How do you define a Cloud Computing application?
There have been three deployment architectures for client/server applications.
The most common deployment architecture is called ‘On-site deployment’ where application and database servers are maintained by an organisation within their local LAN and client applications are installed on each user PC.
This ‘traditional’ set-up moved to what we call ‘WEB deployment’; with the servers being hosted externally allowing access to the client application from a WEB browser.
The latest architecture is Cloud Computing which is significantly different from On-site or WEB deployment and is differentiated by some clear characteristics described below.
Cloud Computing can respond to demand
Cloud Computing is not limited to a fixed number of physical servers, it immediately scales-up the servers allocated to an application as processing demand increases. In this way system performance for the user is kept constant and there is a cost effective and efficient allocation of resources.
In contrast WEB deployed applications whilst hosted on the internet have dedicated servers allocated to run the application and cannot scale up to match short term increases in demand; if there is a peak in the number of users or heavy processing tasks, such as running reports, performance can suffer.
Cloud Computing provides 24/7 access.
‘On-site’ and ‘WEB based’ systems are supported by the software vendor and periodically have to be taken offline for server software updates and patches to be applied. In a Cloud Computing environment maintenance is performed in real-time; this means servers are automatically patched with the latest fixes.
Cloud Computing benefits from economies of scale.
‘On-site’ and ‘WEB based’ systems require dedicated servers available 24/7 to meet peak demand, this is a fixed cost. Cloud Computing can have very few servers when the load is low and dynamically increase them when needed and hence provide superior performance at a lower cost.
Cloud Computing has only one version of the software.
‘On-site’ and ‘WEB based’ systems invariably have to operate and maintain several different versions of the application across their installed Customer base: for the software house this is a significant management and cost overhead which can lead to a slow response to maintenance issues and development requests. For the Customer it can mean many months of the application not providing the functionality required and a significant cost to upgrade the system (to say nothing of the cost of running old versions of the application for months if not years!).
Cloud based solutions do not have Customer specific installs: they provide one version of the application which every Customer uses. There are no costly Customer upgrades just updates to the application that are automatically downloaded to all users. This single version environment reduces the cost of support and maintenance for both the Customer and the software house.
Cloud Computing is secure.
Cloud Computing applications are inherently more secure than ‘on-site’ and ‘WEB based’ applications as they benefit from the economies of scale being housed in dedicated data centres with many levels of security. Unless you’re part of one of the largest global companies you simply could not afford a better IT infrastructure.
Cloud Computing provides good performance.
‘On-site’ and ‘WEB based’ applications were built to exploit fast dedicated connections to the local on-site database server. This is one of the reasons WEB based applications can be slow as they were designed for an environment with much faster connections. Cloud Computing solutions are designed to perform over an internet connection and can often run as quickly from a wireless connection or simply using a 3g mobile phone chip.
WhiteSky Studio is a platform built from the ground up to take advantage of the latest Cloud technologies. It is not simply a web-based application with all the inherent flaws mentioned above. It responds dynamically to user demand, can grow with your business, has incredible performance and is secure. All of this while being orders of magnitude cheaper than existing applications and bespoke programming.
Download your free trial of WhiteSky Studio today, and see for yourself.