full programme of business, technical and live demo sessions will take place.

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