RAD’s Speed, Collaboration Key to Cloud Offerings in 2017

C. Dunlap
C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • RAD goes hand-in-hand with microservices architecture and container deployment scenarios.
  • RAD vendors will continue to leverage OSS technologies including Cloud Foundry and Docker.

Rapid application development (RAD) platforms are a technology whose time has finally come with the advent of platform service, microservices architecture and containers. The low-code, high-productivity tools go hand-in-hand with new cloud infrastructures, architectures and deployment capabilities, because they address DevOps’ concerns around speed and efficiency, collaboration and accessing open source software to support portability. (Please see “PaaS Cloud Providers and SIs Will Bulk Up on RAD Technology,” January 20, 2017.)

The general lack of mobile and application developers within the industry, coupled with businesses’ urgent need to support new innovative and iterative mobile and web apps, has resulted in a steady rise in demand for a model-driven visual approach for building new apps and extending traditional apps. Enterprises want to place the low-code tools in the hands of a broader swath of developers and citizen developers along with having the assurance of high availability and scalability to support those apps. As a result, RAD leaders including Mendix, OutSystems, Kony, Salesforce Force.com and Progress Rollbase have become highly sought after as technology partners, as reflected in the vendors’ recent growth expansion in revenues, customer wins and booming developer communities.

A number of development trends over the past year directly impact this market and have helped drive attention to the RAD platform, improving speed, supporting collaboration across the organization, leveraging openness and ensuring resiliency. Over the past year, RAD vendors have embraced the open source Cloud Foundry technology, making them more plausible mobile partners for cloud providers looking for smooth solution integrations where customers can quickly spin up new apps, then access additional services such as analytics and cognitive computing.

The common thread among providers of this market segment is a collection of development technologies comprised of high-productivity tools which provide less developer control, but support rapid build, deploy and run capabilities for business apps on a scale that’s several-fold faster (six to ten times higher productivity according to vendors) than traditional app delivery. Solutions are typically based on an IDE, which runs locally and connects to a platform that runs on a cloud-based server (such as Amazon EC2) or on-premises. Cloud Foundry’s growing ecosystem helped further RAD vendors’ cause by enabling interoperability between various public and private cloud deployment options. Integration toolkits extend the legacy app environment through reusable objects, and application lifecycle management helps manage the whole process and ensure iterations and app changes.

Other new competitors entering this space are appearing in the form of business process management (BPM) vendors which are creating UIs around an ad hoc process for building low-code applications that quickly provide insights on data.

The proliferation of cloud technologies, particularly containers, along with open source software, namely Cloud Foundry, is heightening the importance of RAD platforms, and we expect to see continued partnerships with cloud providers and further integration with Docker containers among RAD providers.

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