What is Cloud Application?
A Cloud Application simply refers to any software application that is deployed in a cloud environment rather than being hosted on a local server or machine. The term “cloud environment” describes how an IT organization has configured its IT infrastructure to support cloud applications. There are three different models that are popular today:
- Private cloud – private cloud infrastructure is used exclusively by a single organization. Its resources are not shared by other organizations, and access to these systems is not available for the public. IT organizations can choose to build their own private cloud infrastructure on-site or to have a 3rd-party company host and maintain the infrastructure off-site. A private cloud environment acts as a private network, creating a secure environment for applications, services and users.
- Public cloud – public clouds can offer low rates for data storage capacity and flexible computing power due to economies of scale. Companies that own and operate public cloud infrastructure deliver on-demand computing services to a variety of customers across industry verticals. These companies own all of the hardware, software and supporting infrastructure needed to deliver the services, which customers can typically access on any device with internet access. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Oracle are three well-known examples of public cloud service providers.
- Hybrid cloud – hybrid cloud environments use API technology to combine public and private clouds together into a single environment. With a hybrid cloud environment, IT organizations can share data and applications between on-premise servers and third-party public cloud applications, creating additional options for application deployment and optimization.
The most important innovation associated with the cloud is the delivery of computing services such as servers, storage, databases, networking functionality, applications, data and analytics through the internet and on a flexible, on-demand basis.
What are cloud based applications?
Software as a Service cloud apps have been around since the late-nineties, developing from simpler web applications that used technology like Flash and Java to provide primitive “desktop-like” functionality accessible in the web browser. If you’re wondering what is cloud application or what is cloud app, we’ll tackle each of those questions in this article. We’ll tackle everything surrounding clouding in computer infrastructure so you can make an informed decision for your business.
Like many of the terms we’re discussing in this article, the meaning of “cloud application” is hazy. A definition everyone can agree on focuses on functionality provided over a network where compute and storage happens on servers in data centers. In the broadest possible sense, the cloud is everything that happens on the internet rather than on a local machine. That definition includes cloud infrastructure platforms that provide virtual servers, networks, and other infrastructure, as well as cloud applications that run in a remote data center.
What are some examples of Cloud Applications?
Google Docs or Office 365 is a paradigmatic example of a cloud application. To access Google Docs or Office 365, you need nothing more than a machine capable of running a web browser and an internet connection. You can use cloud application servers to host hundreds of different cloud apps for your business.
What are different cloud application designs?
More specifically, a cloud application is software that runs its processing logic and data storage between two different systems: client-side and server-side. Some processing takes place on an end user’s local hardware, such as a desktop or mobile device, and some takes place on a remote server. Typically, one of the benefits of cloud applications is that most data storage exists on a remote server.Users interact with a cloud application via a web browser or application programming interface (API).
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a popular form of cloud computing that delivers a web application and all its underlying IT infrastructure and platforms to users. It can be an ideal solution for businesses or individuals which:
- Do not want the responsibility of maintaining infrastructure, platforms, and software.
- Have challenges that require minimal customization to solve.
- Favor software subscription models.
SaaS reduces users’ upfront costs by eliminating the need to permanently purchase software or invest in a robust on-premise IT infrastructure, although users should invest in fast network hardware since service performance is determined by internet connection speeds.
Examples of SaaS include consumer-facing services like Google Docs and Microsoft Office 365, as well as enterprise services that deliver human resource software, content management systems, customer relationship management tools, and some integrated development environments (IDEs).
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) gives you a platform on which to develop, run, and manage your own apps without having to build and maintain the infrastructure or environment they need to run. This is because PaaS provides hardware and an application-software platform to users from an outside service provider. This means you will control the actual apps and data that “live” on the platform, making PaaS an ideal solution for developers and programmers. For instance, a developer might use PaaS as the foundation to create a new application that integrates with an existing Oracle database your company is already using.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) means a provider manages the infrastructure for you—the actual servers, network, virtualization, and storage—via a public cloud or private cloud. You access the infrastructure through an API or dashboard, and the infrastructure is rented. You can manage things like the operating system, apps, and middle ware while a provider, like AWS or Microsoft Azure, provides the hardware, networking, hard drives, storage, and servers—and they are responsible for taking care of outages, repairs, and hardware issues.
Cloud Application Advantages and Disadvantages
Cloud Application Advantages
- Cost Reduction – cloud application deployment can be accomplished in a relatively short time span with little to no up-front investment in IT infrastructure. Not only are organizations spared the expense of purchasing servers and other equipment, but they also save on the administration, power, air condition and maintenance costs associated with operating it. Cloud services also usually offer flexible cost models, so businesses only pay for the storage and capacity that they use.
- Reliability – cloud service providers have the infrastructure in place to guarantee high levels of service up-time and availability for your applications, including readily available back-up servers in case of an unplanned service interruption. When the system breaks, it’s your service provider’s responsibility to fix it – not yours.
- Ease-of-Management – organizations today can implement cloud management platform (CMP) solutions to streamline the management of cloud applications and services deployed across multiple cloud environments. CMPs use an extensive catalog of APIs to pull data from throughout the cloud environment and feed it into an integrated system where your IT organization can easily monitor performance, security and compliance.
Cloud Application Disadvantages
- Downtime – when an application is deployed in the cloud, an internet connection is required to access it. An unplanned internet outage could therefore cause a significant business interruption by disrupting access to cloud applications. Cloud service providers may also experience technical outages from time to time, during which all of your applications and data would be unavailable.
- Control – The major trade-off that organizations make for the cost savings of cloud application deployment is control. This makes cloud application deployment ideal for organizations that only want to manage applications, data and services, but not the physical hardware side of their IT.
- Security – As organizations increase their number of cloud application deployments, it becomes more difficult to continuously monitor the security status of the IT infrastructure and ensure that applications in the cloud do not contain vulnerabilities that could be exploited through cyber attacks. Cloud management platforms such as Sumo Logic allow IT organizations to aggregate data from applications in the cloud and use it to achieve continuous monitoring of security threats and vulnerabilities.