What is Cloud Application Development?
According to the latest data, more than 40 zettabytes (1 zettabyte = 1 trillion Gigabytes) of data are flowing through the world’s cloud servers and networks.
Have you been thinking about investing in cloud application development for your business? Are you confused about “the cloud” and what cloud apps are?
If so, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn more about cloud app development, how it works, and the benefits it has to offer.
The Cloud: The Basics
Most people have heard of “the Cloud” at one point or another, especially if they have a smartphone or tablet. However, the majority of these folks have no idea what the cloud even is.
Put simply, the term “the Cloud” refers to a series of servers that can be accessed across the internet, as well as the software and databases that run on these servers. There are Cloud servers all over the world stored in data centers.
There are also 3 different branches of “the Cloud” that you and your team may utilize. They are as follows:
The private Cloud is a highly secure model of cloud computing. The infrastructure of this model is dedicated to a single user or organization.
The public Cloud is a less secure cloud computing model. With this model, a provider owns and operates the computing resources. Then, it’s shared across multiple tenants with the help of the internet.
Hybrid cloud computing features applications that run across private and public environments. Hybrid cloud computing is the most popular option these days, as most people don’t trust or like to rely exclusively on the public cloud for security purposes.
Benefits of the Cloud
The Cloud and cloud computing allow users to access data and use various apps and programs without having to manage physical servers or run apps with their own machines.
The Cloud also enables them to access files and apps anywhere and from any device. They can log into a social media account — or any other account, for that matter — on a new phone or tablet and find all their data exactly as it was.
For business owners, making the switch to cloud computing helps them to cut down on IT costs and tech-related overhead. They won’t need to worry about updating and maintaining servers, for example, and they’ll be able to allocate more resources to other important things.
The cloud allows for easier international operations as well since customers and employees will be able to access all the same files and applications no matter where they are.
What Is a Cloud-Based App?
A cloud-based app (also known as a Cloud app) is an app that — as the name suggests — uses Cloud-based services.
These apps rely on remote servers to process logic access through a web browser with the help of a continuous internet connection. Cloud apps can carry out all kinds of tasks, from email and file storage to inventory management and customer relationship management (or CRM).
Types of Cloud-Based Apps
Cloud-based apps can typically be divided into the following categories:
Software As A Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service (or SaaS) is one of the most popular types of cloud apps. SaaS apps run on third-party hardware, rather than the user’s device, and the software is hosted remotely. SaaS apps don’t require customers to invest in expensive hardware, nor do they have to worry about buying licenses for software updates.
Infrastructure As A Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service (or IaaS) apps are more complex than SaaS apps. They require both middleware (software that provides services and capabilities beyond what the app’s operating system offers) and app support on the client-side.
The IaaS owner will provide the customer with infrastructure and additional support. Then, the customer creates a customized programming bridge to connect the app and the operating system.
This option allows businesses to build a highly customized product without having to develop all the basic components from the ground up.
Platform As A Service (PaaS)
Platform as a Service (or PaaS) apps are also a more complex example of cloud-based apps.
Unlike IaaS apps, these apps only require the application code from the customer. PaaS providers enable customers to use their own hardware (including storage devices) and basic development software (or ready-made solutions).
In the case of PaaS apps, the software gets updated constantly, so developers only use the latest version. If a user wants to scale or change their app, they can make those changes because PaaS apps are so flexible.
Popular Cloud-Based Apps
These days, all kinds of apps fall into the “cloud-based” category. The following are some of the most popular ones:
- Google Drive
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Adobe Creative
It doesn’t matter if you want to take notes or manage your finances. There are tons of cloud-based apps you can use to carry out a variety of tasks.
What Is Cloud Application Development?
Cloud application development describes the specific processes that developers use to create cloud-based apps.
How Does Cloud App Development Work?
Most development teams that work on cloud-based apps use tools like Kubernetes and various DevOps practices to do their jobs. However, the most skilled developments can use whatever technology the client prefers.
Cloud app development is different from other types of app development — in part — because it requires deeper interactions between data architects, programmers, app designers, quality assurance managers, and other team members.
Developers must also be familiar with various cloud platforms, including Amazon Web Service (AWS), Apache CloudStack, Force.com, and Microsoft Azure. They need to understand tools like APIs (application programming interfaces) and CDNs (content delivery networks) for ideal app connectivity as well.
