7 Tips for Building a Cloud-Ready Application

If you’ve ever built an application, then you probably know that In order to create a better performing, solid application that’s easy to manage, it must be created specifically for the platform it will run on. This includes developing both public and private applications for cloud platforms.

Not a lot of people know exactly what it takes to build public or private cloud applications, which is why so many cloud-based platform applications fail to perform as expected.

The steps presented below reveal the correct approach and architecture for building successful cloud-ready applications along with what’s trending with the cloud. The step-by-step method, shown below combines traditional fundamentals of software development that includes best concepts, practices, and procedures for designing applications that perform exactly as they should for the success of an enterprise.

Leveraging Services Independently and Combining Data for Optimal Performance

Cloud applications should be deployed as a collection of APIs or cloud services. After building up to the services from the data, combine them with complete composite applications or composite services.

Although developers understand the concepts, they tend to create applications that are tightly coupled and focus on user interfaces rather than reveal underlying functions as services that they can independently leverage.

While developing cloud application architecture, the complex distributed systems you work with can be used to take advantage of services with loosely coupled applications, which can be decoupled from the data.

Physically separate the application services, implementing on the right machine instances, API/service managers, and the governance technology that delivers service directories to track the numerous services making up your application.

Other benefits include additional coarse-grained services as well as reuse of services from other applications.

Applications may also be broken up into hundreds of underlying services to add value when in use by other applications so you won’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you develop an application.

Take for instance a credit-check system that numerous applications use. The applications can become more efficient by combining them into one service.

Decoupling the Data

If you couple data to an application tightly, it won’t be able to find a good place to settle in the cloud.

Public and private clouds are composite distributed systems that will work best when application architectures break out data into separate processes.

The same goes for decoupling the data; create applications from services, then you can process and store the data on any private or public cloud instance. For example, many enterprises want to utilize the virtual machine commodity instances in public clouds while their data stays on local servers.

You have to think about performance. Across the open internet, database reads and writes can cause latency, and applications that leverage it and how close data and services sit may be determined by database communications.

You Should Consider Using Caching Systems

Caching systems provide better performance as they locally store data that is frequently accessed, which can reduce database read requests.

These should be built into the application but tested to ensure the cache’s efficiency. Systems that continuously read new data won’t benefit that much from cache databases.

Communications Between Application Components

Both services and data decoupling applications don’t properly architect your application for the cloud. Components of chatty applications that continuously communicate with each other will degrade the applications overall performance since they’re generally distributed over an open internet or network where high latency tolerance is desired.

Try to focus on developing applications that will optimize communications between components. For example, rather than designing application components on a single platform that will make for constant communication, combine communications into a group of messages or a single data stream.

Designing and Modeling for Scaling and Performance

Considering how application components communicate as well as how an application will scale when the load increases, will enhance overall performance. It helps to first build a model and see how it will perform under an increasing load first, before designing for performance.

Should 1,000 or more users all log on at once, how will your application handle all the traffic, the extra load placed at the back-end of the databases, or the heavy workload on the servers? You should know how the application components will handle such a large load of more than 1,000 users. This could increase the load on the network by 10 percent, on the database by 40 percent, and on the servers by 80 percent.

Adding more than 1,000 users could saturate your provisioned application servers, and then you will have to spin more application server instances. While the capacity of the network may stay the same, the database instances would probably have to be raised to be able to handle the extra load.

You can use this model of automatic spinning resource instances up to figure out how to scale the application for the best performance. Some cloud service providers offer automatic provisioning as they provide auto-scaling capabilities.

However, the most proficient approach is in understanding the application workload functions, defining proper scaling, and fitting mechanisms in the right place to ensure it will scale. Using performance monitoring tools and enabling performance monitoring by creating interfaces within an application can help to monitor the overall application. The provisions and de-provisions of the application’s resources should be separate from the application.

Adding Security Systems within an Application

Security should be a high priority when hosting cloud applications, yet many tend to ignore it altogether. Your application architecture should include a security system built in the cloud-based application. Be sure to choose the correct technology and effective security before building the application. The security and technology you choose should be right for the application type you run and will address any data-level or compliance security issues.

For example, those in healthcare will have to contemplate personally identifiable information along with The U.S. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and store data in a way that is HIPAA-compliant. This will require specific high levels of security to handle sensitive data, like data encryption.

Moreover, these applications should leverage identity access management (IAM).
Constructing advanced IAM capabilities can help reduce security costs and better yet, will allow for more security functionality for cloud-based applications.

IAM will soon take part in roughly 90 percent of newly built cloud applications as well as 50 percent of existing applications migrating to the cloud.

The objective is to design cloud-based applications with built-in security systems that take advantage of both the IAM system and traditional cloud features. Hence, security typically differs from enterprises and should be based upon the business’s needs.
Although building cloud-based application architecture requires that you utilize traditional features you should also incorporate new concepts such as testing, security, and sound design.

Of course, everyone makes mistakes when developing applications including cloud-based, the important thing is that you learn from the mistakes you make; therefore, you will know what to do and what not to do in the future when building your next applications.

One thing to keep in mind when designing cloud-based application architecture is that certain approaches — like service orientation — should take priority over everything else, even if it takes longer to build the application or costs more. Investing in cloud-based applications is a smart move as you will get a return on your investment over and over again within the applications value.

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