By Fabien Aug 14, 2023
In collaboration with Sylvain

Increase Efficiency, Security and Performance with Cloud Development

The arrival of the cloud in software development has brought about changes not only in the way technological solutions are designed, but also in the work organization at higher levels.

On-premise solutions are increasingly being sidelined in favor of cloud-native applications, which have been designed, created, deployed, and run directly from the cloud to take advantage of its power and possibilities.

But what are these famous possibilities? In this article, we will take a look at how the Cloud has impacted software development, to help you make an informed choice should you embark on a digital transformation process for your company.

If you would like first to refresh your knowledge about the basics of the cloud, including the three models and the main benefits of this technology, we invite you to read the article What is the Cloud, and How Does it Benefit Businesses? written by our colleague Olivier.

Changes Associated to Cloud Development

At first glance, the differences between cloud and on-premise development may seem minor, at least when it comes to programming language. After all, C# code will remain C# code, whether it’s used in the cloud or not. Application structure, classes and code patterns also remain essentially the same.

However, the cloud does enable businesses to modernize their working practices in several ways, and above all to simplify our processes.

Lower IT Support Requirements

Various cloud features give the development team greater autonomy.

The cloud strongly favors the use of Infrastructure as Code (IaC). This process can be applied with an on-premise solution but becomes almost essential in the cloud.

Rather than configuring servers with the support of IT technicians, developers can code these infrastructures from A to Z, test them and deploy them on their own. Deployment is calculated in seconds, which saves considerable time, resources, and effort!

System updates are now carried out automatically by the cloud service provider. Teams no longer need to be monopolized outside business hours, several times a year, to update each production server.

Cloud platforms also make it easy to create or update SSL certificates. No need to use an external service such as a hosting provider or web agency. Intuitive, easy-to-use modules are available.

Cloud platforms also simplify the management of roles, responsibilities, access, and rights. For example, if you want an external resource to join your organization, all you have to do is send an invitation, and you are all set!

The cloud therefore makes it possible to rely on a smaller IT team, which can be a significant advantage, particularly in terms of cost, for smaller organizations.

Efficiency Gains

The developer’s working environment, including software such as Visual Studio or Visual Studio Code, is connected to the cloud. This enables on-demand communication with the cloud, as well as real-time testing.

This connection to the cloud greatly simplifies remote working. Previously, it was possible to connect remotely using VPNs, but these required the purchase of equipment and had to be administered by the in-house IT team.

A good example of this process simplification would be production release, a crucial stage in the project development cycle. Thanks to the cloud, there is no need to travel to the customer’s site. The solution, updates or new features can be deployed securely and efficiently from a distance, no matter where the users are located.

Moreover, when things are not quite going according to plan and a step back is required to make the necessary adjustments, the maneuver is much easier, in a more controlled environment. So, the pressure is off a bit!

Security Gains

Cloud service providers count on features that ensure better data security. The platform always uses the latest version and is based on security best practices, ensuring a secure solution for users.

All passwords and access codes are now stored in a secure vault, accessible via the cloud. Exchanging information stored in documents is a thing of the past, eliminating a potential risk of data loss.

Real-time data access is ensured via the cloud, thanks to the concept of geographical redundancy. In a nutshell, data is stored in different data centers around the world, ensuring round-the-clock access in the event of a failure in one of these centers.

Performance Gains

The most significant performance gain is undoubtedly scalability. Thanks to the cloud, conditions can easily be set to increase server capacities if demand or the number of users crosses a certain threshold. These conditions are crucial during events such as Black Friday, when millions of transactions take place every minute, or for the launch of a highly-anticipated video game, for example.

The concept of scalability is much more difficult to apply to on-premise solutions. Resources must be allocated based on estimated demand. If the latter exceeds projections, the time required to purchase and configure another server represents a considerable risk to the solution’s performance and stability.

At Uzinakod, the launch of the electronic proof of vaccination in 2021, in partnership with Akinox, represents a fine example of scalability. As soon as it was made available to the entire Quebec population, an impressive volume of downloads of these famous QR codes was recorded. This high demand was well anticipated, and measures were immediately put in place to avoid any performance problems, all thanks to the features included in the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

How to switch to the cloud?

In some cases, on-premise solutions are still necessary, for example for businesses in remote locations without stable Internet access. However, switching to the cloud is now generally preferred in order to take advantage of its benefits.

The digital transformation process differs from one company to another, depending on its needs, the time allotted, and the budget allocated. Two approaches stand out:

  • The first one is simply to take a customer’s on-premise environment and recreate it as it is in the cloud. Data formerly stored on a server will now be stored on a virtual machine. This approach, known as Lift and Shift, is low-risk, ensures continuity of operations and delivers some of the benefits of the cloud, such as stable data access.
  • The second approach is to use the various features of the cloud, among other things, set up scalability conditions and automatic updates to reduce maintenance efforts. In some cases, a code rewriting phase will be required, as some older technologies are not supported by the cloud. This approach certainly requires a substantial timetable and budget but offers the best gains for taking full advantage of the possibilities provided by the cloud.

Regardless of the approach you adopt, our custom software development and digital transformation specialists can help you make the right technological choices and modernize your business tools.

Whether you want to give your legacy platform a proper upgrade by moving it to the cloud, or develop a brand new cloud-native solution based on industry best practices, contact us today to discuss about your project!

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