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This content is part of the Essential Guide: A vendor cloud platform comparison guide

Cloud computing and AWS form perfect test beds for the risk averse

Risk aversion is a cornerstone of the enterprise computing community. Do no harm is philosophy that goes beyond medicine's Hippocratic oath. But the risk averse can now safely try new technologies by using cloud computing options and AWS.

Cloud continues to dominate the IT scene as a major trend for the coming year. There's just too much benefit in the cloud for its popularity to dwindle. Simon Maple, Developer Advocate at ZeroTurnaround, stated that the cloud trend is still expanding—and explained why. "The cloud is going to continue to grow in 2015. There's a lot to be said for having things off-site rather than owning your infrastructure and environment. The Amazon cloud has made it cheap to create a scalable business that's available to the masses." A huge number of startups in the U.S., the U.K., and around the world are taking advantage of this low barrier to entry. But availability and scalability are an irresistible combination for businesses of all sizes.

Zero Turnaround's Founder & CEO, Jevgeni Kabanov, also indicated that the cloud is getting bigger. "There are a lot more players, IBM is getting into the game, RedHat is trying to create something. I think we're getting to the point where cloud is going mainstream—including for enterprise. It's evolving, but there's nothing revolutionary happening."

One of the things we're learning from cloud is that it's a much easier environment in which to take risks.

Jenny Tong, VP Firebase

Kabanov, like many of his cohorts, suggested that container services will be the next big thing. This approach to application delivery eliminates the high overhead associated with virtual machines by utilizing a shared O/S and kernel for distributed apps. It may revolutionize the virtualization space, but the cloud itself will persist in either event. The only question is how to make even better use of its infrastructure.

Low-risk, high-speed innovation

Jenny Tong, VP of Developer Happiness at Firebase, shared her opinion on why the cloud is such a compelling choice.  "One of the things we're learning from cloud is that it's a much easier environment in which to take risks. If you have a project that you want to prototype quickly, you can build it, test it validate that use case, and make sure that you're getting business value out of it. From there, you can go from prototype to launch much faster than before. You don't have to find servers, get them deployed, set up execution environments, and so on."

This isn't just an attractive option for startups. Larger businesses are now entering the cycle of continuous development and deployment—and adding more and more mobile apps to their portfolio. They need the same agility as smaller companies when it's time to try new things.

A more service-oriented cloud

Tong also pointed out that migration is no longer the most pressing issue in the cloud universe. More and more enterprises have moved past that stage and deeper into the expanded value provided by the cloud. "In the past, the trend was taking what existed in data centers and moving it into the cloud. What we're seeing now is a lot more Platform as a Service, Back End as a Service, and other cloud services. These make it so you can solve problems your application has in interesting ways without spending as much time worrying about the nitty-gritty low level technologies of caches here, databases there." This outsourcing trend should allow businesses to focus on what they want to achieve with their software and less on how to keep it running.

All mobile development leads to the cloud

Mobile, the other persistent trend over the past few years, will continue its strong partnership with the cloud. Gartner mobile and wireless analyst, Van Baker, revealed the simple reason why. "It doesn't make sense to reinvent the wheel. For some of the services that you're going to want to build into the mobile device, like push notifications or location information, it makes no sense to host it on-prem or build it yourself. These are turn-key services with published APIs and they're cloud-hosted in a multi-tenant environment. You just want to build in the functionality to send push notifications or have a map pop up on your mobile application. You're going to do that by building in the API."

Too attractive to ignore

Even for companies that have been heavily invested in maintaining complete control of development in-house, it's now difficult to make a business case for this approach. There is no competitive advantage to be gained by eschewing out-of-the-box offerings and custom solutions from the wide array of third party vendors and open source communities. When a startup can access better, less expensive more secure, constantly updated services than a large enterprise can build in-house, failing to move with the times can prove to be a costly error for big business.

How are you using cloud computing and AWS options to accelerate development? Let us know.

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