One interesting finding in the report is what kind of development frameworks software engineers are looking for. The current, vanilla Infrastructure as a service offerings of virtual machines, storage and network connectivity don't just hinder high productivity. They also force developers to manage "plumbing" instead of devoting more focus to application functionality.
The "solution" proffered to address the too-simple, high-effort IaaS environments has been Platform as a Service. The logic is that a programming framework offers common services that free developers from details and rely on the framework to perform necessary tasks such as persistent data storage, identity management and the like.
The report shows great insight in discerning the problem with that approach. Frameworks are fine, as long as all you want to do is something the framework delivers. All too often, however, the application requires some functionality that the framework does not offer, and therefore requires direct access to lower-level capability. The high-productivity framework then becomes a set of shackles.
Forrester instead states that developers want a mix of capabilities-namely, services that liberate them from lots of grunt work while still allowing access to lower-level functionality as required. It's no accident that AWS offers a rich set of developer services, such as its Simple Queue Service, while still offering direct access to computing primitives to let developers implement or install capability outside of the services AWS offers.
The report notes that independent software vendors (ISVs) are getting into this game as well, building SaaS versions of their infrastructure products. Informatica, one such firm, now offers a cloud-based integration service that lets developers tie different applications together. The result is that enterprise applications are now becoming a rich stew-or, if you prefer a more technical term, composite collections-of self-developed code, cloud services and ISV-delivered functionality. Developers do more assembling than writing applications.
5 Things I&O Must Do to Control the Cloud
The report carries an unmistakable message: I&O must respond to these developer expectations or risk becoming obsolete. Its new charter, then, is to enable agility, not manage assets.
To that end, Forrester provides five recommendations to help I&O fulfill this charter: