Likewise, Microsoft has made data handling easier in the cloud by coordinating operations between SQL Server in the enterprise and SQL Azure in the cloud. SQL Azure can handle unstructured data, or it can be used to run SQL queries against structured data. An automated SQL Azure Sync capability can replicate data sets used on one with data stored on the other.
Asked which tool features in the cloud are most important to Microsoft developers, Hanley said he couldn't be specific: "The strength of the Microsoft Developer Network and Microsoft's support of it are undoubtedly some of the reasons for Azure's success," he wrote back in an email message.
The survey showed, in general, multiple types of developers using cloud environments value reliability and uptime first, and price for service second. Most cloud users say security is a top concern, but among developers, it is fourth on their list of four top priorities. Number three was ease of automatic scaling, according to Hanley.
The survey further finds that developers have the most confidence in the security of their public cloud environments when they are members of a corporate enterprise development group. Ninety-three percent of the members of such groups said they were somewhat or highly confident of the security in place. Ninety-two percent of custom, system integrator, and value-added reseller developers said the same, joined by 92% of scientific developers. Eighty-three percent of original equipment manufacturer developers expressed a similar level of confidence, while only 70% of corporate workgroup developers felt somewhat or highly confident of the security in place.
Developers were more united on another issue: saving time while executing a project. Twenty-eight percent said they saved 20% of the time it would otherwise take through development in the cloud, the equivalent of a day a week, pointed out Hanley. A total of 86% said they saved some amount of time using a cloud platform.
The reasons for saving time included: ease of access to needed systems and system storage, and redirecting time formerly spent in procurement to do development work in the cloud.
Last November, VMware's Cloud Foundry emerged as cloud developers' favorite cloud environment in which to work. Ten months later, Microsoft has risen to the top of the pack. It's possible that Heroku, part of Salesforce.com but hosting its environment on AWS, may grow to host more developers under its new ownership. Still, it's a strong Ruby on Rails development environment, and Ruby didn't make the list of top languages used in the cloud. Java remains equal to or commanding a larger number of developers than .Net, but until a survey can combine their activity across many clouds, Microsoft's Azure may remain on top.