Tips for putting enterprise development infrastructure in the cloud

Choosing whether to put your enterprise's development infrastructure in the cloud requires careful weighing of cost and platform flexibility.

What are the advantages to cloud-based Agile ALM platforms for enterprises?

Just like any enterprise software solution, putting your development infrastructure in the cloud will save your organization money in terms of hardware, support and management costs. Selecting a reputable hosting provider should mean high performance, too, wherever your software development community exists on the planet. The provider takes on all the burden of upgrade, security patches and provisioning and this removes a major headache of development organizations. Reliance on operations to manage development infrastructure is fraught with complexity and frequently causes conflict.

It sounds like an easy choice, doesn’t it? Well, what do we sacrifice in exchange for all this convenience and simplicity?

The myth of one-size-fits-all is never more clearly seen than in the world of software development. I recently met with a client who is completely re-architecting and rewriting its business application. The company chose .NET as its platform because the CTO knew it the best. That's not a bad thing necessarily, but when companies select applications based on what one person knows, the development topology in each organization is likely to be unique. The methodology that each organization chooses and then modifies also makes them unique. How companies integrate the development infrastructure into business systems (CRM/ERP) for task tracking and project chargebacks will have varying degrees of detail. Add into this the voracity of testing, risk and compliance and we have numerous one-offs. Of course, the cloud-based solution needs to be able to deploy the developed application to the target environments, which may include cloud environments.

So your choice is somewhere along a continuum from low-cost, limited-choices to high-cost, tailored-solution.

Agile teams are less concerned with tools and processes and more concerned with individuals and their ability to collaborate. When choosing an ALM platform in the cloud to support these kinds of teams, look for supportive technology that manages the business of Agile. Solutions also need to add value to the interactions among team members through social media technology, for example.

As more applications move to mobile platforms, cloud-based ALM, whether for Agile teams or not, needs to support the development tools of these environments. And that means these cloud-based tools need to be ready to deploy the applications we build to our mobile devices.

There are lots of choices out there. Don’t compromise too much when you select your solution; be very clear from the outset what is important to you.

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