This article presents a discussion on the best strategies and practices that should be adopted when developing and deploying applications for the cloud — to make your application more stable, scalable, and secure. When developing applications for the cloud, you should have your design, development and deployment strategy in place. First off, is your application cloud-ready or cloud-centric? While in the former case, your application can be deployed to the cloud (either a public or a private cloud), the latter is a cloud-native application that leverages the cloud principles (multi-tenancy, elastic scaling, etc.)
Cloud computing has many business benefits. These include:
- Usage-based cost
- Reduced time-to-market
- Better resource utilization
- Increased agility
- Reduced infrastructure costs
In the sections that follow, we will explore the best practices that should be adopted to leverage the benefits that cloud computing has to offer.
Choosing the Right Platform
You should be able to choose the right platform such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), or Software as a Service (SaaS). Choosing the correct platform actually depends on the needs of your application. If you opt for the PaaS infrastructure, you can focus more time on developing the application rather than having to spend time on the environment. If you choose the SaaS platform, you would have everything provided sans the users of the application and the application's data. If you decide on the IaaS platform, the infrastructure is available for you but you would need to manage the software packages, databases, etc.
You should also consider the scalability requirements of your application. You would need to consider the type of scaling your application requires. Basically, there are two types of scaling -- vertical scaling and horizontal scaling. In vertical scaling, you increase the system's resources (RAM, CPU cores, etc.) for increased scalability. On the contrary, in horizontal scaling, the load of the application is spread across a group of servers. You, as a developer, should also be aware of the scaling availability in the platform your application would run on. An important aspect that you would need to consider when architecting applications for the cloud is elasticity. Elasticity is defined as the ability to scale computing resources up and down as and when it is needed. There are two approaches that a cloud architect needs to consider in this regard. These include: scale-up and scale-out.
Other Best Practices
Some of the other best practices when architecting and developing applications for the cloud include the following:
Designing for failure — This is a design strategy that is used to design, develop and deploy applications that can automatically recover from failures.
Strategies for faster data access — Your application should leverage caching to store stale data in the memory for faster access. If the data is static and not going to change over time, you can also take advantage of content delivery service to lower the latency requirements.
Decoupling the components — Coupling is a term used to denote the inter-connectedness between the components in an application. If the components of your application are loosely coupled, the application can scale easily due to reduced dependencies. Also, the components of the application should be decoupled so that they can be tested independently.
Protecting the data — You should implement the right security strategy to protect the data in transit and also the data that is at rest. When exchanging sensitive data over the wire, you should use SSL and other secure design strategies. Data that resides in the data store should also be protected using encryption and other security best practices.<
To build highly-scalable and secure cloud applications, you should design for failure in mind, implement strategies for elasticity, decouple the application's components, and implement a robust security infrastructure. This article discussed the best practices that can be adopted for building highly scalable applications for the cloud. Happy reading!