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Best Cloud Development Platform Shortlist

Here are what I think are the 12 best cloud development platforms for deploying your cloud-based apps, with additional options below:

  1. Amazon Web Services Cloud9 - Best for collaboration
  2. Microsoft Azure - Best for machine learning and AI
  3. Google Cloud Platform - Best for building and deploying cloud applications
  4. Heroku - Best for scaling web applications
  5. IBM Cloud - Best for blockchain and AI
  6. Red Hat OpenShift - The best platform for developers
  7. SAP Business Technology Platform - Best for developing and deploying enterprise-scale applications
  8. OpenStack - Best for building and managing private and public clouds
  9. Oracle Cloud Interface - Best for database management
  10. Salesforce Platform - Best for building custom business applications
  11. Cloud Foundry - Best scalable, open-source option
  12. DigitalOcean - Best for simplicity and affordability

I’ve found that the right cloud development platform can be a game-changer for streamlining the app development lifecycle — especially if you’re taking an agile, CI/CD lifecycle approach. 

Whether you're building a web app, a mobile app, or a backend service, cloud development platforms help get your applications up and running quickly. Here, I'll explain each platform's unique benefits so you can select the one that works best for you.

What Is a Cloud Development Platform?

A cloud development platform provides tools to streamline the process of building and managing applications in a cloud-based environment. These platforms let you work on your applications from anywhere, collaborate with other developers, and quickly deploy your code to the cloud. 

Features such as pre-built assets and low-code capabilities can help you build and deploy cloud applications swiftly and at scale, and some platforms offer easy integrations with next-level technologies like AI and blockchains.

Overviews of the 12 Best Cloud Development Platforms

Here’s my assessment of each platform’s unique advantages, from collaboration and machine learning to scalability and simplicity.

1. Amazon Web Services Cloud9 - Best for collaboration

A screenshot of the Amazon cloud9 features page showcasing the integrated debugger feature
AWS Cloud9 integrated debugger. (Source)

Amazon Web Services Cloud9 is a cloud-native integrated development environment (IDE), which provides a terminal to write and test code right in your browser. It is renowned for its impressive collaboration capabilities.

Why I picked Amazon Web Services Cloud9:
I chose Cloud9 because I liked the ease of collaboration via shared cloud environments that allow your team to work together from anywhere. I discovered that multiple developers could work on the same codebase simultaneously, making it an ideal platform for team-based development projects. Online hosting means you don’t have to install anything to get started, and this easy entry is another reason why Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the go-to choice for many developers.

AWS Cloud9 Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features in AWS Cloud9 include support for multiple languages, such as JavaScript, Python, and PHP. Integrated debugger with code-hinting and code completion tools. The centralized ecosystem enables collaboration, and I found it was great for cloud migration, analytics, app development, and deployment.

Integrations offered natively for Amazon Web Services Cloud9 include other AWS services and common external tools like GitHub.

Pricing: Pay-as-you-go pricing model

Trial: Free plan available


  • Easy collaboration
  • Highly functional across the globe
  • Scalability and flexibility


  • No free technical support
  • Steep learning curve

2. Microsoft Azure - Best for machine learning and AI

An image showing the different techniques of creating and deploying web applications
Examine Microsoft Azure cloud process. (Source)

Azure gives you everything you need to create robust and secure applications without worrying about infrastructure management. Azure's offerings include a comprehensive suite of cloud services, advanced AI capabilities, global scalability, robust security measures, and integration options. It's a game-changer in cloud computing, and developers can't get enough of it.

Why I picked Microsoft Azure: I chose Microsoft Azure because it offers a broad selection of pre-designed templates, powerful machine-learning capabilities, and ready-to-use AI models. These features significantly accelerate the development process by providing efficient tools and resources to build and deploy applications with advanced functionalities.

Azure Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout Features include its advanced AI and machine learning capabilities, robust security measures, and compliance certifications. Furthermore, I discovered you could integrate with on-site environments through hybrid cloud capabilities.

Integrations include native support for other Microsoft services such as Office 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform. It also includes pre-built integrations with third-party tools like GitHub, Splunk, and Tableau.

