When it comes to web applications, midsize to large businesses are looking to cloud databases to help them gain efficiencies and, ultimately, gain a competitive edge over their market rivals. Traditionally, web applications run on a network of servers, which in turn use their processing power to handle requests from users. Meanwhile, specialized servers are in charge of storing data. In a cloud-based system, the servers these web applications use are run by a remote third-party hosting service.
Sharing data between applications is one of the cloud’s most attractive business features. Using the cloud, web application developers can tap into a wealth of resources and, more than that, enterprises can share their efficiencies with others.
The challenges that cloud-based web application developers face are similar to those of their traditional counterparts, yet the cloud presents a different scenario. For instance, when traffic spikes from thousands of users to millions, cloud application developers can make on-demand adjustments to handle the increase, making it perfect for scalable applications.
The Tiers of Scalable Architecture
As more businesses contemplate using the cloud for their web applications, using the right strategy can help optimize it. Using the cloud requires running tests under real-world conditions, ensuring that developers can build a robust application that runs optimally under all types of traffic. Thus, scalable architecture with various tiers helps reinforce a company’s applications:
- The first tier, referred to as the load balancing tier, helps spread traffic between web servers, resulting in no downtime or interruption of service.
- The second, known as the application tier, is configured with two servers and has an automatic scaling alert mechanism.
- The third tier, dedicated to caching, focuses on performance, using a lesser amount of CPU, and relies on large memory instead.
- The database is found in the final tier, with the most common source being MySQL. Since resources are not physically accessible in the cloud, it’s recommended that developers use more than one database, should a failure occur. Another reinforcement is Elastic Block Store (EBS), which produces backup volumes.
Open-source web applications typically based on Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP (LAMP stacks) are widely available. Web applications, no matter how efficient and popular, require a hosting provider, and virtual private server hosting providers can offer shared hosting.
True Cloud Benefits
Discerning cloud-based web applications from traditional ones isn’t always clear to newcomers. Don’t be fooled by the cloud frenzy. Any application that runs on the Web is not necessarily a cloud application. A real cloud-based web application has the ability to support various requirements for consumers and should support virtualization technology. Some cloud development platforms include VMware Cloud foundry, Google App Engine and Microsoft Azure.
With technology, it’s always about the latest and greatest. Cloud databases for web applications may bring you just that, with the added advantage of low cost. A new competitive edge may be within reach if your company can take advantage of what a cloud-based strategy has to offer your online presence.