Building Mobile Apps In The Cloud

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Max Litvinov

Oct 19, 2021 | 26 min read

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Living in a world without mobile and web-based apps is now virtually impossible. Today, mobile and web applications are at the center of service delivery, customer satisfaction, and revenue generation for modern businesses. By 2022, the annual consumer apps spend in app stores is expected to exceed a whopping $157 billion, and app downloads will exceed 258 billion

Integrating your services into customers’ personal lives through web and mobile apps comes with a lot of perks. However, implementation, particularly cloud app development is not an easy fit. To ensure the development of quality apps without breaking the bank, most organizations now choose to outsource their cloud app development.

Appvales is one of the leading companies specializing in cloud based application development. Over the past few years we have helped many organizations from various industries build, design, test, and deploy complex cloud-based mobile and web applications. With our vast experience in the industry, in this detailed article, our experts are going to expound on cloud app development in-depth to help you gain better insight and make informed decisions.

What is a Cloud-Based Application?

A cloud based app is primarily accessed via the internet. That means some parts or the entire application will need internet access to function. Google Docs is an excellent example of a cloud-based app. The application is hosted on a cloud environment rather than having a local machine or server store its source code. The user can easily access the application online and create new documents to be stored automatically. When offline, the user can still make changes to a file, but these changes will only take effect when the user gets back online.

Cloud and mobile based application development has dramatically transformed the business world. A few years ago, experts revealed that the worldwide public cloud services would grow significantly across SaaS (software as a service), PaaS (platform as a service), BPaaS (business process as a service), and Cloud Management and Security Services. The growth would occur from $182.4 billion in 2018 to $331.2 billion in 2022

The processing logic and data storage occur between the client-side and server-side. This means that part of the process will take place on the user’s local device, mobile phone, tablet, or laptop, while the remaining portion will be on a remote server.

But before we can dive deeper into how these apps work, it is essential to introduce you to two main ways of getting your cloud-based infrastructure up and running. 

You can either use another party’s app on your framework or develop your cloud app and host it on your servers. When integrating another party’s app, there’s no need to worry about running your servers. This type of deployment is commonly referred to as Software as a Service (or SaaS), and service delivery to the end consumer occurs over the internet.

Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Office 365, and Salesforce, just to mention a few, are all globally recognized SaaS apps that have been changing business over the past few years. 

But what if you prefer using your infrastructure to reach new customers and open up new opportunities? In this case, creating your cloud apps is an excellent way to venture into a world of possibilities. So, Beginning building mobile application development in the cloud sets the foundation for future app development for the company.

What are the Benefits of Hosting Mobile App in The Cloud?

Mobile apps were traditionally hosted and stored on physical drives within the device. Although this is yet to change, organizations are turning a new leaf and investing in hosting mobile apps in the cloud for several reasons. 

For starters, it provides better convenience where users can simply access their apps from anywhere, anytime. In addition, remote hosting has brought better and faster application updates and multi-device usability. Here are more advantages in detail;

Better Performance 

Mobile phone users tend to be impatient with browsing, gaming, video streaming, and shopping. As a result, they’re always on the lookout for something that brings immediate satisfaction.

Reviews on apps in Google’s play store reflect how badly users think of lagging apps. Mobile app users are good motion trackers and can easily detect latency at just about 1000ms, and at that point, they lose track of the activity in progress and switch to other tasks. If the latency persists, they may never come back.

Since every company considering mobile and cloud based web application development must take measures to prevent inconveniences to the users, they should try cloud based app hosting. This is because it offers decent response times, engagement, and a prolonged up-time. Remember, the biggest challenge with traditional hosting on the user’s machine is that it is often subject to speed, responsiveness, and application up-time issues, all of which lead to a bad user experience. 

Better and More Efficient Management 

Management is at the core of all operations in an organization, and mobile app management is no different. Therefore, to get the desired result from remotely stored applications, developers must devise a way to ensure that these applications work as they should. 

Today, companies no longer have to employ traditional management techniques – not with the cloud based mobile apps ready to swoop in. For instance, the company may cease deploying physical management to the remote location and instead use cloud management platform (CMP) solutions to monitor the applications and the services they provide. 