Pricing: Pay-as-you-go model

Trial: $200 credit, 30-day free trial


  • Robust AI and machine learning capabilities
  • Extensive compliance certifications
  • Hybrid cloud capabilities.


  • It can be complex for beginners
  • Some services can be costly.

3. Google Cloud Platform - Best for building and deploying cloud applications

A list of the different cloud services on Google Cloud Platform
Explore Google Cloud Platform services. (Source)

Google Cloud Platform is a comprehensive cloud computing platform globally recognized for its scalable and reliable infrastructure. GCP’s ecosystem includes a wide variety of tools, including Google Cloud Functions, Google App Engine, Kubernetes Engine, and Cloud Firestore – all geared toward helping developers create and manage cloud-based applications.

Why I picked Google Cloud Platform: I selected Google Cloud Platform (GCP) because it excels in providing a highly scalable infrastructure that effortlessly handles varying workloads, ensuring optimal performance and flexibility for building cloud applications.

Google Cloud Platform Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features that I appreciated in Google Cloud Platform (GCP) were its remarkable scalability and flexibility. Automatic scaling based on demand ensures optimal performance and cost efficiency. I also found that GCP's integration with the Google Cloud AI offered powerful machine learning capabilities for tasks like image recognition, natural language processing, and predictive analytics.

Integrations: Google Cloud Platform (GCP) provides integrations with Cloud Build for continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD), Cloud Functions for serverless function execution, and Cloud Storage for data storage and retrieval, all native to the platform.

Pricing: Pay-as-you-go model.

Trial: Free plan available


  • Scalable and flexible
  • Extensive machine learning capabilities
  • High-performance computing.


  • It can be complex for beginners
  • Some services can be costly.

4. Heroku - Best for scaling web applications

A list of supported programming languages of Heroku
View the officially supported languages on Heroku. (Source)

If you need to scale your web applications, Heroku is the perfect cloud-based platform. It's easy to use, flexible, and offers a variety of features that make it popular among small businesses and startups. With Heroku, you can quickly deploy, manage, and scale your web applications hassle-free.

Why I picked Heroku: I chose Heroku because of its user-friendly and straightforward deployment process that allows for the easy scalability of web applications. I also appreciated the on-demand flexibility to add or remove components like dynos and data storage.

Heroku Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout Features include its capability to help me deploy and adjust web applications quickly. Heroku also supports various programming languages. Furthermore, it has built-in add-ons for common services, such as databases and caching.

Integrations include native integration with Salesforce for application development and data synchronization while also offering a wide range of pre-built add-ons for services such as databases, monitoring, and logging.

Pricing: From $5/month

Trial: Free demo


  • Easy to use
  • Scalable
  • Supports a wide range of programming languages.


  • Limited customization options
  • It can quickly become costly

5. IBM Cloud - Best for blockchain and AI

A screenshot of the benefits of IBM Cloud
Explore the different IBM Cloud benefits. (Source)

The IBM Cloud is a specialized cloud platform focusing on blockchain and AI. It provides developers with various services like storage, network, compute, etc, to create, launch, and oversee blockchain applications. Additionally, it allows for the integration of AI capabilities into their apps.

Why I picked IBM Cloud:

I confidently selected IBM Cloud as my go-to cloud development platform for its exceptional incorporation of blockchain technology and AI. Developers can effortlessly create, launch, and maintain blockchain applications with its IBM Blockchain Platform based on the Hyperledger Fabric framework.

IBM Cloud Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include its blockchain platform, enterprise-level security and compliance, support for programming languages, and a vast catalog of pre-built services and APIs.

Integrations include native integrations with IBM Watson services and GitHub, enabling developers to connect repositories and facilitate continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) workflows.

Pricing: Pay-as-you-go model

Trial: Free plan available


  • Robust blockchain and AI capabilities
  • Extensive security features
  • Hybrid cloud management


  • Steep learning curve
  • Queries might take some time to load

6. Red Hat OpenShift - Best platforms for developers

A view of different cloud providers OpenShift is available for as a turnkey platform
Red Hat OpenShift turnkey application platform. (Source)

Red Hat OpenShift is a container application platform best suited for developers. Built on Kubernetes for orchestration, OpenShift gives developers an effective platform to build and deploy applications with an agile DevOps approach.

