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The coming war for developers

Bernard Golden | Oct. 15, 2014
In March, I discussed IDC's 2014 forecast. This unusually dramatic set of predictions based on what IDC refers to as the third platform, a confluence of cloud computing, mobile devices and applications, social media and big data.

To save them the trouble, here's a list of changes every enterprise needs to work toward right now to survive the war for developers:

  • Look to the next-generation technologies that will fuel the third platform. NoSQL, Docker, Cloud Foundry and OpenShift will power third-platform applications. All rise from open source, becoming comfortable with open source is a core capability for the future — and by comfortable, I mean understanding the dynamics of open source and being involved in its relevant communities. This isn't a world of simply viewing an open source vendor as a less expensive version of a proprietary software company.
  • Speaking of which, consider a new set of providers. The current giants of the software industry have waxed fat on second-platform technologies — LAN and Internet — and see the third platform primarily as high-margin add-ons used to extend the lifespan of existing cash cow products. If your current vendors aren't moving fast enough to support your third-platform strategy, consider new ones, painful though it is to add more suppliers to your vendor list.
  • Plan for a much larger set of developers, with a much broader set of skills. You'll build many more applications, and they'll reflect the new-style architectures and operations. Frankly, you'll be in a desperate struggle to maintain a large enough bench to support the application portfolio you'll be asked to deliver; not only will you need to hire a lot of new-look developers, you'll need your own mini-Manhattan Project to reskill your existing workforce.
  • Find your next-generation infrastructure fast. Public cloud provider growth has been based on two simple facts: Widespread dissatisfaction with existing infrastructure provisioning methods, coupled with an eager embrace of environments that provide immediate infrastructure availability. Infrastructure on demand, today, is the established expectation, and failing to provide that will consign your data centers to irrelevance and obsolescence. Decide how you're going to deliver third-platform infrastructure and move with all possible haste.

It sometimes seems unfair that the world of IT is changing so rapidly. The demands of yesterday, which you worked so hard to accommodate, are discarded in favor of what some term "the next bright shiny thing." But the reality is that we're in the midst of more IT change than we have ever seen — and only those who figure out how to meet the coming war for developers will survive.

 

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