To gather insights for DZone's Cloud Research Guide, scheduled for release in April, 2016, we spoke to 28 executives, from 23 companies, who develop and deploy application in the cloud for their own company or for their clients.

Here's who we talked to:

Neeraj Gupta, S.V.P. Product & Engineering, Apcera | Jad Naous, Product Lead, AppDynamics |  Ez Natarajan, V.P. Head Cloud Services Business Unit, Beyondsoft | Alon Girmonsky, CEO and Founder, BlazeMeter | Kunal Bharati, Cloud Architect and Nishant Patel, CTO, | Sacha Labourey, CEO, Cloudbees | Deirdre Mahon, CMO and Fraser McKay, V.P. of Products, Cloud Cruiser | Flint Brenton, CEO, CollabNet | Ali Din, Senior V.P. and CMO and Walid Elemary, V.P. Product Development, dinCloud | Mike Masterson, Director of Strategic Business Development, Dynatrace  | Gabe Monroy, CTO and Jasen Hansen, Chief Architect, Engine Yard |  Fred Simon, Co-Founder and Chief Architect, JFrog | Jim Frey, V.P. of Products and Ian Pye, Co-Founder and Principal Engineer, Kentik | Johan den Haan, CTO, Mendix | Mounil Patel, V.P. Strategic Field Engagement, Mimecast | Faisal Memon, Product Manager, NGINX | Arvind Mehrotra, President and Global Business Head – Infrastructure Management Services, NIIT Technologies | Jens Eckels, Director, PaaS Business Group, Oracle | Pat Harper, SVP Operations, PGi | Joan Wrabetz, CTO, Quali | Partha Seetala, CTO, Robin Systems | Nick Kephart, Senior Director Product Marketing, ThousandEyes | Kiran Bondalapati, CTO and Co-Founder, ZeroStack.

When we asked these executives "What’s the future for cloud-based applications?" here's what they told us: 