Cost Reduction 

For a business to scale upwards, its operations must be cost-efficient. Companies spend a fortune on tech infrastructure, and this is not about to change soon. However, cloud hosting can make an appreciable difference.

In-house hosting for apps and other software can be expensive, depending on the complexity of the organization. Some companies will require a climate-controlled environment and top-notch hardware. A cloud and mobile based application platform also demands regular maintenance, which adds to the total costs.

However, switching to cloud hosting bypasses unnecessary costs since there is no need to run a physical data center. In addition, deploying cloud-based apps can be done without the need to invest in IT infrastructure. The company won’t have to buy new servers, computer hardware, automation tools, and more.

Reliable Services

Hosting mobile apps on a trustworthy cloud service provider minimizes the risks of unexpected breakdowns, cloud mobile platform failure, and unexpected interruptions bringing down business for a long period. Cloud service providers are better equipped with the proper infrastructure to ensure that your apps are available throughout. In case of any technical failures, they must resolve the issue immediately.

Cloud hosting is also cheaply scalable. Its capabilities can be felt by smaller apps with a handful of users to larger apps with thousands of users spread all over the globe. Moreover, it’s cost-effective as there is no need to build new centers, upgrade hardware, or purchase new assets.

What Are the Challenges of Cloud-Based Application Development?

Sadly, even the most advanced cloud based development platforms are vulnerable to failure at one point or another. For instance, some apps may fail before, during, or after deployment due to a problem lodged deep within the environment. Other issues are unforeseeable until they happen – for example, a sudden internet outage could disrupt user engagement and fail to deliver the service. 

Security Issues

Despite the recent advancements in data security and incredibly good antimalware, cloud based applications development still faces security as a significant issue. As we all know, cloud services are flexible, extending to private firms and public organizations. However, handing over user data to third parties does not guarantee total security, presenting risks businesses must bear.

In addition, cloud-based application development combines other technologies and, as a result, absorbs the inherent risk from several sources. Web 2.0, for instance, is not new to security threats, hacking, network breach, and piracy, just to mention a few. 

Cloud service providers would not let their user’s data fall into the wrong hands without security measures. They employ data security experts to keep user information secure. But still, user data stored in cloud networks is not always guaranteed to be 100% secure. For instance, who can forget the Alibaba incident that occurred back in 2019? A malicious software developer stole user data, including customer mobile phone numbers and user IDs.

Cloud services aim to provide services fast, efficiently, and in a secure manner. For example, by centralizing data, security experts can keep sensitive information safe from breaches. Also, if there’s an update or disaster, setting up recovery and backup is not as difficult as it would seem. 

Internet Outage, Interruptions, and Downtimes

Cloud based mobile apps rely on the internet to upload data and download updates, security patches, and much more. An internet connection may not be mandatory, but the customer needs uninterrupted, good internet access to achieve complete satisfaction. A sudden internet outage could render the business’s services inaccessible, causing frustration on the client-side machine. This would, in turn, cost the business time and money, especially where it serves a huge number of customers distributed over a large area.

Lack of Full Control

Lacking full control over the user data and part of your data does not sound great at all. In most cases, cloud infrastructure is not the organization’s property. It belongs to third parties. The organization does not actually have full control over the physical hardware. But, it may have full data management and service provision.

Performance Issues

A well-written application and strong internet connection make cloud and mobile based application development valuable to the user. However, performance issues arise when the cloud service provider lacks enough infrastructure to support all the applications. A lack of sufficient assets, including data centers, servers, and content delivery networks, leads to performance-related issues. So, a company that wishes to invest in cloud infrastructure must brace for more cloud infrastructure, bigger data centers, and state-of-the-art data technology. 

Cloud Deployment Models

Today, many companies have different needs, and choosing a suitable cloud deployment model is no walk in the park. When beginning building mobile application development in the cloud the company should consider the available resources, storage space, computing, and networking accessories. This helps in determining which cloud deployment model to go for. But before we dive deeper into the topic, what is a cloud deployment model, and how does it help the company? 

