Cloud development gotcha 8: Integration can be harder to troubleshoot
Integrating new applications with existing ones can be a key part of the development process, and the cloud brings even more challenges from an integration perspective, Drouin says: "With cloud computing, companies typically don't have open access into their cloud providers' infrastructure, applications, and integration platforms."
Kelly has experienced performance issues between cloud-based applications and its on-premise systems as well as among multiple applications in the cloud. It's difficult to troubleshoot these issues because the company often can only track transactions in its own infrastructure, Drouin says.
To minimize integration issues, Kelly developers try to use cloud providers' APIs whenever possible; that's been fairly easy to do because many cloud providers expose their APIs, Drouin says.
Cloud development gotcha 9: The cloud's fast pace of change can be hard to keep up with
IT services provider Avanade uses the Azure cloud platform from its part owner Microsoft, along with Microsoft development tools, to develop and test both internal and client work.
The familiarity of the development tools and the speed of the development and test environments have been pluses for the firm, says Graham Astor, director of global solutions at Avanade. But "being on a quickly evolving cloud development platform means it's necessary to update best practices frequently," he says.
Azure is on a two-month release cycle of performance and feature improvements, so Avanade meets monthly with members of the Microsoft product teams to get a heads-up on what's coming. Would others get that kind of access? "I have no idea," Knipp says, "but it is in Microsoft's interest to get as many consulting firms as possible on board with Azure, in order to drive adoption."
Despite the learning curve, cloud development is appealing
Despite the potential challenges, for many organizations application development in the cloud rather than sticking with traditional methods makes sense, for the same reasons that cloud computing in general makes sense: elasticity of resources and cost, and reduced operational complexity, both of which lead to shorter completion time.
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