Data Centres, the Cloud & Low-Code Daniel Jones 29 November 2023

Data Centres, the Cloud & Low-Code

Dan Jones shares some of his experience of running data centre migration and cloud infrastructure projects and shares where he sees a growing space for low-code platforms to expand and compete in this space.
The data centre years

About 10 years ago a large part of my work involved shutting down old data centres, building new ones, virtualising and generally moving stuff around to sweat assets and maximise their use. I gained many battle scars of experience along the way, mostly related to storage arrays, if you remember those!

Around this time, we were also starting to move some workloads into public cloud and teams were starting to experiment with self-managing Kubernetes clusters for production workloads (…and learning about the complexities of effective control-plane management). 

Moving to the cloud

Several years later, this transformed into full scale move-to-cloud programmes as companies wanted to transition away from the constraints of the on-prem or ‘co-lo’ data centre and either get a leap on their tech competitors or avoid being left behind. 

By now companies were also adopting cloud-native managed Kubernetes such as EKS or working with specialist companies who would manage the complexities of Kubernetes at scale for them, allowing the business to focus on developing new software products. 

Cloud Maturity

While there are many benefits of moving to the cloud (that do not need re-listing here) there are also many challenges. Budget has become a key focus as resources lie forgotten or overallocated but still accumulating cost, new security architecture needs to be designed, implemented and enforced, and developers have to learn how to write YAML/HELM/deployment files to define, install, and upgrade their applications to run on Kubernetes clusters (basically having to take on an additional level of infrastructure management responsibility). 

A growing place for low-code 

Roll on to the 2020’s and low-code platforms have become serious contenders for building cloud-native apps faster, more securely, and with smaller teams.

The potential benefits of platforms such as OutSystems Developer Cloud (ODC) are huge as;

  1. IT departments no longer need to manage cloud infrastructure,
  2. Security teams have almost zero moving parts to patch, protect and monitor,
  3. Developers no longer need to worry about underlying infrastructure and
  4. Legacy applications can be re-written as cloud native rather than migrated on to managed cloud infrastructure 

But is low-code right for me?

I believe that all Tech Leaders should be allocating R&D budget to low-code in the next 12-18 months to establish where they can most benefit from this growing sector. It could be a landing zone for a data centre exit or application rationalisation programs, a simple platform for internal applications that do not warrant the complexities of managing services in the cloud, or rapid prototyping and iterative development projects to name just a few examples.

A recent State of Application Development noted that 63% of organisations say they will develop the majority of their applications using low-code development platforms by the end of 2024

In summary

An increasing number of organisations are discovering how low-code positively impacts their ability to build and deploy cloud-native applications and I only see this trend growing as these platforms offer more and more services and make application development become faster, more agile, and more innovative. 

The future of software development is about to get a lot more exciting! 

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