Application development has come a long way since its inception. The latest innovation in mobile app development is the “mobile cloud app” or “cloud app”.
Cloud solutions are not only becoming increasingly popular in the data storage industry but are also finding wide applications in many other industries.
According to Cisco’s Global Cloud Index, cloud data centers will handle more than 94 percent of workloads and computing by 2021.
Additionally, according to a Gartner report, the total revenue from the cloud services market will reach $257.9 billion in 2020. Software as a Service (SaaS) will remain the largest market segment as it is projected to reach $104.7 billion in 2020 and grow. from $102.1 billion in 2019.
In this blog, I have explained the phenomenon of cloud-based mobile applications. What is a Mobile cloud app? Who are the top players in the industry and what challenges do cloud services face today?
First, let’s look at the definition of what a mobile cloud app is before differentiating it from native apps and web apps.
What is a mobile cloud app?
A mobile cloud app or cloud application is a program that is designed to be accessible to many types of computing devices over the Internet.
Traditionally, if you wanted to install a new software program on your PC, you had to purchase a disc and use it to install the program. After installation, you can use the program on this computer.
A mobile cloud app, on the other hand, is a software program that can be accessed from multiple computers and smartphones as long as they are connected to the Internet. The goal of a mobile cloud app is to increase productivity by increasing accessibility for users.
Thanks to a stable Internet connection and computing device, the user can access the program anytime and anywhere.
Types of cloud services
Mobile Cloud app can be divided into three different categories. This classification is primarily based on the difference in application architecture.
SaaS, Software as a Service
The Software as a Service (SaaS) model is the largest and most developed type of cloud service. Most Mobile cloud app follow a SaaS model and run on third-party hardware located remotely.
With a cloud-based SaaS application, users don’t have to spend money to store the program on personal hard drives or buy expensive licenses for software updates. Instead, they can download the software program to a cloud drive and access it from there using the internet.
Some prominent examples of SaaS solutions include Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Drive.
IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service
With an IaaS solution, a third party offers infrastructure and support in the cloud. A software designer provides applications, in-application support, and middleware.
Middleware is the software between an application and an operating system that is used to simplify programming and provide extended functionality to OS functions. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Engine are examples of IaaS solutions.
All of these solutions give developers access to the same infrastructure that Google, Amazon, or Microsoft use in their products to handle usage peaks.
PaaS, Platform as a Service
PaaS is a cloud-based solution that only requires application code from the user.
It eliminates the need to oversee hardware and operational tasks such as software maintenance, device procurement, as it allows businesses to outsource these tasks so developers can focus on application development and application support.
The PaaS provider takes care of the hardware and keeps the software up to date. Google App Engine and OpenShift are well-known PaaS solutions.
Mobile cloud apps vs. native application
A native app in software development refers to an app that is developed for a specific platform or mobile device. These apps are device specific so they can take advantage of the latest technology coming to mobile devices.
The downside of writing a native app is that developers have to create multiple versions of the same app if they want it to run on different operating systems.
Since cloud apps are not downloaded to a mobile device, developers can write one code and any device with an internet connection will be able to use it.
Mobile cloud apps vs. Web applications
Mobile cloud apps and web apps are similar in that they both run on servers outside of the mobile device. Both types of applications store data externally and can be accessed using a browser via the Internet.
However, a web application does not always have the scaling and security features of a Mobile cloud app. The differences between the two types of apps are minimal, especially when it comes to how they work on the device.
It can be said that while all mobile cloud apps are web applications, not all web applications are mobile cloud apps.
The main challenges in developing a mobile cloud app
There are two paths you can take when considering a cloud solution. Your company can either become a cloud provider or develop a program that runs on a third-party cloud solution.
If you are developing your cloud solution, you have to deal with issues like hardware, security, and data processing logic. In case you decide to build your application on a third-party cloud solution, you need to consider scalability, integration, and choosing the right cloud service provider.
Most developers and service providers typically face the following challenges when developing cloud-based solutions:
Security is a major concern for most IT specialists in cloud solutions. Although there are many protocols and policies regarding user authentication and access, security remains challenging.
Secure data encryption, reverse proxy, and SSL can help developers increase the security of their mobile cloud apps.
Interoperability is another challenge for developers working in a cloud environment. Simply put, a Mobile cloud app should be able to run on different devices and integrate with other cloud services.
Since cloud systems do not fully communicate with each other, developers do not always have the opportunity to combine components from different cloud services.
Application performance and customer experience are likely to be affected if the number of servers is small. For optimal conversion rates, a custom UI should load within 3 seconds. Every additional second leads to lost traffic and increases the bounce rate.
Tools for creating cloud applications
Developing a successful Mobile cloud app starts with using the right tools and choosing the right cloud service provider. An outdated technical approach and incorrect tools will lead to poor performance and loss of valuable data.
To avoid mistakes, here are the reliable cloud service providers you can choose for your cloud business:
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the leading cloud service providers with a 32% market share. They are flexible and integrative, with a record of more than 140 services designed by Amazon Web Services.
Google Cloud Platform
Google Cloud Platform offers cloud computing, API services, storage, advanced analytics, and virtual machines. It is a PaaS (Platform as a Service) that is flexible and affordable for small businesses and startups.
Microsoft Azure is another popular vendor whose services have been designed for businesses with scaling plans. They provide services such as ML modules, mobile back-end, and database services, among others.
Mobile cloud apps allow users to access a software program using a computing device over the Internet. They also provide benefits such as reduced costs and a new level of scalability.
However, it is also complicated in terms of API integration, security, and data architecture planning. Therefore, it is recommended to work with reliable vendors such as AWS and Microsoft Azure for your Mobile cloud app.