Top 5 things to consider when architecting for the cloud

Business applications deployed on the cloud has become a strategic priority. The fact remains, however, that for most businesses selecting and implementing a cloud platform can take anywhere between 6 to 9 months!

The top two bottlenecks businesses faced when deploying on the cloud are:

  • Moving legacy applications to the cloud
  • Managing application specific performance on the cloud


Addressing the two bottlenecks above call for a structured approach in architecting the cloud based solution, as explained below.


1. Define a roadmap for cloud adoption.

This is the most important consideration, since businesses run the risk of factoring only the immediate needs, only to realize that the architecture is not scalable enough when more workload is added in the form of legacy applications.

It may not also be possible to have a completely cloud native set of business applications; they will coexist with traditional enterprise applications.

Knowing when and how legacy applications will be moved completely to the cloud is an important factor to consider, when drawing up the roadmap for cloud adoption.


2. Choose a platform that is scalable without lock-in.

The cloud provides a layer of abstraction to underlying infrastructure, so it must offer the flexibility to work on multiple storage options.

Cloud solutions providers optimize solutions for their own stacks. It is hence important to understand what APIs they support, so the dependency on any one platform vendor is reduced when the solution needs to scale.


3. Design applications with failures factored in.

Despite all the up time guarantees, hardware failures occur. Outages are still a reality. The best approach to deal with these circumstances is to ensure that the application design factors these realities.

Failures can be both at the hardware level, as well as at the software level. What happens when a load balancing node working in tandem with an array of application server fails? If there are masters and slave systems in the architecture, how to handle the failure of a master? What happens when an application module times out or throws an exception?

Software companies that specialize in cloud application development services can be your strategic asset, in building and deploying applications on the cloud.


4. Design with decoupled components.

Any business transaction can be viewed technically an interaction between two or more functional application modules. While this interaction dependency is inevitable, business applications need to be designed with sufficiently decoupled modules, so that if one module fails, or is not responsive, they can be addressed quickly.

For instance, in web based architecture, the app server does not know about your web server and vice versa, which gives decoupling between these layers and there are no dependencies code-wise or from a functional perspective.


5. Implement elasticity

Elasticity is the ability to grow/shrink the infrastructure set up based on performance factor. We can think of three aspects of elasticity here:

  • Cyclic scaling refers to the increased need for performance due to changes in business needs on a known timeframe (weekly, monthly, etc). It could also happen on the eve of certain known events like product launches, marketing campaigns, etc.
  • Demand based auto-scaling refers to the need for increased performance in response to a known event.

Deploying cloud based architecture calls for a careful consideration of strategic as well as operational aspects. While the first two points take care of strategic aspects, the remaining three points above address the operational aspects of the cloud deployment initiative.

A competent software solutions vendor will be able to guide, work along with you, in your cloud application development that meet your specific needs.


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