Identifying Potential Risks and Benefits of Using Cloud in Distributed Software Development
Cloud-based infrastructure has been increasingly adopted by the industry in distributed software development (DSD) environments. Its proponents claim that its several benefits include reduced cost, increased speed and greater productivity in software development. Empirical evaluations, however, are in the nascent stage of examining both the benefits and the risks of cloud-based infrastructure. The objective of this paper is to identify potential benefits and risks of using cloud in a DSD project conducted by teams based in Helsinki and Madrid. A cross-case qualitative analysis is performed based on focus groups conducted at the Helsinki and Madrid sites. Participants’ observations are used to supplement the analysis. The results of the analysis indicated that the main benefits of using cloud are rapid development, continuous integration, cost savings, code sharing, and faster ramp-up. The key risks determined by the project are dependencies, unavailability of access to the cloud, code commitment and integration, technical debt, and additional support costs. The results revealed that if such environments are not planned and set up carefully, the benefits of using cloud in DSD projects might be overshadowed by the risks associated with it.
Keywordscloud-based software development distributed software development DSD global software development case study empirical software engineering offshore software development cloud computing benefits and risks of using cloud
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