Cloud Application Development: Dos and Don’ts
Cloud applications are becoming one of the popular options for businesses all over the world. The reason is, it helps them with their cost-cutting strategies.
Since cloud computing works with the help of the internet, the cost of setting up hardware and maintaining the infrastructure can be avoided. Also, the SAAS products have better support and they are easy to use due to their popularity and user base.
What is cloud computing?
Microsoft defines cloud computing as
“Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.”
The main benefits of cloud computing are
- You pay only for cloud services/resources you use
- Scalability: As more resources are easily available
- Affordability: As you can run the infrastructure more efficiently
As cloud computing became more popular, there was a new trend that became prominent in the industry. The rise of cloud applications.
What are cloud applications?
A cloud application is software that works with the help of data stored in a remote server and uses its resources to process the data and functions. A cloud application has two different systems that work in synchronization. They are client-side and server-side systems. While some processes will take place on the client-side (client’s device/local hardware), the remaining process will be taking place on the server-side which is located remotely and connected with the help of the internet.
One of the main benefits of cloud applications is that they can be accessed from different devices, at any time from anywhere. Also, there are cloud applications that can work without being installed on local devices. Due to such benefits, cloud applications are becoming more popular in the technology industry.
Why should you use cloud applications?
The main advantage of cloud applications is that they save you money. Most of the cloud applications offer “pay as you go’ plans helping you pay only for the features you use. Also, there is no setup and maintenance cost in the traditional sense.
As cloud applications offer flexibility in terms of features, it is easier for you to upgrade them when a need arises. You can add more features to your existing plan and the investment is reasonable.
Another major benefit of cloud applications is security. Since cloud services are offered by big companies, they can invest dedicated resources in improving the security of data and their services. They have more resources to invest in research and measurements to prevent data theft that may not be possible for a company that chooses in house data storage.
Cloud applications can be accessed from different devices by different users at the same time. You can access the same applications – if they are cloud-based – from a mobile or personal computer anywhere in the world. Due to this, cloud applications are the popular choice for big companies that spread across the globe or companies with a remote workforce.
If you are a business that needs your team to collaborate on a large number of tasks, cloud applications are the best solutions. As cloud applications handle data instantly, sharing of information between team members becomes fast and secure. Some dedicated cloud applications offer their users the advantage of working on the same task simultaneously from across the globe. As a result, the execution of tasks takes less time.
Cloud applications can be used as a way to implement your company culture and quality control. As everyone in your team can access the same data and information stored in the applications, you can maintain quality standards, consistency in data formats and avoid human errors. It also helps with record-keeping as any updates from a user are automatically recorded by the cloud applications. Monitoring work progress and reviewing tasks will also become easier.
As data is stored remotely and across multiple servers, the chance for data loss becomes less in the case of cloud applications. On the other hand, if you had gone with the traditional method of storing the data locally – in your company premises – any accident or natural calamities may lead to the loss of such valuable data. By storing data locally, you will also have the risk of data theft from a malicious insider.
As mentioned earlier, cloud computing services are offered by big companies or companies that dedicate a good portion of resources in research and development in the latest technologies to cut down the competition for themselves. As they offer cloud computing as a service, it is natural for them to have competitors and the only way for them to stay in the business is to offer their clients – you – the best and latest services possible. As a result, when you opt for cloud applications you have a higher chance that you have the most up to date technology in your hand compared to your competitor who still uses traditional methods and invests their own limited resources on technology research and advancement.
Other benefits of Cloud applications
- There is no need to install a cloud application on your device to get it working. Unlike traditional apps, they can work with the help of the internet and without using the resources of the local system. It also offers all features of a desktop app.
- The main advantage of using a cloud application is that it uses many cloud servers that are placed across the world. So, the data is faster to retrieve irrespective of your location. Also, the data are more secure as they are remotely stored.
- The virtual server helps the user to access the data from the nearest server thus decreasing latency.
- Updations and deployment can be done quickly for a cloud app.
- As only authorized users can access the data on cloud apps there is less data theft from internal parties.
- Cloud applications offer mobility. A user can access the cloud app at any time, from anywhere. Usually, cloud applications support a variety of devices too.
Cloud-based services for app development
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): This includes services such as storage, security, and backup. IaaS is an important part of web architecture. Businesses get servers in which they can run their applications without giving the operational costs when choosing this service.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): Provides a platform for application creation. You can deploy your app at a low cost and significantly reduce the amount of coding.
- Software as a Service (SaaS): Can be rented on a per month or per user basis. Applications managed by a third-party vendor are delivered through the internet. Can reduce the time spent on processes such as installing, updating etc.
Cloud application development
Now you already know that cloud applications offer several benefits for your business. However, these advantages can be taken away by bad development practices. If a cloud application is developed in the wrong way, it is more likely that it will handicap your business than offering you any advantages.
So to ensure the quality of the cloud application, the cloud application development companies should follow certain principles.
Cloud application development: Dos
One of the purposes of cloud applications is to store data separately, remotely, and safely. By storing the data on your application, you are not only sabotaging the purpose but also making your apps slower as it now has to handle data and operations. By separating data from the app you are making your app function faster as it now has to only take care of the processes it intended to do.
