Developers Moving Faster Toward Virtualization


With the recession putting downward pressure on IT and software development budgets, more application developers than ever are expected to begin working on virtualization projects, according to research firm Evans Data.

In its new North American Development Survey, released today, the firm said that 51 percent of the of 400 North American developers it surveyed expect to be involved with virtualization projects within the next 12 months.

That’s a nearly 60 percent increase over the roughly 33 percent figure for this year.

The move is being fueled by current economic conditions and their impact on IT budgets, which have made virtualization even more of a priority as enterprises seek to cut costs, Evans said.

The findings also echo recent conclusions from other industry watchers. IDC last week predicted major changes in store for IT in the year ahead, with an increased focus on virtualization one likely result from the global economic downturn.

Evans found in its survey that VMware (NYSE: VMW) dominates the virtualization tools market, with 56 percent of developers on virtualization projects using its offerings. Second place fell to Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Virtual Server, with 37 percent of developers using its tools, while Xen products from Citrix Systems (NASDAQ: CTXS) and Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) lagged behind.

Solutions from VMware dominate across all segments, Evans also found, while Microsoft’s tools are strongest among value added resellers (VARs), system integrators and outsourcers creating custom applications for outside clients, the researcher said.

SOA projects clobbered

In addition to virtualization-centric projects, service-oriented architecture (SOA) has been a major focus of interest during the year, with two-thirds of North American developers exploring SOA options for projects, Evans said. The group also found that 37 percent of survey respondents have at least some SOA components deployed.

However, John Andrews, president and CEO of Evans, told that the recession will impact deployment of SOA.

“If you’re in the stage where you’re driving benefits and getting reuse, yes, you’ll grow,” he said. “But if you’re in the earlier stages, where you’re developing the architecture and studying which business services to reuse, and you’re not driving any sales and savings, this will be a tough economic environment for you.”

Evans’ survey also gleaned some insight on developers’ favorite tools and languages.

Sixty-one percent of developers rely on JavaScript — the most-used dynamic programming language — but that percentage will not go up much next year, according to Andrews. “Once 50 to 60 percent of developers use a language, it stabilizes and its growth will be essentially flat,” he said.

On the other hand, he predicted that the use of Ruby on Rails will grow rapidly, from 10 percent of the total number of developers this year, to 15 percent next year.

When it comes to deciding which tool developers consider the most important in their work, Andrews said respondents put debugging tools at the top of their lists. Configuration and version control tools were next in importance, while data access management came in at No. 3. Development framework tools came in fourth place.

Evans estimated that there are about three million developers in the United States, about 40 percent of which are enterprise developers. The remainder are split between system integrators and VARs, and individual and small groups of developers, Andrews said.

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