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Supercharge Your Software Development With Remote Developer Environments in Your Cloud

author avatar
Krista Ratcliff
 on November 21st, 2022

It’s increasingly clear that local machines are no longer always the best way to develop software, but moving your dev environments into the cloud can feel daunting for many reasons. While companies are moving more business functions to the cloud every day, can moving dev environments to the cloud actually solve the problems caused by developing on local machines and avoid some of the biggest headaches and risks that come with the cloud?

We believe the answer is a resounding yes - and here’s why.

Local Machines Can’t Replicate Production Environments

Your local machine is static. Hardware becomes outdated almost as soon as it’s in the hands of a developer, and equipment costs can be expensive. Your project’s capabilities shouldn’t be constrained by the limitations of last year’s hardware. Moreover, resource-intensive applications and distributed microservices create enormous complexities that local machines simply can’t handle – and this curbs how fast you can build software.

Hardware can cause problems in other ways, too. With the advent of newer chip technology like the m1 and m2 chips in Macbooks, development environments may be buggy or even incompatible with the latest devices. This can create sluggishness and waste DevOps time on troubleshooting or rewriting existing code.

However, when developers can access cloud resources remotely, they’re no longer limited by the processing power, network speeds, and storage capacity of their local machines, and new features can be built and tested much faster. It’s also much simpler for companies to take advantage of new technologies and respond nimbly to changes in the market. A product like Coder makes it quick and easy to benefit from new hardware released regularly by the major cloud providers, including new hardware like GPUs.

Managing Risks When Moving to the Cloud

Many companies have real concerns, however, about shifting dev environments into the cloud. Even working in a private cloud comes with some risks, such as a lack of consistent security controls across virtualized cloud infrastructure, the increasing complexity of that infrastructure, and the need for skilled staff to manage it.

While those concerns aren’t unfounded, moving developer environments to the cloud actually helps mitigate these risks, especially for large enterprises and tech companies. Perhaps the most important advantage is the ability to deploy security controls and policies at scale. With traditional on-prem development environments on local machines, it can be difficult and costly to deploy security controls and policies across many developers and workstations. This becomes even harder in large companies with organizational complexities and silos. However, in a cloud-based development environment, enterprises can easily deploy and manage security controls and policies using tools such as AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM). A product like Coder allows for bulk security controls to mandate policy with no friction. This becomes even more important in remote work, with the attendant challenges of managing a fleet of distributed computers on home networks connected to the corporate network via a VPN.

These kinds of large enterprise companies are also likely to have both the complex infrastructure and the staff who manage it, so moving developer environments to the cloud becomes an obvious benefit. So while making the move requires commitment, once your developer environments are in the cloud, it’s fast and easy to get the visibility and the finely-tuned controls needed to handle security effectively using a tool like Coder.

Developer Productivity, Cost Control, and Organization Management

When you’re coding on a local machine, standardizing development can feel like an impossible task. Developers waste enormous amounts of time troubleshooting environments or trying to reproduce bugs when the problem actually stems from a misconfigured environment. When you move your dev environments to the cloud, you can standardize them quickly, shaving time off of setup and giving developers confidence that their code will work in prod.

One of the biggest benefits of increased developer productivity is cost reduction: less time to onboard new developers, less time spent waiting on depleted compute, and more time for developers in flow, writing and shipping code. Especially for larger companies or companies in highly-regulated industries, it can take 4 weeks or more before a new developer is fully set up with an environment. Coder makes it incredibly fast and simple, so that new hires are up and running in minutes instead of weeks. Beyond the productivity cost savings, however, are the cost savings that come from a product like Coder, which automatically stops machines that aren’t in use. You can set custom schedules to restart them, and define limits for total resource consumption per developer.

While some remote development solutions lock you into specific clouds, operating systems, or editors, Coder uses Terraform to provide support for thousands of providers and IDEs. This makes adoption and management a breeze, and allows even companies with complex infrastructure or dev teams using different applications to thrive while relying on custom workflows and easy-to-use admin functions.

Interested in Learning More?

Request a demo, check out the open source repository, or join the community.

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