With the ever-increasing popularity and advancement of Web App developments, web services are constantly evolving to satisfy client requests irrespective of geographical location. This essentially gives businesses the opportunity to achieve a global presence by expanding their audience reach with minimal asset cost (e.g. the purchasing and managing of physical computing infrastructures, data centres, servers, security measures etc.).
One such technology is Cloud Computing. In simple terms, cloud computing refers to the delivery of IT resources/computing services through the internet (i.e. the "Cloud"). From processing power and storage to software deployment and analytics, these services replace the traditional way of owning physical assets to offer innovation, competitive advantages, flexibility and sharing of resources. A fundamental concept of cloud computing is to allow users to reap all its benefits without being complete experts on each underlying technology. However, details such as service location and scaling options still remain important components within the cloud process which can be modified depending on the application's optimal conditions and user requirements.
According to a study conducted by Gartner Inc., the total market value of worldwide cloud services in 2019 was $227.8 billion and it is forecasted to grow by a staggering 17% by the end of 2020. For many companies, it is clearly evident that implementing and incorporating cloud technologies as part of their business strategy will remain a top priority in the foreseeable future. Some of the largest cloud providers include Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Depending on your needs, these providers often offer 3 different types of cloud services: Infrastructure (IaaS), Software (SaaS) and Platform (PaaS).
The image above: summary of the comparison between traditional IT and cloud services
The main benefits of cloud computing in web development processes are as follow:
The ability to scale is, without a doubt, the most crucial factor of cloud computing. Whether it is expanding your geographical reach or handling a growing number of users, web applications can be easily scaled up by either increasing the number of servers, upgrading hardware power or a mixture of both! This means there is no need to worry about secondary details as seen in traditional server hosting (e.g. network configuration, server load balancing etc.), allowing for strategic growth with fewer obstacles in your business.
Internal services and resources give developers the flexibility to efficiently develop, configure, test and deploy any web applications. From automated testing and server provisioning to web monitoring and DevOps, application deployment to production environment becomes easier with near-to-zero downtime. Further, performance metrics can be measured in real-time to inform developers on any major deviations or errors that arise. Hence, the expected loss in profit due to web maintenance issues is drastically reduced.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are no upfront investments with cloud computing as physical assets, such as servers and data centres, are not required. With these fixed costs removed, operational costs on maintenance and installation of such equipment are consequently reduced. In general, the majority of cloud services are on a pay-as-you-go basis. Hence, the cost depends on the amount of usage, providing the opportunity for businesses to start small and scale up as needed. As an example, Google's Cloud Run scales automatically based on the number of requests. Thus, it is completely free if there are no requests since Cloud Run scales to zero.
To conclude, cloud web development technology is constantly evolving and it is of tremendous benefit to both SMEs and large corporate firms. Its technological potential is endless and companies are already integrating it as part of their working culture. What are you waiting for?
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