Why I picked Red Hat: I picked Red Hat because it is an open-source Kubernetes-based platform for containerization applications, and offers a consistent approach for public clouds, on-prem servers, and hybrid environments. I appreciated how this could simplify the software development lifecycle and enable continuous integration and deployment.

Red Hat Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include containerization capabilities that allow me to deploy web apps quickly, as well as automation, integration solutions, and support services. These features‌ make Red Hat a compelling choice for businesses seeking a customizable and scalable private cloud environment.

Integrations include extensive integrations within the Kubernetes ecosystem, encompassing container orchestration, monitoring, logging, and various other functionalities. These integrations are native to the Red Hat OpenShift platform.

Pricing: Pricing upon request.

Trial: Free plan available


  • Easy to use
  • Container-based platform
  • Extensive DevOps tools


  • Limited customization options
  • Complex to manage for users new to containerization and DevOps.

7. SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) - Best for developing and deploying enterprise-scale applications

A simple image with the text “Innovate with native integrations to SAP applications”
Innovate with native Integrations to SAP applications. (Source)

SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) is a cloud-based platform best suited for developing and deploying enterprise applications. It offers services and tools that enable developers to quickly build and deploy complex applications, including analytics, integration, and extensibility capabilities.

Why I picked SAP BTP: I chose this platform because of its comprehensive end-to-end development lifecycle management and integration with SAP enterprise software solutions. Developers can benefit from the robust cloud infrastructure, and industry-specific capabilities to develop applications addressing unique requirements in a particular industry.

SAP BTP Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include streamlined development processes, a scalable cloud infrastructure, advanced analytics and machine learning, and access to an app store and marketplace. I found great support for developing applications and monetizing them in a thriving ecosystem.

Integrations include integrations with various SAP applications, including SAP S/4HANA, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Customer Experience, and more. These integrations are native to SAP BTP.

Pricing: Pay-as-you-go model

Trial: Free plan available


  • Robust analytics and integrations
  • Great extensibility capabilities
  • Supports a range of programming languages


  • Some services might be costly
  • Limited flexibility outside the SAP ecosystem

8. OpenStack - Best for building and managing private and public clouds

A graphic of various third-party services and built-in tools available on OpenStack
Explore the integrations available on OpenStack. (Source)

OpenStack is an open-source cloud computing platform allowing users to build and manage private and public clouds. It provides a flexible and scalable infrastructure for virtual machines, storage, and networking components.

Why I picked OpenStack: I picked OpenStack because it provides a flexible and open-source cloud computing platform that offers robust infrastructure management capabilities, allowing me to easily build, scale, and manage private and public clouds according to my specific needs and requirements. Additionally, OpenStack's large and active community ensures continuous innovation and support for the platform.

OpenStack Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include its nature as an open-source, community-driven platform with flexible architecture. I also liked that it offered support for horizontal scaling that allows you to add and remove resources as the business demands.

Integrations include popular hypervisors like KVM, VMware, and Hyper-V. It also integrates with storage systems like Ceph and Swift and with networking technologies like Neutron.

Pricing: Pricing upon request

Trial: Free plan available


  • Open-source and customizable
  • Strong community support
  • Scalable and flexible app architecture


  • Requires technical expertise for setup and management
  • Complexity can be a barrier for beginners

9. Oracle Cloud Interface - Best for database management

Oracle Cloud Interface services
Oracle Cloud Interface services. (Source)

Oracle Cloud is a comprehensive cloud platform that offers a range of services, including infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS). It provides a robust and secure environment for building and deploying applications.

Why I picked Oracle: I picked this platform because Oracle offers a comprehensive suite of cloud services from SaaS to PaaS and IaaS. Its easy integration with existing Oracle services makes it the best database management and app deployment choice.

