In today’s cloud era, every IT resource is hosted in the cloud and delivered over the Internet via a pay-per-use subscription model. While the amazing benefits offered by the cloud have inspired the software industry to embrace cloud development, the recent pandemic has forced everyone to move towards the digital world. As work-from-home environments are here to stay, cloud development has now become more important than ever.
What is Cloud Development?
Cloud development is about developing software applications using computing infrastructure that is hosted in the cloud. Instead of building and managing your servers and physical hardware, you can access technology services hosted in the cloud via a pay-per-use model.
Right from servers, data storage and network resources to OS, Middleware and Run-time environment, everything can be accessed over the Internet.
In addition, you gain access to ready-made cloud solutions for monitoring, analytics etc. Amazon is a leading provider of public cloud solutions while VMware tops the private cloud services segment.
Cloud-based apps are highly scalable and flexible. They can be accessed from any device, any location using APIs. The app data is stored in the cloud and resides on the user’s device as a cache enabling the user to work offline. When the app is connected online, the cache data gets updated. Google Docs, Evernote, Canva, Dropbox are a few popular examples of cloud-based apps.
Why is Cloud Development Popular?
Cloud development offers amazing benefits to organizations. Firstly, it eliminates the need to invest heavily in on-premise infrastructure and licensing costs. With a pay-per-use model, you can only pay for the services used. It gives you access to cutting-edge technologies at cost-effective prices. Secondly, cloud development facilitates seamless collaboration between teams located in different geo-locations. Thirdly, cloud development offers high scalability, flexibility, unlimited storage, faster time to market and automatic recovery options. In addition, it automatically updates the software and performs maintenance which means you can focus on building quality software products.
Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform are the leading providers of cloud development solutions.
Web Apps are not Cloud Apps
Often, cloud development is confused with web development. It is important to understand that all cloud apps are web apps but all web apps are not cloud apps. To be precise, cloud-based apps are an advanced version of web-based apps. Web-based apps depend on browsers and scalability and customization is limited. The data is stored on a single data server. You can’t work offline with web-based apps. On the other hand, cloud apps are highly scalable and customizable. The data is stored across multiple data-centers using replication techniques and you can work offline as well.
Cloud Development Challenges
While cloud development seems a great option, it comes with certain challenges. Cloud development demands seamless collaboration between different teams such as developers, designers, QA managers, data analysts, DevOps engineers etc. The project involves different cloud technologies such as AWS, Azure, GCP etc. So, people working on cloud apps should have good knowledge about various platforms and be able to integrate apps with different services using APIs.
Secondly, cloud development brings security concerns. As such, security should be implemented right into the CI/CD pipeline so that it can become a part of automation. It is recommended to separate app data from app architecture code. Thirdly, cloud development offers higher scalability. However, scalability that is not optimized will overrun your cloud budgets. As such, it is important to have clear network visibility to gain better control over cloud infrastructure.
Mobility solutions, disaster recovery, Flexibility and reduced workloads are some of the key drivers to cloud adoption. However, cloud development requires expert knowledge of cloud technologies. When rightly implemented, cloud development improves your operational efficiencies and optimizes costs while improving user experience.