Benefits of Cloud App Development
It doesn’t matter if you’re leaning toward a SaaS app, IaaS app, or PaaS app. There are lots of reasons to consider cloud app development for your business.
The following are some of the most noteworthy benefits this type of development has to offer:
It’s no secret that the app development process can be expensive, no matter what kind of app you want to create. However, cloud app development is one of the best options to consider if you want to save money while still launching a high-quality app for your business.
When you choose a Cloud-based app instead of another type, you don’t have to worry about a lot of expenses, such as the cost of on-premise servers. Many cloud services use a pay-as-you-go model, too, so you don’t have to spend extra money on features or tools that you aren’t actively using.
When you invest in cloud-based application development, you never have to worry about quality issues or issues with inconsistent reporting.
With a cloud-based system, you and your team will be able to feel confident that all of your data is stored in one convenient location and is easily accessible. Your clients or customers will also get to enjoy the same features and benefit from a greater level of data coherence and consistency.
Furthermore, cloud-based apps allow everyone to experience updates at the same time. This ensures that all users have access to the same version of the app and don’t miss out on any valuable features.
Cloud-based app development provides you, your team, and your customers or clients with a lot more flexibility and freedom, too.
When you find that you need more bandwidth, for example, you can gain it instantly with the help of a cloud-based service. If you don’t take the cloud app approach, though, you may have to spend a lot more money (and invest a lot more time) in updates to your company’s IT infrastructure.
On a similar note, cloud-based app development is also better for your company’s long-term health and sustainability.
In general, local app solutions are developed with the intention of accommodating a specific number of commands.
When the company grows, eventually, the app will not be able to accommodate the increase in commands. This will lead to a diminished user experience and could impact your business’s bottom line.
Do you want to set your company up for better and easier scalability? If so, investing in a cloud-based app will likely be a better choice.
When you start looking into different app development options, you’ll find that cloud services provide more redundancy. Redundancy plays a key role in the disaster recovery process.
If you don’t rely on the Cloud, you’ll need to have a separate data center to backup all your company’s information. This is definitely not a cheap investment, and it’s also not foolproof — you’ll need to invest in the appropriate tools to replicate your data and perform regular backups.
Cloud services are equipped to handle disaster recovery with ease. They also make it easier for you to plan ahead and prepare for these kinds of emergencies before they happen.
The Cloud expands your potential reach far beyond what another type of app can do. If you don’t want to rely on just one location for your app hosting, a cloud-based app is a great way to go. This allows you to host your app with the help of data centers located all over the world.
Even if your app is hosted in one location, you can still take advantage of content delivery networks (CDNs) to increase your reach. Content delivery networks are highly distributed services that respond to user requisitions and give them access to a variety of applications, audio files, video files, and more.
Furthermore, with the help of features like traffic management and a global master data application, you can also feel confident that your customers or clients are getting the highest-quality performance possible, no matter where they’re located.
Cloud-based apps allow for easier deployment, too. This means you can get your Cloud app up and running sooner and more seamlessly than you could with a different type of app. You may even be able to automate certain aspects of the deployment process to make things even easier.
Challenges of Cloud App Development
For many businesses, investing time and resources in cloud app development is a no-brainer. However, there are also some challenges to this type of application development to keep in mind.
Here are a few reasons why you might be hesitant about cloud app development:
Security is one of the most frequently cited concerns among business owners who are thinking about investing in a cloud-based app. This is understandable, especially when you consider how prolific the Cloud is.
Every business that utilizes cloud computing is vulnerable to some cloud security risks. However, the good news is that there are lots of steps your development can take to reduce these risks. For example, they can SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocols and various encryption protocols to keep information secure and prevent data breaches.
Some business owners worry about the reliability of a cloud-based app, too.
When you launch any kind of app, there is a chance of downtime, glitches, update issues, etc. With cloud-based apps, though, the chances of reliability issues are far lower than they are with other types of apps. In fact, AWS, one of the most popular services for cloud-based apps, is revered as one of the most reliable frameworks in the world.
As long as you work with an experienced, skilled cloud application developer, you can feel confident that your app is reliable and meets your company’s (and your clients’) unique needs.
On a similar note, you may also have concerns about your cloud-based app’s performance capabilities.
Every business owner wants to feel confident that they’re launching a high-performance app, after all. As we mentioned in the previous section, though, you can ensure your cloud-based app performs and provides a high level of service by utilizing tools like CDNs and traffic management.