Oracle Cloud Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include enterprise-grade scalability and an integrated suite of services, including computing, storage, networking, databases, AI/ML, analytics, and more. I found this offers good support for developers to build end-to-end solutions within a single platform.

Integrations include native integrations with Oracle products and services, including Oracle Database, Oracle Applications, and Oracle Integration Cloud.

Pricing: Pay-as-you-go pricing model

Trial: 30-day free trial


  • A comprehensive suite of cloud-based services
  • Strong security and compliance features
  • Integration with Oracle technologies


  • It may be costly compared to some other cloud-based solutions
  • High learning curve for developers unfamiliar with Oracle technologies

10. Salesforce Platform - Best for building custom business applications

A customer success story by Savinay Berry, EVP Product & Engineering of Vonage
Salesforce customer success story. (Source)

Salesforce is an exceptional cloud-based platform for customer relationship management that provides a wide range of services and tools for sales, marketing, service, and collaboration. Its highly customizable and scalable environment makes it the perfect choice for building customer-centric applications.

Why I picked Salesforce: I chose Salesforce because of its low-code development capabilities for building customer-centric applications, which enables faster application development and empowers non-technical users to contribute to the development process. Additionally, Salesforce's extensive ecosystem and pre-built functionalities provide a robust foundation for creating scalable and customizable solutions tailored to specific business needs.

Salesforce Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include its CRM capabilities, offering features for lead management, sales automation, customer support, and more. I like that it also provides a vast marketplace of pre-built cloud apps and integrations, allowing developers to extend the platform's functionality.

Integrations include integration through Zapier with numerous pre-built applications available on the Salesforce AppExchange marketplace, including popular productivity tools, marketing automation platforms, and data integration tools.

Pricing: From $25/user/month

Trial: Free plan available


  • Powerful CRM functionality
  • Extensive app marketplace for customization
  • Low-code development capabilities


  • Costs can escalate with additional features and users
  • Limited flexibility outside the CRM domain

11. Cloud Foundry - Best scalable, open-source option

A screenshot of Cloud Foundry homepage showcasing the platform’s support for different top programming languages
Cloud Foundry supports top programming languages. (Source)

Cloud Foundry is an open-source platform as a service (PaaS) solution that provides developers with a streamlined and scalable environment for deploying and managing applications across multiple clouds.

Why I picked Cloud Foundry: I chose Cloud Foundry due to its highly scalable and resilient architecture, which enables applications to handle varying workloads and maintain high availability effortlessly. With Cloud Foundry's robust infrastructure, you can quickly scale applications up or down based on demand, ensuring optimal performance and resource utilization.

Cloud Foundry Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include its multi-cloud support, allowing my applications to be deployed across different cloud providers, and its container-based architecture that simplifies application packaging. With these features, developers can achieve portability, scalability, and flexibility in deploying their applications in cloud environments.

Integrations include native integrations with various cloud providers, like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. It also integrates with popular CI/CD tools and container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes.

Pricing: Pricing upon request.

Trial: Free plan available


  • Multi-cloud support and avoidance of vendor lock-in
  • Streamlined workflow and developer productivity
  • Automation of application lifecycle


  • Requires infrastructure resources and expertise
  • It may have a steeper learning curve for beginners

12. DigitalOcean - Best for simplicity and affordability

A list of the featured DigitalOcean products
Explore DigitalOcean's extensive list of products. (Source)

DigitalOcean is a cloud infrastructure provider focused on simplicity and developer-friendly features. It offers scalable virtual machines (Droplets), managed Kubernetes, and other services suitable for developers and small to medium-sized businesses.

Why I picked DigitalOcean: I selected DigitalOcean for its simple and intuitive user interface, which makes it easy for developers to navigate and manage their cloud resources. The user-friendly experience of DigitalOcean enables developers to quickly deploy and configure their applications without the need for extensive technical expertise, streamlining the development process.

DigitalOcean Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include a scalable infrastructure with pre-configured application templates, making it effortless to deploy popular software stacks, databases, and development frameworks. With just a few clicks, I can quickly set up and start working with the tools and environments I need for my projects.

