In today’s always-on, data driven world, organizations will either disrupt, or be disrupted. For those that choose the former, a fast application development cycle is critical for success.
This is why companies are turning to Azure for application development. Azure can help cut costs and reduce development wait and integration time. Additionally, the flexibility of the Azure Cloud architecture enables quick access to resources and a streamlined development process that gets projects off the ground quicker.
Below are three trends that are influencing the rise of application development in Azure.
1. Managed Infrastructure Means More Developer Cycles
The rise of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) have been one of the dominant trends helping to facilitate application development in the Azure Cloud.
IaaS is where Azure manages virtualization, servers, storage, networking and data centers. It leaves users with the most flexibility, coupled with the most responsibility.
PaaS takes things a step further than IaaS. In a PaaS model, Azure manages everything in the IaaS level in addition to security, databases and operating systems. While less flexible than IaaS, it provides developers with the ability to customize applications without the headache of infrastructure management. Without having to worry about infrastructure maintenance, IT teams are free to focus on innovation and development. As a general rule, we’re seeing that PaaS is the preferred model for application development
2. Faster Development with Azure Services and Open-Source Capabilities
Cloud infrastructure is enabling developers to spend more time on innovation, making their apps unique, and less time on infrastructure and plumbing.
One of the Azure services we like is Azure App Service. It’s a PaaS solution that enables developers to create applications at a significantly faster rate than would have been possible with traditional legacy solutions. Aside from the benefits of a managed PaaS model, the team at Optimus finds there are a number of advantages with Azure App Service:
- Optimized for DevOps: Apps can be managed using Azure PowerShell, or the cross-platform command-line interface (CLI). This enables continuous integration and deployment with GitHub, Visual Studio Team Services or BitBucket.
- Highly scalable: You can spin up or shut down VMs instantly. Apps can be hosted anywhere in the Microsoft global datacenter infrastructure. For one of our clients – they were able to expand from North America to APAC in only a few days. This instant scalability helped them grow revenues rapidly without having to worry about cost or risk.
- Visual Studio integration: At Optimus, we’re seeing more and more developers taking advantage of Visual Studio. The ease with which it lets users create applications for any operating system, coupled with the ability to manage and deploy those applications on your preferred platform and device, significantly simplifies application development in Azure.
- Support for multiple languages and frameworks: ASP.NET, Node.js, Java, Python and PHP are all supported by Azure App Service. This lets developers work with the tools they’re most comfortable with. It also means they don’t have to spend time rewriting legacy applications that they want to integrate into their cloud environment.
What we’ve found is that application development teams who have moved to Azure have actually decreased their development times because of Azure’s support of third-party services. For example, Azure supports stacks such as MongoDB, Cassandra and Hadoop, alongside Microsoft MySQL. Azure App Services also offers an extensive array of templates that let devs use a wizard to install open-source software such as Drupal, Joomla and WordPress.
However, most of our clients are working in hybrid environements. This means a need to integrate with legacy, on-premises infrastructure. This is a strength of Azure and means that developers aren’t wasting time trying to get things to work together.
3. Pay for Usage, not Hardware
As most know, traditional on-premises application development involves a significant hardware capital expenditure (CapEx). In contrast, the Azure Cloud does not require any up-front investment, instead offering a pay-as-you-go model. This converts CapEx into an operational expense (OpEx). The result is twofold:
- Devs can spin up a VM and begin testing new applications within minutes, as opposed to the days, weeks or months it would take to acquire new hardware.
- Applications that previously would have been too risky to justify the purchase of expensive hardware can now be developed.
The ability to transform application development from a CapEx to an OpEx not only allows developers to work faster; it enables them to innovate in ways that were previously unfeasible.
For more information on application development in the cloud, check out our e-Book, The Do’s & Don’ts of Application Development on Azure.