Cloud Computing, Agile Development and Infrastructure

A few weeks ago I was part of a meeting that outlined some of the challenges that Agile development was inducing on an existing corporate infrastructure. And Cloud Computing became a possible solution to the fast pace changes required by Agile development initiatives.

Agile projects tend to be short in nature, with fewer documentation and evolving requirements. From a project management standpoint, development cycles are divided in Sprints, which can be a couple of weeks long in certain cases. The fast-pace development approach creates code that needs to be deployed in production (or at least in a staging environment) as early as possible in the project lifecycle to obtain customer feedback. And since requirements are bound to change over time, infrastructure requirements are also bound to change.

For larger organizations, provisioning of hardware and infrastructure configuration can take days, or weeks, when taking into consideration bandwidth needs, security and server acquisition. In addition, making changes to production (or staging) systems can be as slow, or difficult, putting additional pressure on IT departments. In this Agile world, IT departments now have to provision hardware in a matter of hours (or a few short days) and need to be able to adapt to rapid requirements changes.

This is where Cloud Computing comes in. While Cloud Computing doesn't necessarily remove the involvement of the IT Department, it could provide the necessary flexible platform businesses are looking for to obtain an environment that can be used for system testing and staging purposes, and eventually production as well. Since Cloud Computing promises faster provisioning time (the hardware is available on demand, and so is the bandwidth capacity), some companies are looking at Cloud Computing as a way to quickly provision infrastructure requests.

It will be interesting to observe how larger corporations adapt the Cloud over the next few years. Cloud computing may be more than a new marketing spin on Hosting Services; it may actually give IT organizations the means to become more effective in supporting fast-pace development initiatives.

 

Print | posted @ Sunday, November 29, 2009 10:12 AM

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