Open-source developers reach for the cloud

Forty percent of open-source developers are planning to use cloud services, far more than among the general developer population, according to a new survey
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

Open-source developers are flocking to cloud services, with 40 percent planning to provide their applications as web services using cloud providers such as Google's App Engine and Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud, according to a recent survey.

The Evans Data Open Source/Linux Development survey, published last week, arrived on the heels of a more general Evans Data survey that found higher adoption of cloud services inside the open-source world than outside. That survey found that around a quarter of all developers worldwide were planning to develop for the cloud.

Cloud services offer a way for a company to shift its applications onto third-party infrastructure, where they can either be used by the company itself or offered to outside customers.

Evans Data said the shift to cloud services is seen in part as a way of cutting costs for power, staff and datacentre resources, but also as a cost-effective way of expanding a company's infrastructure.

"Many companies are using this model to not only reduce infrastructure costs but simultaneously increase their computational capabilities," said Evans Data president John Andrews in a statement.

Recent studies have found that cloud services are getting a boost from the current difficult economic environment.

In the survey, 28 percent of open-source developers targeting the cloud said they planned to use Google's App Engine, with another 15 percent saying they planned to use Amazon's EC2. Services from other vendors, including Microsoft, IBM and Salesforce, were far less popular, the survey found.

Among other channels open-source developers are using to distribute their software, the most lucrative were mobile-application shops, Evans Data said. The most widely used, however, were open-source portals.

Just over half, or 52 percent, of the 360 survey respondents said they used Linux in a virtualised environment. They showed a preference for MySQL, with more than half of developers using it in at least some of their projects.

One in five used Adobe's Flex programming technologies at least some of the time, Evans said. Flex is designed for programming internet-based applications for the Flash platform.

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