Cloud Software Development: Everything You Need to Know
Cloud software development is changing the way humans and technology interact, now and forever. Through cloud computing, businesses and individuals gain increased accessibility with reduced complexity.
Given cloud software development, organizations can develop and deploy applications within a web browser. And your clients have the potential to use these apps while bypassing an unwelcome download and installation process.
In the software industry, no one can get away from cloud technology. It’s not far-fetched to assume that your next remote meeting is going to take place on Zoom or Google Meet, for example. And much of the world wide web — approximately 42% of the cloud market — uses Amazon Web Services for hosting.
Indeed, cloud software development is not the future. It’s the present. Learn more about the uses of cloud software development right now!
What Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is an umbrella term for technologies hosted over the internet. In many instances, cloud technology abstracts the hardware component or infrastructure of a software service.
For example, on the consumer level, apps like Google Docs and Square extend users handy services without requiring a more dedicated internal setup.
Enterprises and businesses tend to use cloud computing on a large scale to access remote servers and data centers online. As a result, they save the upfront costs of buying a physical space and equipment.
Types of Cloud Technology
Typically, cloud services range between three categories:
- software-as-a-service (SaaS)
- platform-as-a-service (PaaS)
- infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS)
IaaS consists of enterprise-ready computing resources like servers, storage, and networks. Businesses access these resources virtually to circumvent the burden of physical maintenance.
Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are some of the more popular IaaS platforms. They’re both industry giants that power much of the internet through various cloud tools.
Providing data management and networking are notable specializations of the platforms where IaaS is concerned.
You’re probably more familiar with SaaS as a concept than you think. SaaS comprises software that utilizes the internet to deliver its services.
There are a great many applications that you likely run straight from your web browser. Whether it’s Dropbox or Salesforce, these are examples of SaaS.
A PaaS cloud solution is markedly more complex than other cloud services. In some ways, PaaS is similar to SaaS. But the software in question is not for your run-of-the-mill consumers.
Instead, PaaS solutions are for building software. To be clear, PaaS encompasses cloud software for building software. Meta, right? But it works.
Azure and AWS still stand out in this category as their comprehensive tooling also includes respective platforms for application development.
Google App Engine is another cloud computing platform for developing web applications that would fall under the IaaS categorization.
PaaS is at the crux of cloud software development. With the cloud at their fingertips, developers are changing the world, app by app.
Cloud Deployment Models
In any software development life cycle, launching and maintaining the final product is the last step. But in cloud software development, there are important considerations to take into account for deployment.
There are four different deployment models for cloud software development:
- Public cloud
- Community cloud
- Private cloud
- Hybrid cloud
Especially in recent years, newer forms of cloud services have emerged, like the multicloud and big data cloud. But you should first become familiar with the four aforementioned models to gather an elementary understanding of cloud software development.
Public clouds define cloud resources that the public can access. Multiple users are able to use the software at one time.
For this reason, you won’t be able to customize the cloud service to any great extent but you also won’t have to maintain it. And you still get the basic cloud perks of scalability and flexibility.
Community clouds might seem similar to public clouds, but there are minor differences. Companies share resources via community clouds when they have similar goals.
For instance, in healthcare, there is specific software for various health-related tasks like saving patient information, automating workflows, virtualizing charts and medical imaging, etc.
A community cloud would involve all the organizations in an industry that utilize the standard cloud software for their field.
Private clouds are not available to the public. Rather, private clouds are designed to address the specific needs of the company they’re exclusive to.
Last, but not least, are hybrid clouds. These are a combination of public and private clouds. Hybrid cloud models yield different controls for navigating the public or private sharing of resources.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Software Development?
Now that you know what cloud software development is, here’s how it’s been changing how organizations conduct their business.
Advantages of Cloud Software Development
The advantages of cloud computing follow a trend of convenience that should not be taken for granted. Take a look at what cloud technology can do for your business.
Cloud solutions are cost-effective. Most cloud platforms use a pay-as-you-go model with monthly fees. These models include maintenance and operating costs so you don’t have to sweat the small stuff.
The alternative to cloud software development or cloud computing is investing in on-premise infrastructure. Physical hardware is bulky and expensive.
Minus the effort required to set up a server, you still have to pay for power when the server runs throughout the night.
To add, on-premise infrastructure requires a technical team for constant supervision. In absence of this, you can save money by avoiding the need for IT staff augmentation.
‣ Ease of Use
With cloud resources never being more than a click away thanks to cloud software development, ease of use is guaranteed. Resources that once took weeks or even months to acquire are available within days.
Think of cloud computing as a utility. In fact, providers often do describe service provisioning models as utility computing.
Point being, if you had the option, would you rather set up your own electricity system, or pay your local electricity company to handle it? More than likely, you’d much prefer the latter.
Cloud software development gives you that option, and you save time and money just by choosing it.
Ease of use translates to more time. And cost-effectiveness means more money. More money and more time tend to lead to better business performance and heightened scalability.
