Forrester Report Shows Amazon AWS Reigns Supreme With Developers As Windows Azure Gains Momentum

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) reigns supreme as the developer platform of choice while Windows Azure is showing impressive growth, according to a survey conducted by Forrester Research.

The third-quarter survey compares how cloud developers are using the cloud. The report looks at the potential growth of the different services; the state of the platform as a service (PaaS) market; how developers are using cloud services; their expectations for future usage; types of apps deployed and what to expect going forward.

AWS, the dominant cloud player, is an overwhelming favorite among developers, but it’s good to see Windows Azure showing momentum. Of interest is the lacking presence of OpenStack deployments, with Rackspace as the exception. It is still early days for services that use OpenStack and Cloudstack, the Citrix-led open cloud effort operating as an Apache Software Foundation project.

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Respondents said they expect usage to increase on AWS and Azure. Developers have mixed expectations of Force.com, Google App Engine and Rackspace.

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According to Forrester, the PaaS market is still emerging. Developers don’t delineate as much between PaaS and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offerings. The survey notes AWS’s addition of abstracted development services such as AWS Beanstalk, Elastic MapReduce, and DynamoDB.

Expect AWS to continue adding services that complement its core infrastructure. Redshift is its most recent addition. The service is an alternative to traditional data warehouse offerings. Forrester cites AWS, Rackspace, and Microsoft as creating ecosystems of PaaS and SaaS in their walled gardens. These are services that exemplify how developers are blurring the lines between PaaS and IaaS. They use them all in AWS instead of using other services for different aspects of their work.

Microsoft, Salesforce.com and Google offer integrated IaaS/PaaS platforms. Forrester also recognizes ActiveState and CloudBees pioneering on-premises PaaS services. Apprenda, AppFog and Dell also offer private PaaS.

Speed of delivery is the top reason that developers cite for why they use the cloud.

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Internal business apps were the top app deployed on cloud services. That will change in the next year as more developers say they will deploy more social and collaborative apps and services. Developers will use platforms that offer tools that better support their more sophisticated needs. This will drive deeper use of platform services. Capabilities that will be in demand include mobile back-end as a service (MBaaS), message and app-level caching.

In the next few years, developers will put more code in the cloud, with JavaScript being the programming language of choice.

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The Forrester study reinforces that developers will go to the services that offer what they need. The use cases are relatively simple now. Most developers are deploying internal apps, and as the apps become more sophisticated, developers will look for platforms that offer both infrastructure and platform capabilities. That points to an opportunity for AWS, Azure and the platforms that integrate with infrastructure environments.