Technology is not immune to errors. Even if the application is built by the best developers, there are chances for bugs due to reasons out of their control. So keeping a log file of things is very important for every application.
However, if you store the logs in the local system, it is less accessible compared to storing them on third-party log aggregators. The use of third-party log aggregators will prevent situations where the logs are lost forever, become partially corrupted, not synchronized, or just simply not accessible.
One of the reasons why businesses choose cloud applications is that they are easy to scale. However, scaling is not an easy task. If there are restrictions like the ones caused by bad coding, selection of improper platforms, components, or the environment, the application will be difficult or even impossible to scale. So, it is important that future-proofing should be implemented from the conceptualization phase itself.
The advantage of cloud applications is that the data is stored remotely and separately. However, if poorly executed this can turn into a disadvantage.
Data is an important component of an application. To work as intended, the application should be able to communicate easily with the server and process the data faster. So it is important that each component of a cloud application is working as intended and the communication between these components is properly optimized.
As the data are stored remotely and separately away from the local system, there is a higher risk of data vulnerability. To overcome this, the developers should adopt the best ways to make the communication between the app and server secure. Also, as cloud servers are a favourite target for hackers and people with malicious intent, you should always choose cloud services providers who follow strict security measures and adopt the latest technologies at a fast pace.
Use a common standard for your codes, platforms, and topology. This will ensure that the app you built will fit in most cloud environments. It will also help you with the scalability of your applications as mostly the process will be automated and certain standards need to be followed.
Periodically checks for vulnerabilities. Since Cloud applications work with the help of the internet there is a higher risk of data breaches and security exploit.
Cloud technology is a fast-growing industry. New technologies are emerging day by day and the services are becoming complex. However, the client may not be aware of the complexity of cloud technologies. So, always try to educate them on the benefits of the cloud, what features will benefit them, what are the limitations and how the cost can be calculated.
Cloud application development: Don’t s
Security and privacy
Never neglect data security and privacy. Two of the major concerns when it comes to cloud applications are how secure the application is and whether it values user privacy. Follow strict policies on security and privacy and always adopt the latest trends in these fields.
Server outages can be common. However, it must be avoided when it comes to cloud applications as without server connectivity the application will not work. For most businesses, it will affect their day-to-day functions and revenue.
You won’t be seeing yourself moving to the cloud anytime sooner. However, that does not eliminate the possibility of you adopting cloud as the requirement changes in the future. As mentioned earlier, you should always keep this possibility in mind and avoid any complexity in the system which will hinder the process.
Don’t test your luck
There are several companies offering almost the same cloud services. But that does not mean that all of them offer the same quality of services. Instead of trusting your instinct you should carefully evaluate your options, study what their services offer, check their customer feedback and review their service level agreement (SLA). Switching between various cloud providers may not be easy and it will cost you a lot of resources and expertise.
Never force all your existing applications to migrate to the cloud. It is common that big corporations have hundreds of applications in their arsenal. However, not all of them will be suitable to migrate to the cloud. A few may not be worth migrating when evaluating the cost and benefits. So, prioritize the applications based on the value when it comes to cloud migration.
Never try to save money on cloud migration and the process by underfunding. You should first analyze whether it is beneficial for your business to move to the cloud. If yes, make sure that the process is well-governed, monitored, and implemented. That way you can save more money in the long term and avoid any pitfalls due to quality issues.
Never forget to document everything. It will not only help you with reevaluating the process if any pitfall occurs but also help your team with future development. Without documentation, your team will not have any clarity on the limitations of the application and the environment and it will be difficult for them to envisage a roadmap for further development of the application.
Never forget to start the process with a cost analysis. Approach a good application development company that is an expert in cloud-related services. They can help you with evaluating the cost most accurately as there may be additional or indirect costs that you may miss out on. For example, as a business, you may not know the right cloud architecture for your application or you will not know the additional cost associated with optimizing the application prior to moving it to the cloud. A cloud application development company can easily identify them.
Hiring cloud application development company
Before hiring a cloud application development company, consider some of these points:
- Define your goals prior to approaching a cloud application development company. Having a perfect understanding of your goals helps the cloud application developer to plan and execute the project easier.
- Analyze if your application is suitable for migrating to a cloud. There might be a need for a complete rewriting of the application.
- Select your deployment model-whether it is a private cloud or a public cloud. Private clouds are more costly. Public clouds are less costly but there is a higher risk of security.
- Build custom cloud management platforms to keep everything in checks such as the security and application performance.
- Prior to deployment, test the cloud app for potential security risks. Testing should also be done to ensure optimal performance.
- Before hiring a cloud application development company, always research their credibility. Choose one which is following global standards for data processing and handling.
- Make sure that the cloud platforms have containers. Containers are used to divide the applications into components which help in easy deployment.
Moving to the cloud has its own benefits. However, these benefits come with their own complexities. While cloud applications are becoming more popular and they are replacing traditional applications across multiple verticals, businesses need the assistance of an expert in the field to reap the actual benefits of the cloud. AlignMinds has more than a decade of experience in developing best-in-class applications in mobility and cloud platforms. If you are searching for a technology partner for your next project, contact us now.