  • Always looking for bigger and faster, newer big enough, strong enough (e.g. video streaming at 100 mbps is still not enough). Apps are always trying to go faster than the infrastructure will allow. We will have complete connectivity of video, voice, streaming with IoT. Every device will be connected and communication will flow with little to no limitation. The cloud facilitates scale. The next step is connectivity and IoT without concern for scalability.
  • Apps will be on premises and cloud-based. How do we extend scalability to on premise? Security is one key driver. How does an app that started in the cloud read data that resides somewhere else? Containers make it easier to move around from one data center to another. We evolve to more and more use cases. Cloud-enabled databases. Believe strongly what Docker did for single software applications, we're is doing for data applications.
  • A lot of stuff is happening in the infrastructure layer and is moving quickly. We’ll see standards emerge like 12-factor application. Docker is a similar technology. The explosion in tooling will calm down. Simpler stack with fewer moving parts. Developers won’t need to care about Docker or Rocket. Smaller companies are adopting these things more quickly. In 12 months, a lot of the schizophrenic technology will calm down. Software defined storage as this set up builds the foundation and defines interfaces between standard building blocks to clear confusion.
  • The perfect world accelerates innovation and customization. Future apps will work without operating systems. The application will run on top of dinManage or Open Stack. More cloud and HTML based application agnostic devices. Apps are 100% web based. The browser becomes the desktop since 90% of apps are already web based whether in the enterprise or desktop. Apps that are self aware and understand the security situation and the package around it. Online dictation where the computer understands what you’re talking about. Device agnostic independence on hardware.
  • Deploy and develop more DevOps and containers. More computing power of mobile devices shift to the cloud. Eventually we’ll each have our own container running computing for our mobile device.
  • Algorithms as applications. Calls on demand. Data processing centric. Committing to a next generation platform with Java or .Net lets developers be more flexible in continuous development with automated qualities and controls that are tested.
  • The future is now. Cloud-based apps run IT. Analytics and data improve customer satisfaction. Provide a great UX through your own assets. Cloud-based applications create an experience that leads to value. IBM hasn’t been able to monetize the cloud. Airbnb and Uber have created experiences with no assets. Innovation creates wealth.
  • Cloud platforms are here to stay. Think through security and integration barriers. Cloud as everything re-platformed should be based on an understanding of what people are using. Experience of re-platforming provides insight into what infrastructure needs to be built with rich functionality and UX.
  • Extremely bright, not black and white, mixed future with a much shorter time to market. We’ll need solutions to keep an eye on everything.
  • The ecosystem is not simple, it’s getting more and more complex with regards to how people assemble but less with regards to how to manage. Micro services based on apps. More complex than virtual machines. More flexibility, scalability. Need automated tools to manage. Number of players and specifications are forming. Container formats bring complexity to a single format. CMCS – how to orchestrate a foundation. Forming to bring sanity to initiatives to have less complexity.
  • Choice is the operative word. Look to build platform agnostic. When you’re rewriting a legacy platform to run on the cloud, you don’t want to be locked in yet again. Build technology that defeats vendor lock-ins like containers.
  • Hybrid – apps that go from one cloud to multiple providers so you can choose what works best for the particular app. Design apps that can work across clouds. We’re just starting to see apps that are hybrid enabled. We need to ask why I should run this app in the cloud. Clarify thinking of what, why, and where. Why should be driving the decision. How shouldn’t be driven by where the app is running – the app should be sufficiently resilient to run anywhere.
  • The vast majority of apps will be in the cloud. Sun Corp in Australia is a leading international financial services provider in the cloud that's getting other financial institutions to question the regulations that prevent them from establishing a presence in the cloud. AWS today is bigger than Red Hat and VM Ware combined – that’s a great proxy for the democracy that’s taking place from developers on up. Businesses are differentiating on software assets.
  • The Amazon Lambda trend will continue. Don’t worry about servers or the software layer just write the logic and deploy – available as a service. Tie to the micro services world. Highly specialized with little code. We won’t have to think about servers or operations. We help you write the routine with drag and drop making function calls from mobile apps.
  • Customers feel more confident on public clouds with acceptable levels of security and customization. Public and private clouds will continue to co-exist. If data is hosted on either cloud, data mining challenges will go away. We’re focused on supporting customer on both.
  • V5, the future, is smart apps that combine situational awareness with predictive analytics. For example, a doctor in a hospital visits a patient with a sensor that communicates the patient's vital signs to the doctor’s iPad showing symptoms and medication protocol combing that with big data and proactively giving suggestions on how to treat the patient based on millions of other cases.
  • Platform as a service handles the running, implementation and management of the app. Much easier than doing it yourself. Empowers developers to focus on writing code.
  • Everything is more accessible to developers and innovators. Ability to change the marketplace in every industry. Machines and people are driving cloud-based apps and apps will begin to learn the usage and provisioning profiles. Intelligence and support will become more robust. The growth of wearables will drive changes in how we think about apps. There will be more security, trust, and legal requirements with all of the personal data that is collected. Cloud-based apps will disrupt business processes in more seamless ways. Collaboration will be at the core of sales, HR, finance, ERP from lead to order to fulfillment identifying cheaper and faster ways to add value.
  • Architecture understands APIs connecting between micro services and applications. This can be completely SaaS based and manage all of the elements of the database, load balancing, orchestration, collaboration (Kubernetes and Swarm). Find the right set of cloud services needed for the app. Save money by not maintaining hardware or software and doing in-house. This requires a change in how you manage your apps. When managing a terabyte or gigabyte of data you don’t need the same number of people to manage that you used to. SaaS is always cheaper.
  • More apps moving to the cloud for economical reasons as well as adding benefits like integrated platforms, open APIs, extract data, execute services between multiple platforms. Greater openness of platforms and integration. People are maturing in how to develop a cloud-based architecture with security, redundancy, and backup. People want to be absolved of risk management with service level agreements (SLAs) as opposed to having business continuity plans. How to mitigate? Reduce the risk of disruption by having some level of capability, reliance and understanding of what needed to have a secure and redundant app.
  • Cloud-based apps (SaaS) and externally hosted with a third party (IaaS). As both users and apps become more distributed there are implications to understand the app experience being delivered across diverse geographies. Micro services experimenting with Docker and cluster managers (containers like Kubernetes and Apache MesoX). We need to determine who provides the services, who monitors, parse pieces of open source code or products like Lambda shared across many services. Service availability and delivery of the architecture of applications. The network grows in importance as hosting services are integrated. Now its being done with APIs, in the future it will be done with more micro services with the concept of micro services as a smaller container that can measure performance of the different elements of the app in smaller increments.
  • In general, apps will continue to become lighter-weight, be more mobile-friendly and be deployed in a microservice-esque model. The days of the single monolithic application are shrinking and a lot of the new, cloud development is being done in lightweight scripting languages and is heavily service-oriented. Current and future clouds will have to support polyglot languages and deployment models to address new and legacy applications.  

What do you foresee as the future of cloud-based applications?