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By 2020, 83% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud.
Gartner’s forecast says that IaaS will be the fastest-growing segment of the market, as it’s expected to hit $39.5 billion by the end of 2019.
It’s clear that all industries are turning to the cloud, and it’s only logical that mobile development, which has been rapidly growing over the past decade, can enjoy the benefits of this advanced technology given that smartphones and other mobile devices have access to a high-speed internet connection.
Let’s see what cloud computing is and how it can be best leveraged in the field of mobile app development.
So, What Is Cloud Computing?
To put it in layman’s terms, cloud computing is a technology that allows people to use apps that haven’t been downloaded on physical computers or servers but are stored in the cloud and can be accessed through the internet.
Mobile cloud computing refers to the same technology used to deploy mobile apps remotely and without the need to actually install them on mobile devices.
Benefits of this approach are numerous:
- It’s resource-friendly. Mobile devices have numerous limitations in terms of processing power, battery capacity, and storage, which means that by using mobile cloud computing, you can overcome all these obstacles and build an app stored in the cloud that wouldn’t take up any of the resources on a mobile device.
- It allows applications to be delivered to devices with different operating systems, thus allowing users to access otherwise unsupported apps.
- It improves reliability by storing all the data in the cloud and enables quick development as it’s possible to quickly build and tweak apps stored in the cloud.
However, it’s important to distinguish between different types of clouds as well as their relevance for mobile app development.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
You’re probably using Dropbox, Google Apps, Salesforce, or GoToMeeting, which are some of the most common examples of Software as a Service.
This is also considered to be the most popular cloud type especially for business purposes, and it can be defined as the use of the internet to deliver and deploy applications. In other words, SaaS apps are usually run through your browser, and you don’t have to download and install them on your mobile device.
The services are provided by a third-party vendor, who’s responsible for managing all the data, and supervising servers, storage, runtime, and all the other technical factors, which means that development companies can focus on the code only.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Unless you’re well-versed in the field of development, the names such as Windows Azure, Google App Engine, or OpenShift won’t mean much to you, and these are the most common examples of Platform as a Service.
The main difference between PaaS and Saas lies in the fact that the former offers a platform for software creation, while the latter delivers the software over the internet. In other words, PaaS providers offer a framework which developers can use to build customized mobile apps, and what’s best, they don’t have to think about operating systems, the computing power, storage, or software updates.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Digital Ocean, Google Compute Machine, and Rackspace are some of the most notable examples of IaaS.
As its name says, this model offers computing infrastructure such as cloud storage or virtualization. In this case, the provider of this service in a way rents their own IT infrastructure on which clients’ virtual servers are installed.
It’s important to mention, that in this arrangement, the provider’s responsibility is to manage virtualization, servers, and storage, while clients are in charge of taking care of data, middleware, runtime, and updates.
IaaS is a cost-effective alternative to on-premise infrastructure, as businesses don’t have to invest in physical hardware.
A Quick Roundup
Cloud computing is a silver lining that helps both app developers and users make the most of mobile technology.
App developers can benefit from this technology as it
- Allows for quick development and fine-tuning of apps. Given that developers don’t have to optimize the code to be resource-friendly, it’s much easier for them to build mobile apps that are scalable.
- Provides flexibility. Resource-intensive apps are limiting because only powerful, high-end phones can support them. With the use of mobile cloud computing, it’s possible to build an otherwise resource-intensive app which will be stored in the cloud and won’t take up any of the phone’s resources.
- Ensures security. The reliability of a mobile app is improved when the information is backed up in the cloud. This means that even if the mobile phone is lost or when the user migrates to a new phone, all the relevant data won’t be compromised and will be accessible.
End-users will benefit from this technology too:
- Their battery life will be extended
- They won’t have to worry about their phone’s storage capacity
- Their data will be safe no matter what happens to their phone
- They won’t have to put up with buggy apps and phone freezing, as the apps powered by mobile cloud computing run smoothly on any device.