Once your business starts growing, you won’t have to worry about buying and setting up additional servers to get things running.
Cloud software development also makes it easier to adapt to a constantly changing digital economy. New avenues for your business aren’t easy to come by, but with cloud computing, they’re not impossible either.
You also have more power to launch your company in the first place. If you're part of a startup with cold feet, cloud computing is one way to start heating things up.
Disadvantages of Cloud Software Development
Naturally, cloud software development does have challenges. Make sure you understand what you’re up against before employing cloud software.
For the cautious, it makes sense to want everything you need to protect close to the heart. Of course, the opposite is true with cloud software development.
Cloud technology resources are by definition off-premises. Data breaches and leaks do happen. And big name cloud service providers like Dropbox and Microsoft have been on the losing side of substantial data breaches.
How effective your cybersecurity protocols are can truly make or break your business.
At the end of the day, it comes down to trust. Do you have the expertise to identify and address all the security vulnerabilities in your system, or would you hire someone else to do the job?
Downtime is exactly what it sounds like. The term refers to any period of time when a system is unavailable or ‘down’.
Major periods of downtime can frustrate consumers, damage your reputation, and compromise your productivity.
Because cloud platforms rely on internet access, besides loss of power, downtime can be caused by mere network connectivity issues.
Lack of control is one of the biggest drawbacks of using cloud technology. You won’t have full control over your software and/or hardware. Thus, you lose any potential for serious customization.
Service providers manage, monitor, and ultimately own the cloud infrastructure that you’ll just be borrowing for the time being. Up until now, this understanding has been painted as the advantage of cloud software development.
But if you’re a stickler for total control, you will find yourself disappointed by what cloud computing has to offer.
What Are the Features of Cloud Computing?
You already know that cloud software development comes in many different forms. But here are the features that can help you identify true cloud software.
Cloud software development is not like any other software development process. Unlike other technologies, cloud software services itself.
A cloud platform does not need human intervention to operate or provision customers. Many cloud services count on web portals for interested users to access the cloud and furnish the resources they need.
Resource Pooling & Multi-Tenancy
Multi-tenancy names the cloud’s ability to source multiple tenants, or users, at once. On the front-end, you have no idea who is using the same cloud resources as you nor how many people are using it at once.
Cloud software development has a way of cleverly pooling resources and dynamically allocating them based on demand.
Rapid elasticity is a fancy way of saying scalability. As established, cloud computing is cost-effective and simple to set up meaning that businesses can garner new resources whenever they have the need.
Similarly, when you no longer need a resource, there is nothing to dismantle in order to stop using a cloud service.
This is nothing like dragging a U-Haul full of equipment from one place to another. Really, it’s quite the opposite.
Since resources are on the cloud, you can provision and deprovision cloud computing technology at-will. Ergo, manufacturers, businesses, and web visitors get what they want, and fast.
Again, cloud computing resources use a pay-as-you-go model where you only pay for what you use. To charge service users accurately, cloud platforms are typically measured services.
Therefore, cloud providers must monitor and meter consumer activity. Eventually, using collected data, cloud service providers report consumer usage and invoice accordingly.
Web-Based Apps vs. Cloud-Based Apps: What Are the Differences?
The relationship between web-based applications and cloud-based applications mirrors that of a square and a rectangle. That is, a cloud application can be a web application, but not all web applications are cloud applications.
Think of the internet as the medium by which users access cloud applications. Hence, cloud applications can easily fit within the parameters of web applications.
However, not all web applications are hosted on the cloud. The defining detail of web applications is that they use web browsers as their host. Whereas you can install cloud applications on your mobile device.
Overall, cloud applications are more accessible, depend on multiple remote data centers, and permit some customizations.
Web apps, on the other hand, utilize a single remote data center, so scaling is more difficult and web apps must have an internet connection.
Cloud apps, in turn, need an internet connection in the beginning but use caching to run without a network.
Though it’s easy to confuse cloud-based apps vs. web-based apps, hopefully these notes help you differentiate between them.
Cloud software development is the origin of many extensive technologies that vitalize the application development industry.
SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS comprise three types of cloud computing technologies. But the latter, platform-as-a-service, is what developers use to build applications on the cloud.
Popular cloud software development tools include AWS, Azure, and Google App Engine. These serve as great examples of cloud environments with public deployment.
Though cloud software development providers have the option of public, community, private, and hybrid deployment models — just like any other cloud service.
If you decide to use the cloud for your next project, you can save costs and scale fast, but you will sacrifice the opportunity to have full control over your project.
Still, cloud software development remains an on-demand service with rapid elasticity. With more accessibility than a web app, you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised by the potential of cloud computing.
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Frequently Asked Questions
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Cloud computing is an umbrella term for technologies hosted over the internet.
Cloud technology ranges from software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS).
The biggest advantages of cloud computing are cost and accessibility among other things.