Integrations include integrations with various developer tools and frameworks, including popular content management systems (CMS), databases, and CI/CD platforms through Zapier.

Pricing: Starts from $12/month while the Database plan starts from $15/month

Trial: $200 credit 60-day free trial


  • User-friendly interface and straightforward pricing
  • One-click application deployment
  • Scalability and solid performance


  • Limited enterprise-grade features and services
  • Relatively minor ecosystem compared to larger cloud providers

Other Cloud Development Platform Options

In addition to my shortlisted cloud development platforms, here are a few more options to cater to specific needs and use cases. These platforms have unique features and strengths that make them well-suited for particular development requirements.

  1. TensorFlow - best for building and deploying AI models
  2. Firebase- best for mobile app development
  3. - best for building web apps with a high level of automation
  4. Mendix- best for making enterprise-grades apps quickly
  5. Virtuozzo - best for managing applications in a multi-cloud environment

You can also check out my list of the best overall cloud service providers, which has a few more good options.

Selection Criteria For Cloud Development Platforms

In developing my list of the best cloud development platforms, I carefully evaluated each platform based on several critical criteria. Here's a detailed breakdown of the criteria I used:

Core Functionality

When evaluating the platforms, I focused on the following core functionalities:

  • Infrastructure Resources: I assessed whether each platform offers essential infrastructure resources such as virtual machines, storage options, and networking capabilities to support application development and deployment.
  • Programming Language Support: I considered whether the platforms support a diverse range of programming languages and frameworks, ensuring developers have flexibility and compatibility with their preferred development technologies.

By considering these factors, I aimed to select a platform that provides vital infrastructure resources and accommodates diverse development needs in terms of programming languages and frameworks.

Key Features

I delved into the key features offered by each platform to identify standout capabilities. This involved looking for:

  • Built-in automation tools
  • Support for continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) pipelines
  • Containerization support
  • Serverless computing options
  • Machine learning
  • Monitoring capabilities


I assessed the overall usability of the platforms by considering factors such as the learning curve, documentation quality, and availability of comprehensive developer resources like tutorials, sample code, and community support.


I considered each platform's integration capabilities to determine its compatibility with popular development tools, frameworks, databases, and third-party services. I gave platforms with robust APIs and SDKs for integration with other services extra consideration. Integration with widely used technologies ensures flexibility and interoperability, allowing developers to leverage existing tools and services effectively.

Cost and Pricing Model

Understanding each platform's cost and pricing model was essential to provide comprehensive information to developers and the software development team. I delved into both the essential pricing structures and additional costs associated with specific services or support.

Many of these platforms use pay-as-you-go and resource usage-based pricing, so your out-of-pocket costs will vary widely depending on your actual usage. If you only need a straightforward platform-as-a-service environment in which to build apps, you can get started with a basic infrastructure from a provider like Heroku for as little as $5 per month. On the higher end, a robust product like Salesforce offers absolutely everything you need for customer relationship management, but this enterprise-grade software comes with an accompanying enterprise-grade price tag of $25 per user per month.

By meticulously evaluating these criteria, I aimed to provide a detailed assessment of each cloud development platform and present developers with comprehensive insights for making informed decisions.

People Also Ask

The following section will explore common questions related to cloud development platforms.

Next Steps in Cloud Development

Cloud technology has significantly transformed business operations by providing exceptional scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. But to make the most of the cloud, developers must keep up with the latest tools as technology advances.

I hope my list of the best cloud development platforms has given you the comprehensive knowledge to make an informed decision based on your project needs.

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By Paulo Gardini Miguel

Paulo is the Director of Technology at the rapidly growing media tech company BWZ. Prior to that, he worked as a Software Engineering Manager and then Head Of Technology at Navegg, Latin America’s largest data marketplace, and as Full Stack Engineer at MapLink, which provides geolocation APIs as a service. Paulo draws insight from years of experience serving as an infrastructure architect, team leader, and product developer in rapidly scaling web environments. He’s driven to share his expertise with other technology leaders to help them build great teams, improve performance, optimize resources, and create foundations for scalability.