The market for cloud applications has been expanding quite quickly. Businesses are able to move their on-premises apps to the cloud with ease because of the expanding availability of broadband internet and sophisticated mobile technology. In this article, we’ll answer your questions about what a cloud application is and will cover everything related to cloud applications so you can choose wisely for your company.
Table of Contents
What is a cloud application?
A cloud application, sometimes known as a cloud app, is software that users access largely through the internet and that, at the very least, in part, is maintained by a server rather than the users’ local computers. A cloud application is one that combines local and cloud-based components. This paradigm uses distant servers that are accessed by a web browser and an ongoing internet connection to process logic.
Email, file sharing and storage, order input, inventory management, word processing, customer relationship management (CRM), data collection, and financial accounting functions are just a few examples of the jobs that can be performed by cloud applications. Using cloud application development methodologies, development teams may create apps that work consistently on any type of IT infrastructure, including physical, virtual, and cloud-based, for both front-end users and back-end operations teams.
Pros and cons of cloud application
- Quick responsiveness to commercial needs. Cloud applications provide businesses speedy time to market and agility since they can be updated, tested, and deployed quickly. This speed may result in cultural changes in how businesses operate.
- Streamlined operation. Third-party cloud service providers can be used to outsource infrastructure management.
- Rapid scalability. The amount of capacity that is available can be altered as demand changes.
- Using APIs. Application programming interfaces (APIs) can be used to access external data sources and storage services (API). By employing APIs to transfer data to other programs or API-based back-end services for processing or analytics computations and returning the results to the cloud application, cloud apps can be made smaller. Tested APIs impose passive consistency, which can hasten development and produce predictable outcomes.
- Progressive adoption. Components can be implemented gradually by refactoring legacy, on-premises applications to a cloud architecture in stages.
- Decreased costs. Prices have decreased as a result of the size and scope of data centers managed by major cloud infrastructure and service providers. Applications that are housed in the cloud may be less expensive to run and maintain than comparable installations that are installed on-site.
- Enhanced data security and exchange. Authorized users get rapid access to data stored on cloud services. Due to their enormous scale, cloud providers are able to employ top-notch security specialists and put in place infrastructure security measures that are generally only available to large businesses. If catastrophe recovery becomes necessary, it is simpler to regularly backup and restore centralized data maintained by IT operations staff.
- Downtime: Accessing cloud-deployed applications requires a working internet connection. Therefore, a sudden internet outage could seriously impact business by preventing access to cloud apps. There may occasionally be technical issues with cloud service providers, during which all of your data and applications would be unavailable.
- Control: The main concession that businesses make in exchange for the financial savings of cloud application deployment controls. Because the cloud service provider owns, manages, and operates cloud infrastructure, the company has no meaningful control over back-end technology. Because of this, cloud application deployment is the best option for businesses that just want to manage their IT infrastructure in terms of services, data, and apps.
- Security: As businesses deploy more cloud applications, it gets harder to keep track of the IT infrastructure’s security status and make sure that no vulnerabilities exist that could be exploited by hackers.
How cloud application works
In a remote data center that is normally run by a different company, computations are performed and data is stored. A back end offers many access methods and guarantees uptime, security, and integration.
Cloud applications offer quick responsiveness and don’t have to stay on the local device forever. They can be updated online yet still work offline.
Cloud applications don’t always use up storage space on a computer or communication device, even when they are constantly under control. A well-written cloud application offers all the interaction of a desktop application and the portability of a web application, presuming a sufficiently fast internet connection.
Cloud apps vs. web apps
The distinction between cloud applications and web applications has become less obvious with the development of remote computing technology. Due to the popularity of the phrase “cloud application,” several application vendors now label any products having an online component as cloud applications.
|Cloud apps||Web apps|
|Access data||Cloud and web applications have access to data stored on remote servers. Both make use of server computing power, which can be found on-site or at a remote data center.|
|Architecture||A cloud application, often known as a cloud-based application, processes data on a local computer or workstation. An internet connection is generally essential for downloading or uploading data.||To work, a web application or web-based program requires a continual internet connection.|
|Remote server||If a cloud application’s distant server goes down, the software installed on the local user device can still run, but it can’t upload or download data until service at the remote server is restored.||If the remote server is inaccessible, the web application becomes inoperable.|
|Example||Word’s Microsoft Office 365 is an example of a word-processing cloud application that is installed on a workstation. The application runs tasks locally on a machine that does not have an internet connection. When users save work to an Office 365 cloud server, the cloud component comes into play.||Gmail, for example, is a web program that requires nothing more than a browser and an internet connection to use. Messages can be opened, written, and organized using the browser’s search and sort functions. All processing logic takes place on the service provider’s servers (Google in this case) using either the HTTP or HTTPS protocols of the internet.|
Cloud apps vs. desktop apps
Desktop applications are platform-specific, requiring a different version for each operating system. Multiple versions increase development time and cost, as well as complicate testing, version control, and support. Cloud applications, on the other hand, may be accessed via a range of devices and operating systems and are platform-independent, resulting in significant cost reductions.
Each device in a desktop application must be installed separately. It’s difficult to have all users using the same version because it’s not possible to force an upgrade whenever a new version is released. The necessity to provide help for numerous versions at the same time might be taxing on tech support. Cloud applications do not have version control difficulties because users can only access and run the version that is available in the cloud.
Subcategories of Cloud application
1. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a popular type of cloud computing that provides users with a web application as well as all of its underlying IT infrastructure and platforms. It may be a great alternative for enterprises or people that:
- Do not want the obligation of managing infrastructure, platforms, and software.
- Have issues that take little adaptation to solve.
- Prefer software subscription models.
SaaS lowers users’ upfront expenses by eliminating the need to permanently purchase software or invest on a sophisticated on-premise IT infrastructure, yet users should invest in fast network hardware because service performance is governed by internet connection speeds.
2. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provides a platform for developing, running, and managing your own apps without the need to design and maintain the infrastructure or environment in which they run. This is due to the fact that PaaS offers consumers with hardware and an application-software platform from a third-party service provider. This implies you will have complete control over the programs and data on the platform, making PaaS a great alternative for developers and programmers.
3. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) refers to a service in which a supplier controls your infrastructure—the physical servers, network, virtualization, and storage—via a public or private cloud. The infrastructure is accessed by an API or a dashboard, and it is rented. As a provider, you can handle things like the operating system, apps, and middleware.
How to test Cloud application
Prior to deployment, cloud applications must be tested to ensure security and optimal performance. A cloud app must address internet communications with many clouds as well as the possibility of accessing data from multiple sources at the same time.
Penetration and data testing are both part of cloud application security testing. Potential attack vectors must also be investigated, such as advanced persistent threats, distributed denial of service (DDoS), phishing, and social engineering.
Cloud applications must be evaluated to ensure error-free processing logic. Test processes may be needed to follow rules set by a certain third-party source.
As a result, cloud application as a service is a hot topic because the cloud approach provides many valuable benefits to businesses, including lower development costs (no need for hardware, servers, or even some software), increased accessibility of the final product, a new level of standardization, and scaling opportunities. However, you cannot always be certain about your cloud service vendor, so choose wisely and rely on organizations with a high reputation.