Cloud-Based Enterprise Mobile Applications

motodevforenterprise.pngThere’s an interesting new podcast (can listen via web page) at Motorola MOTODEV on Building Cloud-Based Enterprise Mobile Applications. Don’t let the ‘enterprise’ part put you off, most of the issues are just as applicable to all mobile projects that are intending to store their data in the cloud.

The podcast is led by Peter van der Linden, Android Technology Evangelist at Motorola Mobility and takes a panel format consisting of Richard Rodger, COO at nearForm, Sandeep Bhanot Developer Evangelist, Salesforce.com, Mike Janson CTO, Taptera and Mitch Lindsay, Lead Integration Engineer at Taptera.

Initially there’s some talk on the differences between Infrastructure as a service (IAAS), Platform as a service (PAAS) and Software as a Service (SAAS). The advantages of cloud based storage are then discussed…

  • Ability to concentrate on your core competency
  • Quick time to market
  • Ease of use by developers
  • Easy to build in auth systems
Some concerns are also mentioned…
  • Security, especially for financial institutions
  • Seizing of servers by authorities (e.g. Megaupload case)
  • Interfacing with legacy systems
It’s my personal belief that companies need to think even deeper about cloud-based data. Here are some other issues that need to be assessed on a project-by-project basis…
  • Availability – The latest US storms taking down Amazon Web Services being a recent example. Can your project cope with down time that’s outside your control?
  • Service Level Agreements – This is related to availability but is driven by business requirements. For example, your business might have promised a certain level of up-time to customers. Is this reflected in the cloud provider’s SLA?
  • Data Protection – If your business is in Europe, legal data protection requirements might impose requirements on the geographic location of your data.
  • I/O throughput –  Servers scale but physical i/o doesn’t. You might still need partition your application’s data to allow for scaling.
  • Reporting, backup and direct access to modify data (CRUD tools) – These often come ‘free’ or are easy to create using non-cloud technologies. What tools are available to you with your chosen cloud solution? Will you need to create additional tools?
  • Due Diligence – How new is the company? How likely is it that the company will be around for the estimated lifetime of your project?
  • Migration – How easy is it to move cloud providers if, for example, fees increase or the cloud provider don’t remain in business?