In layman’s language, a cloud deployment model is a virtual computing environment. Private, public, community,, and hybrid clouds are some of the most popular deployment models today. Modern cloud hubs enjoy fast loading times thanks to the vast storage space available and hundreds of servers. Whoever runs the infrastructure and the location from where it’s being controlled play a major role in determining the model to be adopted.

Private Cloud

Data and resources are valuable assets to the success of the company. But the company must have greater control over the flow of information to achieve success in its operations. That’s what a private cloud seeks to deliver; more control over data.

The private cloud model is designed to suit an organization’s specific needs. It can be integrated with the company’s data center and managed by internal IT experts. Using a private cloud guarantees data privacy because only authorized persons can access the data. With privacy comes data security made possible by the division of the resources within the same environment. 

But again, all this comes at a cost. For starters, the private cloud only allows growth in a certain direction since it is tied to the specific goals of an organization. The company also has to withstand higher acquisition costs (for software and hardware) and staff training.

Public Cloud

Public clouds are probably the most popular cloud computing deployment model today and not just because everyone’s using them. Did you know that 31% of enterprises prefer using the public cloud?

A 3rd party normally operates a public cloud while services are delivered over the internet. This model is an excellent fit for growing organizations with a particular interest in cloud based application development and testing.

Unlike a private cloud, all resources in a public cloud, including hardware and software, are owned and operated by a 3rd party. They’re normally shared among many organizations. A good example is Microsoft Azure and Google App Engine.

Public clouds bear several advantages, including lower costs and reliability. Besides, there are no maintenance costs since any technical issues are a problem for the service provider. Companies can also navigate around the huge upfront cost and only incur a minimal investment cost.

Despite all these benefits, public clouds are prone to security breaches, are less reliable, and privacy is still an issue. Several companies share a public cloud, and this poses a risk to data security. In case of a malfunction, the network may lead to a major inconvenience.

Hybrid Cloud

When two or more cloud architectures come together, a hybrid cloud is born. Companies can use a hybrid cloud to store information on distinct cloud architectures. For example, if the company deals with sensitive and non-sensitive data, the sensitive info can be directed to a private cloud while the non-sensitive data can be stored on a public cloud. 

In this case, the two architectures perform different functions but they both belong to the same architecture. Therefore, one architecture will compensate the other, granting organizations greater control over the cloud platforms they need to access. 

Hybrid cloud advantages include better control and an easy initial transition to the cloud. On the downside, the integration of two architectures brings about complexity issues. This happens when the companies experience the need to separate data or have two conflicting needs that cannot be addressed by one architecture.

Virtual Private Cloud

A virtual private cloud exists when a private cloud computing environment is hosted in a public cloud. Users are separated from others sharing the resources, bringing about several advantages such as cost efficiency, availability, and, best of all, security. A virtual private cloud separates your data from other users’ data, although some of the security burden falls upon the client. 

On the downside, a VPC is somewhat more expensive than other models. For instance, moving data to a VPC may incur more costs compared to a public or private cloud. Also, a VPC may not be of much benefit to larger organizations in possession of huge data resources. 

Things to Consider When Building Cloud-Based Mobile App

New cloud based applications development technology promises fast, stress-free mobile app development. As a developer, you’re tasked with finding the best technologies. Unfortunately, that’s not going to be easy because of the many options available today. Even worse, some developers are totally ignorant of the available types of cloud computing systems and how to provide value through real-time application deployment within a cloud infrastructure. Here’s what to consider when building a cloud-based mobile app.

IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS? Make Your Choice

Platform as a Service

Platform as a Service is a rapidly growing cloud computing tier whose value is projected to grow from $44 billion in 2020 to $319 billion by 2030. It depends on the cloud service provider for operating systems, software, hardware, and other resources to make the cloud app development process much more manageable. 

