CDEs Are Going to Live Up to the Hype

How soon will it be before the acronym “CDE” gets thrown around in everyday language like AI, BI or SaaS?
author avatar
Rob Whiteley
 on January 22nd, 2024
Updated on June 17th, 2024

Ask any developer, and they’ll say that day is already here. Most people who write code for a living have used – or at least are very familiar with – Cloud Development Environments, which provide cloud-based workspaces to build, test and deploy applications. CDEs have moved out of the software labs and are getting adopted at some of the largest Fortune 500 companies. In December 2022, Redmonk declared 2023 to be “The Year of the Cloud Development Environment.” And Gartner® weighed in this past August by including CDEs in its annual Hype Cycle™ for Emerging Technologies, 2023.

What does this mean?

CDEs are clearly a technology worth watching – and worth talking about. In its Hype Cycle report, Gartner predicted that “by 2026, 60% of cloud workloads will be built and deployed using CDEs.” That is a significant jump in mindshare based on the report’s estimate that CDEs had reached just 5% to 20% of their target audience. The Hype Cycle report grouped CDEs in a list of technologies that are five to 10 years away from mainstream adoption.

At Coder, we, of course, take great interest in outside assessments of CDEs’ prospects. Gartner identified Coder as a “Sample Vendor” in the CDE space, so we’re paying close attention to the ebbs and flows of market perceptions. We’re not surprised that CDEs are seen as a long-term opportunity to drive business value. Coder has been creating Cloud Development Environments for six years now, and the developers we engage with not only place a high value on frictionless experiences – they insist that CDEs give them the tools to do their best work.

A number of factors are driving CDEs’ rapid adoption – and they all have one thing in common: they’re not going away any time soon.

Collaboration and remote work

The move to remote work has complicated the onboarding process for employees across organizations. This is particularly true for developers, who need access to a wide array of very specific tools to do their jobs. In conventional enterprise environments, it can take days or weeks to equip each developer before any lines of code are written.

CDEs remove the technical complexity from the onboarding experience. All the development tools, services, and infrastructure developers need is accessible through a web browser. This cuts the onboarding time down to hours, or even minutes. Developers don’t have to set up, manage, or maintain local environments. Coder streamlines traditional development collaboration by ensuring everyone is using a consistent and robust environment.

Customization

The days where development teams could specialize on one architecture are over. Today, organizations are tasked with building a wide array of applications that require custom-configured hardware to support different architectures. This can be expensive. Unless an organization is willing to spend thousands per developer on specialized hardware such as GPUs or alternate CPU architectures, the code they’re writing on their workstations may not run in the cloud.

CDEs remove this requirement. By abstracting the hardware requirements, developers can work on any architecture their cloud provider offers. Using a CDE, organizations can provision development instances that are identical to production,write their code, and decommission it once the builds are complete. Since all of the tooling is provided in the CDE developers can use one workspace per project, eliminating the need to constantly reconfigure tooling – or worse maintaining multiple workstations – when on multiple projects.

Security threats

It’s no surprise that software supply chain attacks are escalating. A recent report by Cybersecurity Ventures projected the global annual cost of these attacks will grow 15% a year, from $46 billion in 2023 to $138 billion in 2031.

CDEs won’t eliminate cyber threats, but they can give organizations better oversight over their environments. With CDEs, IT can control the tooling versions that developers use, and keep an audit trail of when and where it was used. Plus, developers contracting with firms can’t leave with company secrets because CDEs can eliminate developers’ ability to download actual source code. Developers have access to the IDE, which is working on storage and systems that IT controls.

Automation

Streamlining DevOps workflows injects a layer of complexity into an organization’s processes. Adding more plug-ins and extensions makes it harder to distribute regular updates and configurations to individual machines. CDEs remove the requirement to update each machine. When a new workspace version is promoted to the CDE, developers simply update their workspace for that project rather than updating their workstation. They integrate well with DevOps workflows and tools, helping to streamline development, testing and deployment.

Using Coder

Coder is perfectly positioned for organizations looking to realize the benefits of frictionless development environments. The platform is self-hosted, which allows organizations to control what, where and when developers are using. Developers can develop on specified clouds using the organization’s specific hardware in a space that matches their production environment. They can build and test faster, they never have to wait for an upgrade, and they can replace onboarding time with coding time.

CDEs are a hot topic everywhere from community-driven open source projects all the way up to the largest Fortune 500 companies. We think they’ll be a topic of conversation for a long time.

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