Back to blog Boosting Agility Using the Cloud Development Life Cycle

When you mix one part Platform as a Service (Paas), and one part DevOps, you get the perfect recipe for cloud-native development… and the result of this is faster, higher quality deployment of code to the cloud.

Sound good? To reach the stage where your development function benefits from cloud-native development, follow these steps.

Why is Cloud Development Unique?

The cloud development life cycle is different from traditional software development because of the cloud itself. It’s that simple. When you develop an application on-premise, you have security, compliance and other functional aspects under your control.

Working in the cloud, and with a DevOps approach, you can roll out development quickly. The resources you require are in the cloud, scalable as needed. The same environment cuts costs, as you only pay for what you need. You do not have to invest in infrastructure that could ultimately be left unused.

The trade-off is perhaps a bit more work needed to check and ensure compliance, security and functionality. When you choose the right cloud provider, however, that will not be an issue.

Given that the means of developing when utilising the cloud is different, it means that the lifecycle of a project looks slightly different to a traditional dev effort. Here’s what it actually looks like.

Envisioning/Exploration Phase

This first part of the cloud development life cycle starts essentially from scratch. If you are already working with a cloud provider or have developed in the cloud in the past, this can be expedited. If you are new to it, it will take a significant chunk of your time. It is time very well spent, though.

This is where you consider your business goals and plans, your future timeline, and what you are trying to accomplish through development. You will envision and explore the services and platforms you need, and find a cloud provider that matches those requirements.

Remember to make sure that those compliance and security constraints are addressed. Decide your budget, cloud hosting format and other basics at this point. Speaking to a range of providers to get an idea of the possibilities out there can be a massive help.

Planning Phase

Having set goals and laid the relevant groundwork, we move onto the planning phase of the cloud development life cycle. Cement it all, from the project’s schedule to your risk mitigation plan, resources required (both human and technical), and best practices you will follow.

The result of this phase should be a finalised set of plans that covers both development and operations — the project, its staff, tech and any monitoring, testing or verification you will implement.

Technical documentation fits in here, as it lays out the plan for your tech requirements and details. This is based on the planning that is already done, so it will likely be one of the last parts of this particular phase.

Development and Operations Phase

This is, arguably, where it gets fun! Your developers will take the plans you made based on your overall vision and turn them into a functioning application. They may start with a prototype or test of sorts, depending on your vision and plan. Ultimately, however, this phase should lead to a real product.

Of course, with the DevOps approach, operations managers will be equally involved. This phase of the cloud development lifecycle also involves capacity assessment, testing disaster recovery, creating and implementing supports, training, and every other aspect of monitoring and evaluating.

This phase takes you through development, deployment, testing, assessing and implementing feedback until your product is perfect.

Before DevOps, this would have been two phases — development, then operations, separately and one after the other. You can see how this could easily become an issue, with your cycle switching endlessly between development and operations, creating a major bottleneck.

Combining these two phases with DevOps, however, makes your cloud development lifecycle agile. Developers and operations staff, working together, can avoid that back and forth, and prevent you from having to start the whole cycle over again in the event of an impossible snarl.

Maintenance Phase

Your application or program has been envisioned, planned, developed and tested. It is out in the wild, being used by your clients. Success!

To keep that success going, remember this important part of the cloud development lifecycle: maintenance.

Much as you shouldn’t ignore your houseplants, your car, or your roof, you shouldn’t ignore your finished development, even when it is published. Hoping for the best without maintenance is likely to lead to one thing — the demise of your project.

When working with apps, it is possible that a bug could develop, or an operating system change could force an update. Security patches, compatibility changes, debugging… it is all part of maintenance, and it is something your users expect from you. After putting in all the work to get to this point, it makes sense to schedule regular maintenance and updates. Keep your development running smoothly and working well for its users. Maintenance may be the final step in the lifecycle, but it is not one to miss out.

Jumping into Cloud-Native Development

Cloud-native development can be transformational for your enterprise. It creates a development and operations environment that is flexible, fast and responsive to your users’ needs. All of this gives your business a competitive edge and ensures that you can keep going with your application-builds well into the future.

Some people look at DevOps, platform as a service, and cloud-native development as individual boxes, but we like to see them as part of one amazing infrastructure that can do a lot for your organisation. Whether you want to learn more about one aspect of cloud development, or are ready to start at the top of the lifecycle, we want to help.

Our experts are superheroes when it comes to bringing your ideas to life, whether you boast an experienced development team or are considering what the cloud can do.

We’re ready to jump in with you and make it happen without the snags and costs associated with going it alone. Fill in our Cloud-Native Development project form to find out how we can help with your current, or next, dev project.

Posted in Cloud Development on May 30, 2018