Why now is the time to host your code in the cloud

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Cloud adoption is rocketing. Businesses of every size, in every sector, are switching on to the undoubted benefits of hosting applications, services and code in the cloud. The pandemic has expedited the trend, with organizations forced to rethink their IT operations and infrastructure virtually overnight. So much so that Gartner estimates that global end-user spending on public cloud services is set to grow by more than 18 per cent in 2021 to $304.9 billion, not least due to the upheaval in working processes caused by Covid-19.

About the author

Kai Hilton-Jones is the Regional Vice President, Field Services, International at GitHub.

One of the central forcing factors for enterprises to make the shift to the cloud is that being cloud-based makes it easier to fully unlock the power and potential of open source software development.

Open source has become synonymous with innovation because it helps developers collaborate and build better software, faster. It hinges on a culture of collaboration and shared values. Through the cloud, enterprises are able to tap into the full open source community and benefit from the expertise of an army of skilled developers. Businesses gain more ways to share code, best practices, and expertise. GitHub’s 2021 State of the Octoverse research indicates that developer team performance can increase as much as 87 percent when reusing code.

Attracting developers

Crucially, cloud-based businesses are in pole position to attract and retain ambitious developer talent. Developers thrive on a shared culture where they are able to constantly learn, evolve and test themselves. Creating a positive developer experience inevitably means different things depending on the context. It might encompass the experience developers inside an organization have building software, how developers outside an organization interact with external tools like API keys, and just about everything in-between. But however you define it, empowering developers by delivering them the best environment to work to their full potential - eliminating barriers and making the process as smooth as possible - attracts the most talented and ambitious developers. And it accelerates the pace of innovation in the process.

As the impact of the developer experience on the speed of innovation becomes clearer than ever, businesses around the world are striving to create the optimal conditions for developers so they can make the most of their passion and skill. A cloud environment - with cloud-hosted code - is significantly better suited to provide that positive developer experience.

Developers also want the benefits of distributed work. Covid-19 has prompted a working revolution, with more than three-quarters of global office workers wanting to continue working from home after Covid-19. Our own research shows that just 11 percent of developers expect to return to a co-located workplace - a major drop from the 41 percent who previously worked in an office. By definition, cloud environments are significantly better placed to allow developers to work how and where they want.


Security is also another factor. Companies are shifting to the cloud in no small part because they no longer want to have to manage the infrastructure required to self-host security solutions, especially given cybersecurity requirements are constantly evolving. A cloud environment offers them the ability to work with vendors to host solutions for them, which can reduce costs, increase available resources, eliminate upgrade downtime and boost scalability and performance.

Developers are also able to then use the cloud to unlock the full benefits of DevSecOps - effectively baking security into all stages of software development rather than tacking it on to the end of the process. DevSecOps ushers in a developer first approach, where they are empowered to identify and fix vulnerabilities as they are discovered, so they don’t enter the production cycle. It hinges on a cultural shift to break down siloes between engineering and security teams - the implementation of which, inevitably, the cloud is crucial to. Underpinned by the cloud, security becomes a community responsibility and the upshot is more reliable software is shipped, more quickly.

Cloud adoption

That cloud adoption is growing is not up for debate. But what is sometimes overlooked is that some enterprises remain reluctant to migrate their setups to the cloud, missing out on the transformative role of the cloud - and the full potential of open source.

Traditionally organizations have cited challenges with security, GDPR, proximity and data privacy protocols as reasons for hosting their servers and systems on premises. In the face of these barriers, it is perhaps understandable that some choose to take the path of least resistance. However, these oft-cited concerns are being met with solutions, and the direction of travel is changing.

Migrating to the cloud is not a small step. There will always be obstacles, but the traditional barriers are entirely surmountable – as exponential growth in cloud adoption is testament to. Organizations require a shift in mindset that focuses on what they gain from the cloud in the long-term. Fostering a culture of innovation has become a priority, and in particular equipping developers with the services and tools they require. In today’s innovation economy, businesses that host their code in the cloud are giving themselves a significant advantage.

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Kai Hilton-Jones

Kai Hilton-Jones is the Regional Vice President, Field Services, International at GitHub.