With a little planning and input from your developer, you can feel confident that you’re providing your audience with the best app possible.
Is your team not particularly tech-savvy? Do you worry about the skill level of your customers or clients when it comes to navigating an app?
Your staff or target audience does not have a lot of experience utilizing cloud technology. However, this shouldn’t preclude you from investing in a cloud-based app if you truly believe it will benefit your business.
Many cloud-based apps are easy to navigate and are perfectly user-friendly, so they’re great for beginners and folks who aren’t tech-savvy. You can also share your concerns with your developer, and they will work with you to find solutions and provide support for app users of all kinds.
It’s true that easier scalability is one of the greatest benefits of cloud-based app development. At the same time, though, some business owners still run into trouble when it comes to scaling their business and expanding their app’s capabilities. This is especially true when they don’t invest in a custom cloud app.
Custom apps are specifically designed for your business’s (and your clients’ or customers’ needs) needs and can eliminate a lot of the challenges associated with cloud-based app development.
As long as you talk to your development team and communicate with them about your scaling needs and goals, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting a finished app that works well now and in the future.
How to Find a Great Cloud App Developer
If you’re ready to move forward with cloud app development, you need to make sure you hire the right developer or development team. The following tips will help you to narrow down your search and find the best developer for the job:
Look for Custom Development Options
As we mentioned above, custom apps are tailored to your unique needs and goals. They also take your specific challenges and pain points into account, and your development team will go above and beyond to make sure you avoid these issues at all costs.
One of the first factors to consider when looking into a cloud app developer is whether or not they offer custom app development solutions. If they don’t, they’re likely not the right fit for you.
Assess Experience and Skills
Next, do a deep dive into each developer’s experience and skills.
How long has their business been around? What kind of training do they have? What steps do they take to ensure their skills stay current and they’re informed about the latest trends, tools, and technologies?
If you want to set your business up for long-term success, you need to invest in a cloud app made by an expert. Research experience and skills will help you to ensure this is the case.
Of course, security is of the utmost importance when creating a cloud-based app for your business.
Talk to each developer about the steps they take to keep your app — as well as your business’s data and your customers’ data — safe and secure. Ask for a detailed explanation of their protocols so you can decide if they’re robust enough for your business’s needs.
If the developer can’t provide specific answers to your questions, they might not be the right fit for your business.
Consider Customer Service
Ask about the developer’s approach to customer service as well.
What methods are available for you to get in touch with them? Can you reach them by phone? Email? Chat?
Ask how accessible they are, too. Can you only reach them during business hours? Is there someone you can contact if an issue occurs late at night or early in the morning?
Make sure you’re happy with the developer’s customer service options before you agree to work with them. That way, if you do run into any issues, you can feel confident that you’ll get help right away.
Ask About Flexibility
It’s not a great idea to work with a cloud app developer who is overly rigid or set in their ways. The best developers are highly flexible and willing to go with the flow. This includes adapting to the latest advancements in cloud development and cloud technology.
If a developer is not willing to adjust or pivot when something new comes up, they might not be a good person (or agency) for you to partner with. This is especially true if you want to work with them long-term and collaborate with them on app updates or changes in the future.
You can learn a lot about a developer or development agency by reading reviews online.
Check out reviews from past customers to see what they like and dislike about a particular developer or agency. This helps you to get a holistic view of their services and what they do (or don’t do) for their customers.
Get a Quote
You may be able to gain a lot of insight by reading reviews and perusing a developer’s website. At a certain point, though, you’ll need to get in touch with them and ask them for a quote for your app idea.
Ideally, the developer will provide you with a detailed quote that breaks down how much you’ll pay for the app and the explanation for the amount you’re quoted. This is a good time to ask about financing options, too.
Consider the Timeline
When you get a quote, be sure to consider the timeline for developing your app, too.
How long do they anticipate it taking to complete? Does this timeline work with your goals and schedule?
Remember, transparency is key when it comes to building a strong relationship with an app developer. If someone is not transparent about how long it’ll take to finish your app, that’s a red flag.
Invest in Cloud App Development Today
Are you ready to take the plunge and invest in cloud application development for your business? Do you want to work with a development team that checks all the boxes outlined above?
If so, we’re happy to assist at Digital Engage. Contact us today to learn more about our services or get a free quote.