October 24, 2017 - by Manan Thakkar
A lot has changed in the cloud industry since its inception; according to Forbes, as of 2016, a whopping 5.4 million developers are building cloud apps! Today, the cloud is no longer just a means to reduce IT costs, but a means to gain competitive advantage, interact directly with customers in real time, and transform business. And unless you are beginning with a clean slate as a new company or are already a devoted outsourcer, you are likely to encounter a host of issues as you work through cloud computing for your business.
Challenges to cloud adoption come in all shapes, sizes, and severities, depending on the organization. While some are disastrous, dangerous, and some dubious, none of them should be considered insignificant. Let’s look at 7 of the biggest challenges you might have in cloud application development.
1. Interoperability and Portability
The challenge: When working within the cloud framework, interoperability is the ability to write code that can work with multiple cloud providers at the same time, despite the differences between them. Interoperability and portability are the most important features of any cloud environment. However, the ability of systems to communicate with one another is also one of the most pressing issues in cloud migration. The ability to run components or systems written for one cloud environment in another cloud environment is essential for portability – you want your cloud software to be portable with other cloud environments, don’t you?
The solution: Adopt necessary standards in cloud computing to ensure interoperability – the more accessible data is, the more interoperable software and platforms are, and the more standardized the operating protocols are, the easier it will be to use and the cheaper it will be to implement, operate, and maintain.
2. Performance Issues
The challenge: If you do not know where your data centers are, you do not know how long it will take to render the data, UI, style sheets, and everything else that comprises your awesome app experience. It might just be a matter of a few seconds, but it is enough to drive your users away.
The solution: Do necessary homework on your cloud service provider’s infrastructure and ask detailed questions to make sure that your apps’ performance does not suffer in the long run. Determine which applications can be safely moved to the cloud, and monitor them regularly to ensure optimal performance. Test early and often – when your enterprise applications begin communicating with other applications in the cloud, you are embarking on a new integration scenario and therefore ensuring end-to-end performance testing is critical.
3. False promises of Scalability
The challenge: One way to maximize budget efficiency and performance goals is to ensure scalability of your apps in the cloud. Although all cloud service providers promise scalable services, not all can deliver. If your app usage soars, you need to be sure that your back end can handle the data load.
The solution: Choose a hybrid cloud strategy and enjoy the required scalability and flexibility – a hybrid cloud can scale up and down according to your changing needs. Do not choose pre-defined programs that run the risk of paying for too much or needing more than you have.
4. Reliability and Availability
The challenge: The ability to maintain critical operations with little or no downtime, even in the event of a catastrophic disaster is the true essence of cloud apps. However, cloud providers often lack around-the-clock service, resulting in frequent outages. So, it is important to monitor the services being provided using internal or third party tools.
The solution: Supervise usage, SLAs, performance, robustness, and the business dependency of these services, and ensure around-the-clock availability of your apps in the cloud. Verify the level of protection you’re receiving from your cloud storage provider and make sure it adheres to your business requirements.
5. Loosely Coupled Service Design
The challenge: In a customer-centric world where needs keep changing, it is important for cloud apps to not be tightly coupled to the underlying service logic and implementation. While simple in principle, designing services so that applications can be loosely coupled is often a challenge in a cloud environment.
The solution: There is a need for more education, training and examples of good and consistent service design. Loosely coupling cloud apps ensures they are independent, offering the required flexibility and reusability when components are added, replaced, or modified. Developers using different vendor services need to understand the different protocols and take responsibility for orchestrated application behavior.
6. Query Oriented versus API Oriented Programming
The challenge: Map reduce, streaming, and complex event processing requires developers to adopt a more functional query-oriented style of processing to derive information such as federated data sets. Rather than a large surface area of OO APIs, these systems use an extension of SQL or XQuery like operations where clients pass in application specific functions, which are executed against federated data sources. While most developers are acquainted with basic SQL, several lack experience performing complex queries or function compositions.
The solution: Training and practice in formulating query programs is essential for cloud app success.
7. Application Security
The challenge: Application security beyond authorization has always been an area where application developers need help and support. Client side security is improving but remains a challenge largely due to the state of browsers; therefore applications need to ensure that critical security is performed outside the browser.
The solution: Make sure all data is encrypted using strong encryption; you can use a reverse proxy to address security concerns, or use SSL and other best practices to meet the security needs of major enterprises.
From applications to business processes – anything can be delivered as a cloud service wherever and whenever you need them. Cloud app development promises substantial benefits for small, medium and large organizations. While some analysts say it is still struggling in its infancy, enterprises are under great pressure to take advantage of cloud services after fully understanding the challenges they bring. Migrating to the cloud offers tremendous benefits; however, it is important to select a provider that will help support the transition and counterbalance the challenges.
Like any major business move, migration to the cloud will also start off slowly, but once you start realizing the benefits, the growth will be substantial. So, tread carefully, and slowly experience the added value that cloud app development brings to your business.