The developer gets all the tools, including database management, development tools, and operating systems, but doesn’t receive the application code, data, and the user. Instead, the vendor maintains the operating system components and manages the entire platform for you. This makes it easier to manage the application code. PaaS also provides specifically designed features for apps whose execution occurs with little to no developer intervention.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) relies on infrastructure management solutions from the provider, who is tasked with managing your servers, your networking tools, and storage devices (among other infrastructures) either through a private or public cloud.

The infrastructure is readily available to the company at a push of a button. Also, the service provider is responsible for the initial supply of the system, its OS, and connectivity-related matters. On the other hand, the company is responsible for the software installation, servers, databases, and everything else. 

The good thing with IaaS is that the company has full control over the entire system. But since the installation of software and integration with other systems is a technical job, the company may have to spend some amount on IT experts to get the job done.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Here, customers can use applications from anywhere in the world and from any device without installation or configuration. A SaaS platform provides everything to the company except the app database and the users. With this model, the provider has more control of the program code and its hosting.

Consider the Scalability of Your Application

When choosing a cloud-based mobile app, developers are advised to choose a platform that can support manual and automatic scaling. Here’s why:

Horizontal scaling spreads application loads and requests to multiple servers working behind a load balancer. There are two types of horizontal scaling that could prove very useful; manual and automatic scaling. Manual scaling allows the company to accept and process more traffic requests for example, during an upcoming event. 

On the other hand, Automatic scaling allows the company to automatically select the perfect conditions for your applications to scale without human intervention. It signals the developer’s architecture to increase the number of servers when there is a traffic surge. 

The Application State Matters

Future applications might soon turn stateless to prevent past work from interfering with the company’s present and future cloud based application development projects. Most PaaS providers will direct you to a green-field development in order to receive the full benefits of an app that lives in the cloud. 

But when you’re dealing with legacy or already existing apps, it would be better to choose a PaaS vendor who supports both stateful and stateless applications. It would also be advisable to store user assets and other files on a cloud-based storage service rather than on the same physical file system that contains the application code. 

Find a Solution For Multiple Geographies

Cloud computing extends a company’s services beyond physical boundaries and into new territories. Even better, its deployment over such huge areas does not cost as much as it would on a physical deployment. The company can deploy its applications to a huge area depending on the vendor’s capacity.

Developers should always go for a vendor who can actually deliver the application across multiple regions in the world. Taking the application as close to the user as possible is a sure way to win over their hearts with guaranteed customer satisfaction.

Finally, invest in continuous delivery and integration in service delivery. Always choose a provider who grants you the ability to deploy your own system and easily integrate it with already existing systems.

Best Tools To Use

In this section, we mention some of the best and most trustworthy tools companies can use in service delivery.

For a company looking for PaaS solutions, some of the best tools worth a shot include Google App Engine, Firebase, DO App Platform, Appfleet, Platform.sh, Jelastic, Azure App Service, Heroku Platform, AWS Elastic Beanstalk.

Best CI/CD tools include Jenkins, CircleCI, AWS, CodeShip, CodeBuild, Azure DevOps, Atlassian Bamboo, or Travis CI, GoCD.

Finally, those looking for IaaS providers can try out Linode, AWS, Virtual Machine Manager, GCP, Azure, Computer Engine, Hostwinds, etc.

Let’s Build and Deploy Your App

Complex web and mobile apps require the best hands on deck for a successful future. Over 94% of enterprises already use a cloud service, whose market is projected to grow by 2023. If you’re considering a cloud service now, you need a trustworthy team of engineers that can see through end-to-end product development. 

At Appvales, we intend to deliver what we promise – top-quality web and mobile applications that exceed your expectations. We care about our customer’s success; that is why our dedicated developers do not rest until your needs have been met. So get in touch with our experts at Appvales, and we’ll be happy to help! Whether you need web and mobile development, product discovery and design, enterprise applications, or other related products, we have it all!

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Appvales is a mobile development partner that helps you design, build, test and deploy apps. We can handle end-to-end product development or collaborate with your product team with dedicated mobile developers.

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Written by:

Max Litvinov

CEO at Appvales

IT enthusiast, investor, entrepreneur. Bringing the offshore mobile development to the next level.

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