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4 Software Development Approaches Driven by the Cloud and Their Complications


4 Software Development Approaches Driven by the Cloud and Their Complications


cloud changes everythingWhile the development side of an organization traditionally took a waterfall approach to software development, where each stage of development was assigned to a separate team. A classically linear and sequential approach to software design and development, this was meant to provide for greater project and deadline control. Now, the power to change, rapidly and effectively, to suit changing circumstances, Business agility, has become critical to the survival of today's organizations, demanding quicker rollouts. These approaches are well supported by elastic cloud platforms and automatic provisioning methods.

1. Continuous Integration

Continuous Integration software development practice means members of a software development team are frequently integrating their efforts, on a daily basis, resulting in daily multiple integrations. Automated builds verify each integration to detect integration errors as quickly as possible.

For the production environment, this means that a constant stream of changes is being transitioned into it. Under these conditions, the actual configuration of the environment is not necessarily understood, opening the possibility for potential issues to come up and not being ready to investigate problems if they happen. 

2. Continual Service Improvement

Continual Service Improvement (CSI) intends to continually align and re-align IT services to the changing business needs by identifying and implementing improvements to IT services that support business processes. Effective communication of KPIs, SLAs and Change Requests with external Cloud vendors can help to keep business processes on target. With the dynamics in the environment, you need to be able to capture all the changes that happen in the cloud at the level of guest systems, virtual infra and cloud platform.

To satisfy both company and industry regulatory compliance, you need to be able to audit all application changes even across the cloud, including what changes have been made, where and by whom, so auditors can see exactly what process was used, and the history of changes to the processes over time. Yet when Continual Service Improvement is not implemented properly, it can result in misalignment of business needs. 

3. Continuous Delivery

Continuous Delivery is focused on building, testing, and releasing software faster and more frequently. Through cloud, different versions of an application are rolled out, in the Continuous Delivery approach. Feature toggling, where features are selective released to only certain users, like based on user characteristics, is made possible through continuous delivery. Continuous Delivery relies on automation tools to create models of an environment's configuration.

However, these tools only track those parameters that were actually defined, resulting in a model that lacks 100% control, leaving deployments exposed to the possibility of failure. 

4. Agile Development

Agile Development promotes a project management process that encourages frequent inspection and adaption, allowing for rapid delivery of high-quality software. As project priorities are re-evaluated on a continual basis in cycles of a week, a month, or sometimes longer depending on the project, agile development can potentially deliver critical business value faster. 

However, there are a many issues that IT organizations face when it comes to the execution of projects according to the Agile methodology. The most common issue is that developers often step away from the rigor needed to deliver successful IT projects. This means a monitoring tool must make sure that developers didn't make any ad hoc changes to the environment that could affect performance.

Your Turn
What are some of the challenges that you find carrying out new software development efforts in cloud platforms?

About the Author
Martin Perlin