Azure Chasing AWS for Developer Mindshare

While enjoying a huge lead in cloud services market share, Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) hasn't seen that popularity carry over into the developer world, according to a new report from VisionMobile Ltd.

"In terms of developer preference, Amazon is only a shade more popular than Microsoft Azure," the market analysis and strategy firm said in its State of the Developer Nation Q3 2015 report. The report is based on a survey of more than 13,000 developers working on mobile, cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and other projects.

The report also found developers were much more interested in doing their work on private clouds, rather than public clouds such as AWS. "Almost half of developers are hosting their apps in private clouds, well away from the public infrastructure which grabs all the headlines," VisionMobile said. "Even AWS, the biggest cloud by far, can only boast of being the primary platform for 16 percent of software developers, while 44 percent of them are happier to keep their clouds safely at home."

Programming Language Choices Among Cloud Developers
[Click on image for larger view.] Programming Language Choices among Cloud Developers (source: VisionMobile Ltd.)

VisionMobile said developers understand the many, well-publicized benefits of cloud computing, but still face lingering concerns about security and resiliency. "In many instances the convenience of self-hosting still outweighs the advantages of the public cloud," the report stated. "The availability of cloud environments is also a factor, enabling enterprises to realize many of the advantages of cloud computing within their own infrastructure, and ensure their applications will be cloud-friendly when the advantages of a hosted solution become irresistible."

The study also found noticeable differences in language choices by developers across the various cloud platforms, noting that provided support is an important differentiator and different provider-specific features might appeal to users of different languages. Java is the favored language of AWS and Google Cloud Platform developers, while C# unsurprisingly rules in Microsoft Azure. Two other cloud services, Digital Ocean and Heroku, are favored by PHP and Ruby developers, respectively.

AWS was noted for having the most variety in programming languages used. "It's no great surprise that AWS provides the greatest linguistic variability," the report said. "As the largest provider of cloud services, it is selected by companies who perhaps worry more about reputation than language support. Amazon has always portrayed itself as language (and platform) agnostic, and it certainly provides a breadth of support without seeming to back any specific platform or business model."

The report said that AWS developers use the most languages but, unlike coders working with other clouds, aren't selecting the Amazon cloud on the basis of language support, so their language choices reflect on the habits of cloud programmers in general.

VisionMobile said cloud computing is paying off more for cloud developers than other industry segments, such as IoT, mobile apps and the desktop. The primary developer benefit of using cloud services, the research firm said, is scalability, or elasticity. Public clouds are also inherently more efficient, it said, but the numerous advantages "are still ethereal to companies more familiar with buying boxes and running server farms." Easier integration with legacy systems is another advantage of in-house hardware, the report said.

"Over time we expect to see more developers targeting public cloud platforms, as concerns over security fade, legacy systems get updated, and the resilience of cloud computing has more opportunity to prove itself," the report said. "Companies hosting cloud applications locally should be able to move onto a public cloud without great upheaval, depending on the development environment and the eventual host selected."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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