How Cloud Enhances Agile Software Development
In a short span of time, Cloud computing has revolutionized the way virtual world has been functioning. Besides enhancing functionality and increasing efficiency, Cloud computing is supporting a number of programs that improves overall performance of an organization. Cloud computing helps in creating virtual machines, and Cloud-based services are used for the management of different projects and issues as well as software builds with automated testing.
To begin with, let us try to understand what Agile Software Development is. Innovations in the field of technology are happening in lightning speed. It is more out of necessity than for the sake of it that companies come up with new ideas and introduce novelties in their products and services in such a competitive market. It is but natural that better software is required to come up with such innovations according to the varied needs of this evolving market, that too faster than ever. Many companies make use of Agile Software Development methods to keep up with this technological competition and challenge.
Agile Software Development is nothing but a set of principles that gives direction for effective software development by overcoming the existing software development shortcomings. It has revolutionized the way software is developed. It involves small development phases and is based on the immediate feedback from the customer.
Cloud computing enhances Agile Software Development in many ways. A few are listed below:
Unlimited number of testing/staging servers
Usually, when Agile development method is used without the support of Cloud or virtualization by the developers, they will be able to utilize only one physical server for each development, staging and production need. The usage of virtual machines or the Cloud makes it possible to have any number of servers. This makes their job easier because they don’t have to wait for the physical server to become free to begin the next task.
However, one will have to pay for only what they use. The servers can be turned on while the developers are working on it and turned off or paused while not using. It can also be made available other than office hours via the web portal or API.
Enabling parallel activities
Even though the aim of Agile process is to reduce the shortcomings and inefficiencies of software development, it functions as a serial activity in practice. It also means certain delays in provisioning servers and installations. Cloud helps in transforming these provisions into parallel activities thus leading to an effective and efficient Agile Software Development process.
More scope for experimenting and innovation
There is a lot of scope for developers to innovate and experiment with the assistance of Cloud computing. For instance, if they find a feature interesting, they could create a development instance immediately, code it and test it out. They don’t have to wait for the next build and be concerned about the restricted server availability because of the unlimited server access in the Cloud.
Improving the speed of continuous integration and delivery
In the agile development process, builds as well as automated testing takes a lot of time. It is a complex process involving the fixing of failures of the test and doing it again until the build passes it. The availability of a large number of virtual machines in Cloud computing increases the speed of continuous integration and delivery.
Availability of more development platforms and services
The developers of Agile software would require a number of platforms for project management, issue management and automated testing. Many of these services are available in the Cloud as Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).
The IaaS has services such as Amazon Web Services, GoGrid, OpSource and RackSpace Cloud that the developers could use. Also, there are many SaaS services that help Agile development, such as Saleforce.com, the Basecamp project management portal and TestFlight. The PaaS include Oracle Database Cloud Service, the Google App Engine and the Salesforce.com platform force.com.
Automated immediate feedback
Immediate feedback is a key aspect of Agile Software Development process. The cloud computing can help generate feedback at different levels of the project which enhances efficiency and speed.
The best of both worlds
There are a number of benefits in the agile-cloud combination. Besides helping to enhance the efficiency of developing software, it ensures speed, instant feedback, increased productivity and more cost-effective services.
No doubt, cloud computing boosts Agile Software Development and thereby improves the overall performance of a company. Leave your comments with us.
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