Are your custom applications cloud-empowered? The cloud is revolutionizing software development, yet many businesses find themselves behind the curve as they struggle between moving from their enterprise Data Center to cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS). Often cloud platforms end up acting as a hosting platform, and the advantages that cloud computing provides to businesses are minimized.
At Istonish, our team of experts can help you build cloud applications that harness the full power of Azure, AWS, and other third-party cloud platforms. The result is custom business applications that are scalable, fast, highly available, and, most importantly, position your business for the future.
Cloud computing offers major differences in the employment of technology to build custom apps. You’re shifting from an enterprise owned and operated Data Center to a Technology Infrastructure Supply Chain. Each cloud provider offers hardware and software services that are available when you need them. There are more tools to choose from, which introduces increased flexibility and increased complexity. The intersection of flexibility and complexity represents critical decision points that will impact the success of your custom app. A wrong turn yields disappointing results while a right turn delivers the speed and edge that move your business forward.
Based on our experience, the following five areas form a solid foundation to increase the successful development of a custom cloud application.
1. Custom Application Business Requirements
The cloud opens the door to building custom applications that create new revenue streams, improve customer experience, increase efficiency, and productivity. It starts with understanding business requirements and the definition of success of the production application. Security and operational requirements that may have previously been secondary considerations, need to be included with the business requirements phase. These factors work together to define application architecture, cloud infrastructure requirements, design, build, and cost. It’s essential to have a comprehensive understanding because after the fact retrofitting or a bolt-on cause a drag on the cloud applications’ performance, scalability, and cost-effectiveness.
2. AGILE Development Methodologies
Traditional lifecycle development methodologies that worked with an in-house data center are a mismatch in a cloud environment. Agile development enables teams to deliver value faster, with higher quality, and predictability because it’s designed to leverage cloud capabilities.
At Istonish, we use Agile with a DevSecOps development mindset. Fast iterative sprints with built-in checkpoints provide opportunities to fine-tune development, security, and operations aspects of the application. The results are a custom application that is delivered with the functionality you expect, virtually defect-free and works correctly from the get-go.
3. Current Development Environment vs. Cloud Development Environment
There’s a bit of a two-way dependency between your existing development environment and what’s available and compatible with your cloud provider. You have to think in both directions.
What’s available in the cloud will, to a certain extent, dictate how you build your software. At the same time, the needs of your software will dictate what you need to build in the cloud.
For example, if we’re building a web application, a web server that’s exposed to the rest of the world will be required. Or if the custom developed application requires a lot of processing power, then we build a powerful server within our cloud computing environment.
Something else to consider is that not all of the tools you use in your local environment work or work in the same way in the cloud. For example, the Microsoft SSIS reporting tool that you use in your local environment does not run in the same way on an Azure cloud database. There are multiple ways to work through these issues. A variety of factors, including cost other dependencies and where your business is on the roadmap to cloud adoption, will inform the best choice for your business.
4. Security Requirements
Security is a critical component of building a custom cloud application. Infrastructure security and the actual coding of the software are key elements to building secure software.
In our experience, infrastructure is an area that is confusing if you’re not familiar with the security features that are a part of your third-party cloud provider.
In a traditional environment, security is designed with a firewall or firewalls. For example, you control your IP spaces, isolate access to different systems so that one system can access another system. You control what part of the network users’ access and also open and close ports, and monitor traffic.
Cloud providers like Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS provide many built-in security features. Many of the features of the traditional firewall are available in Azure and AWS. From a design and development standpoint, it requires understanding the capabilities and configuring the service.
If the security functionality delivered by your third party cloud provider meets the business requirements, the development and maintenance costs are reduced. On the other hand, if security functionality requires more than what’s provided, there is an additional cost to both development and ongoing support.
Coding errors can lead to security flaws. That’s why it’s essential to use a DevSecOps approach to ensure application security. At Istonish, we use tools that analyze and check our code for errors with every code check-in and Agile sprint review.
Security is critical, and understanding what works for your application is a balancing act between the right configuration and your budget.
5. Knowledge of Third-Party Cloud Provider Tools
Azure, AWS, and all third-party cloud providers deliver tools and functionality specific to their cloud computing platform. It’s important to have insider knowledge of what’s available and how much control you have over it. As noted, third-party cloud providers offer different security features. For example, Microsoft Azure has built-in security controls that are integrated into the hardware and firmware components, with added protection against threats such as DDoS. Depending on your security requirements, this may meet the need. If so, the cost is included in your Azure subscription. If not, then you need to plan for additional resources.
Another example is reporting capabilities. Azure provides real-time monitors that track the health of your server(s) with API functionality. This makes it easy to write software that depends on that data.
Your custom application may utilize services from different cloud providers. Understanding the interfaces and API’s provided by each provider in your Technology Infrastructure Supply Chain is vital to success.
Cloud Empower Your Custom Applications
Building a custom cloud application delivers valuable business benefits, including a reduction in cost, the creation of new services that drive revenue, improved productivity, and increased service delivery – to name a few. The key to success is working with a team that has the know-how and expertise to design and build a custom application that takes advantage of cloud computing tools. Contact Istonish today to get started.
Cloud offers companies many potential benefits, such as added flexibility, more agility, and lower costs. But to ensure that development is as efficient as possible, businesses need to understand the fundamental differences and take the steps necessary to mitigate these potential downsides.