Last year, businesses across industries heavily focused on various cloud-related initiatives. Some began their cloud adoption journey, while others expanded the cloud-managed workload and optimized existing cloud processes.
Seems like we’re seeing the same trend this year.
More than 40% of global tech and business leaders plan to increase their investment in cloud-based solutions and get rid of their legacy software. They understand that moving to the cloud is no longer just a smart move – it is an absolute necessity if you intend to make long-term business goals (and actually achieve them).
The problem is, this transition is more complex than most expect. You can’t simply copy all your files from one folder to the cloud and take an early lunch break; moving to the cloud entails complete digital transformation.
But trust us, it will pay off – and we mean that literally and metaphorically.
The following guide to cloud computing includes some of the basic concepts and benefits and offers some of our more senior peers an insight into our approach to building cloud-based apps.
Cloud computing is the network of remote servers you can access via the Internet and use to store, process, and manage data. It enables safer and more scalable use of data storage, networks, servers, software, databases, and BI. Cloud architecture is particularly beneficial for individuals and businesses who require additional storage and seek an off-site backup solution.
There are five key cloud computing characteristics:
There are three cloud deployment models to choose from based on the amount of data you wish to store and who you want to offer access to:
Cloud deployment occurs via:
Cloud architecture is considered a faster, cheaper, and more scalable alternative to traditional models. By building a cloud-based application, its owners can deploy their solutions worldwide, easily scale to meet customer demand, improve internal collaboration, and run their business more efficiently, with a higher return on investment.
While on-premise servers need to be manually updated whenever there’s an increase in data being processed, cloud architecture can be scaled virtually. This is because the majority of providers use multi-cloud deployment models and make the shift to larger servers whenever needed.
Cloud architecture is also associated with minimum downtime, as cloud-based software doesn’t have to be restricted during updates. Conventional architectures require a ton of resources and manpower to keep the system up-to-date. With cloud systems being physically removed, businesses can take the “out of sight, out of mind” approach to maintaining the system.
In other words, cloud computing helps organizations maintain optimal speeds and performance, even when processing requirements and workload increase.
Cloud architecture doesn’t require any upfront hardware setup, which means lower initial installation costs; thus, it proves to be a budget-friendly option for startups with limited finances.
Cloud systems are also more affordable long-term. The solution requires less (or no) work on on-premise hardware that calls for an entire team of IT professionals who can manage and maintain the system. What is more, running your operations in the cloud would free the development team to shift their focus to a lot more innovative and inspiring work than bugs and server issues.
Cloud architecture is an ideal foundation for growing businesses or those that deal with fluctuating demands in terms of bandwidth. The cloud allows them to scale their capacity up or down, never having to worry about the performance or, on the other hand, paying for more than they are actually using.
Remote and hybrid work environments maintain their popularity, and cloud computing solutions work to their advantage. Moving your operations to the cloud will also provide your employees with easier access to data and digital tools through most browsers and mobile devices to download, upload, and share files and information from any place and at any time.
And with data centralized in one storage accessible from any internet-enabled device, it is much easier to manage and organize information.
Businesses already running on the cloud can embrace IoT technologies faster, smoother, and at a much lower cost. For employees and customers, it means gaining all-time access to data via any platform; for businesses, it’s about delivering a more personalized experience.
With advanced availability and cybersecurity that come with cloud architecture, businesses have what it takes to conquer the global marketplace. Users are offered a range of features, including encryption, Firewalls, access controls, and more.
Cloud-based backup and disaster recovery solution is particularly popular with startups and SMBs that don’t have the resources to invest in a recovery system. There’s no need for upfront investment in physical servers that would contain data backups; plus, access to the data in the cloud is more restricted compared to that kept on the hardware. No matter what happens to the machines, you’ll find your data right where you left it.
With the world slowly moving to the cloud, businesses are starting to invest in cloud-based software and apps. But it’s not just because the popularity of cloud architecture is on the rise. Modern software and applications can be quite powerful and intricate solutions, but that also makes them quite tricky to update. This is where all those benefits of cloud computing come in handy.
