Developers will decide cloud winners and losers

A few years ago I was at a presentation at the Open Source Business Conference listening to an idiot. He compared people who supported various open source models to babies and derided “catering to developer preferences.” I don’t remember who he was but everything he said is wrong. Here’s why.

As the migration to the public cloud completes, eventually the number of transactions and thus operations executed in the public cloud will stagnate. Once that happens each technology vendor’s share of those operations and ultimately revenue will be a function tied directly to (drum roll please) developer preferences.

We can see this modeled in the web. The number of hits a popular website gets was growing as a function of the number of people on the Internet growing regardless of its increase in popularity. Once nearly everyone is online that changes. As the growth of Internet usage starts looking more like population growth in developed and developing countries, you see traffic stagnate.

You can see evidence of this on Netcraft or in the app market — as one product becomes popular the category becomes locked to new entries. The rise of Instagram means effectively no more Flickr. Even Google couldn’t make Google+ work. Ultimately everyone competes for a share of the existing traffic.

Slicing up the cloud pie

So developers are the people who generally make the technology choices. You may say “well the architect chooses” but over time developers decide. Architects would be wise not to choose technologies that turn off developers but it seems like it happens frequently. However, in the long run, this tends to backfire. The company can’t recruit, a project fails, that architect loses their job, and different choices are made.

You can argue that the second most hated database is the most widely used database, but what does its growth look like? DB2, the (rightly) most hated database, has been declining in market share for years.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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