Cloud technologies absorb more and more apps, giving owners a bigger room for software innovations. As of 2019, 90% of businesses used some cloud services, and 77% of companies had at least one app or a piece of it in the cloud. What sparks users’ interest, and why do organizations turn to cloud computing? In this post, we will answer these questions and consider the nature of cloud app development. Besides, we will review possible pitfalls and share our expertise in this area. So, if you want to start a cloud-based project or migrate the existing app to the cloud, you are in the right place. Let’s move on.
What Is a Cloud-Based App?
A cloud-based app is a software with app logic running on the third-party infrastructure. It has the benefits of regular web apps and classic standalone apps while eliminating both types’ flaws. Just like standalone apps, cloud apps can work offline and respond immediately to users’ requests. Similar to web apps, they do not need to be installed on the device. You can easily update the cloud app by refreshing the version on the webserver.
Cloud apps allow developers to quickly deploy a project using the high-tech base of the cloud provider. By choosing cloud solutions, companies save money as they do not have to maintain in-house IT infrastructure and bear associated costs. Besides, cloud apps provide a lot of other benefits.
Cloud-Based App Benefits
✔️Space savings. The app data is stored on the remote server, so the device memory is slightly used. It allows running the app on nearly any device, even with not so strong technical characteristics.
✔️Easy access. Anyone with a browser, Internet connection, and appropriate device can easily access and start using the cloud app. There is no need to go to App Store or Play Market, download, and install it.
✔️Offline mode. Although the data is stored and processed in the cloud, the direct user interface runs on the local device. Users can cache data locally, which provides them with a completely autonomous operation if necessary.
✔️Data synchronization. The users can run the app on different devices and have all the records synchronized. With a fast Internet connection, they receive an excellent experience across many devices and work whenever they like.
✔️Fast recovery. If the user breaks or loses the device, they may not be afraid an important data will vanish. As soon as they log into the app under their credentials from a new device, progress will be restored.
Cloud-Based App Architecture
The architecture of cloud apps has some unique aspects and differs from monolithic apps that run in a private data center. If you want to migrate to the cloud, it is not enough to simply transfer the app as it is from the local server to the server of the cloud provider. To take full power of the cloud, you need to build or modify software adhering to cloud architecture’s nature. Speaking more precisely, you should think of your app as a collection of microservices, each responsible for a single work area and acting on an individual logic. In such apps, any service can be scaled and deployed separately. Moreover, several teams can work on different modules simultaneously without violating the integrity of the overall system.
Also, modular nature enhances security and prevents the spread of bugs throughout the app ecosystem. If the given set of code is damaged or compromised, it can be quickly isolated from other services. Thus you can keep the app running while fixing the hot issues. Another plus of the microservice-based app is the isolation of the data layer. Each service has separate data storage and load balancer. It allows using mixed scaling methods and storage solutions, such as relational databases, NoSQL databases, or mounted file systems.
Thus, working with an app made up of many “pieces,” you become super flexible in scaling, changes, and updates. You can choose the most suitable tech stack for specific system areas to achieve the best app performance. Moreover, you do not have to worry about native vs. cross-platform development since you can combine both in a microservice app.
Steps to Build a Cloud-Ready App
Knowing the peculiarities of an app running in the cloud, let’s draw up an algorithm for building successful software. Below are the five steps to help you develop a high end and secure app.
1.Design an App As a Set of Services
Microservice architecture is the most suitable for cloud apps. To design it, you need to break down functionality by business tasks. Each service will perform a specific task and act as an autonomous yet integral unit of the system. Remember, you can’t just cut everything into random parts and expect an efficient operation. Your services should be small, focused, loosely coupled, and highly cohesive.
- Small means that no more than one team works on service architecture;
- Focused means one service solves only one business task;
- Loosely coupled expects changing one service does not require changing another;
- A highly cohesive ensures that class or component contains all the necessary methods for solving the problem.
2.Separate Data From Processes
Except for breaking out business tasks, it is also vital to isolate data from processes. This helps decentralize the system even more and gain maximum flexibility in decision making. To store data, you do not necessarily have to use third-party services. Many companies prefer keeping sensitive records on the local server while running the app on external infrastructure.
Performance plays a key role here. Regular database queries through the Internet may cause delays and negatively affect user experience. That is why data cashing is a good idea. Storing frequently used data on the local device reduces access time and boosts app performance.
3.Make the App Parts Communicate
The distributed nature of the cloud apps only works when all the nuts and bolts act cohesively. For that, you need to make sure all app units are involved in effective communication. The latter doesn’t mean the components should ping each other right along. In this case, a lot of resources would be spent on establishing “dialogues,” which would cause adverse impacts on the entire app execution.
Your task is to look for the optimal path to link the services. For instance, join communications into a separate data stream or messages pack rather than exchange data nonstop as if all the elements were settled on the same platform.
Scalability is the ability of a network, system, or process to adapt to sudden changes. It may be a sharp increase in visitors or the volume of data transfer, or some other load. Your app may be nearly perfect, but peak traffic can destroy the entire system if it is not scalable. Therefore, it is vital to test software in stressful conditions and make sure it can quickly expand available resources.
Scalability tests simulate various scenarios of peak loads to check if your app is ready for critical situations. Some cloud providers offer auto-scaling features. However, the most effective method is to know where the danger comes from and draw up an individual scenario for app scalability. For example, if you run an eCommerce store, you should be ready to increase customer flow around the holidays or discount days.
When you decide to host an app in the cloud, the security question comes up. After all, the fact that you rent space from a third-party organization does not relieve you from the responsibility for handling client data. To avoid malicious intervention, you need to discuss your business features with the provider and carefully choose the tech stack. This is especially important for apps that deal with sensitive data, like bank cards or medical records. Such software has specific demands for cloud services and requires extra protection layers.
Many cloud providers offer independent audit reports confirming that a vendor has internal security measures and that they are effective in the datacenter where the customer stores data.
How Softensy Can Help You
At Softensy, we have 5+ years of experience in delivering fintech solutions, corporate apps, AI/ML projects, and more. When building cloud-based apps, we partner with Amazon as we believe AWS services are the most innovative, flexible, and reliable. The latest project we moved into the Amazon ecosystem is the Ecobank app. It is full-fledged mobile banking that runs on both iOS and Android and offers a full range of services to its clients.
The architecture of Ecobank is modular. It consists of many microservices, each of which supports a certain business process. We chose diverse technologies, depending on the type of activity and load level. For example, push notifications are implemented in Flutter and the CRM contact center in Go. The rest of the app runs on native technologies, such as Java, Kotlin, and Swift.
If you have a fresh idea to start the project, or revise the existing app, drop us a line. Our experts will examine your business and advise on the best way to move on. If your app specificity keeps up with a cloud nature, we will help you migrate to the cloud or develop the cloud-based software from scratch.