To enable seamless system upgrades, we stick to the 3 commandments for cloud-based app development that we noted down over the years:
Microservice architecture is a viable solution for building scalable web applications. This development approach involves breaking a complex app into smaller modules to develop multiple features independently.
Developers use it to build feature-rich and powerful apps that are expected to scale and, as a result, become more difficult to maintain. Microservices are also popular for their high deployment and development speeds, code isolation, and reusability. Ultimately, they give developers room to innovate, build, and update specific features without their work affecting the entire app.
As their name suggests, cloud-native technologies are built to run on cloud architecture. They guarantee high speeds, scalability, and easy access to data in the cloud, all at reasonable costs. Some of the most commonly employed cloud-native technologies include:
We left this one last intentionally, as it’s not for everyone. Though DevOps practices can contribute to faster and better software delivery, a more stable environment, and better resource utilization, they can be quite resource-intensive. Still, for those of you who can afford it, we suggest integrating the following practices into your cloud-app development process:
Inviggo development teams have worked on several greenfield projects and invested in building our own digital products.
We faced a unique set of challenges with every new project we took on, prompting us to always research new solutions.
In this next section, we’ll walk you through one of our more recent projects and tell you a bit more about building the cloud architecture in Azure. The visual below is a schematic representation of our project logic, with the database and web app in the center, which holds the entire business logic.
Let’s review each piece of technology from our stack individually.
We chose CosmosDB because NoSQL proved more beneficial than SQL for this particular project. It enables building highly responsive apps and delivers better performance, conducts automatic indexing, and the price scales nicely with the number of users.
CosmosDB is characterized by a single-digit millisecond response time and assures business continuity thanks to high security and SLA-backed availability. This means optimal speeds are guaranteed at any scale, delivering fast global access and instant elasticity.
It offers turnkey multi-region data distribution, necessary to achieve low latency and high availability. This, combined with open-source APIs, ensures simpler and faster app development. Finally, its automatic end-to-end database management, updates, and patching take database administration out of the equation.
We use Azure DevOps as source control for our codebase. It enables us to build, test, and deploy a range of technologies, including Node.js, Python, Java, PHP, Ruby, C#, C++, .NET, and more. Azure DevOps also works with Android and iOS applications and can run the apps in parallel on macOS, Windows, and Linux.
Azure Pipelines came in handy for build and release as it combines continuous integration (CI), continuous delivery (CD), and testing to build, test, and deliver the code to any destination. It can deploy a code to multiple targets, including cloud and on-premises platforms, virtual machines, containers, and PaaS services. Finally, it comes with integrated issues and project tracking flow.
We also use Azure Key Vault to keep secrets like connection strings and API keys.
Ultimately, Azure DevOps represents a quick, easy, and secure way to automate building your development projects without worrying about the consistency and quality of the code.
Aplication Insights is an extension of Azure Monitor, a comprehensive monitoring solution used for collecting, analyzing, responding, and monitoring data from the cloud and on-premises environments. Application Insights oversees the entire system as it provides application performance monitoring (APM) features and tools that aid in monitoring app development projects across all app phases: development, testing, and production.
Application Insights comes with many essential features and functionalities, including:
Firebase is an authentication and authorization provider we chose to skip building our solutions from scratch and because all team members already have experience working with the platform.
We used the Firebase Authentication feature to make sure all users receive personalized experiences across different devices while their data is securely stored in the cloud. Firebase Authentication offers backend services, ready-made UI libraries, and simple-to-use SDKs. It enables user authentication via email and passwords, phone number, or by integrating with federated identity providers, meaning users can sign in using their Google, Facebook, Twitter, or GitHub accounts.
Azure Application Gateway is a web traffic load balancer that provides a suite of fully-manged solutions for various scenarios. We prefer it to other solutions because of its safety and security features.
Azure Application Gateway:
Following Azure best practices helps improve your workload and develop a more efficient, stable, and quality cloud infrastructure. The Well-Architected Framework is built on five pillars of architectural excellence, thus providing a consistent approach to the evaluation and implementation of scalable designs:
As mentioned earlier in the article, profitability is one of the top advantages of building cloud-based solutions. To maximize ROI for the project at hand, we are very mindful when it comes to the selection of resources and, we utilize Azure’s pricing calculators to estimate the costs: