Classification of Cloud Apps

Image result for cloud apps

The article will provide a broad overview of the classification of Cloud Apps and the various factors behind it. It will subsequently brief about the federated ecosystem and the group behaviour of the apps constituting it. The article is a continuation of my previous article, “What are Cloud apps?” which I will strongly recommend you to go through if you haven’t already. It serves are an incentive to ultimately discuss the main motive of “Cloud Computing” which is – Business.

Many would not agree to a particular way of classifying Apps. In fact, there are different ways which we can use to classify Apps like, the kind of industry they are serving, and the type of devices they interact with, etc. However, we shall adopt an approach based on the kind of business operations an App executes(figure 1). This approach will adhere to the technology stack closely and will provide us with an insight into the working of Apps in different scenarios.

Different types of Apps

While we discussed the IaaS layer of Cloud Technology Stack, we talked about the cloud toolkits that are responsible for providing a high-level and usable interface to the hardware platform on the cloud. These toolkits are in the state of rapid evolution, and the major thrust is now on more control and auto-management.

Programming tools are basically associated with the next layer in the stack, PaaS. These include frameworks, application builders, programming libraries, and API suites, etc. These tools mostly focus on specific programming languages and technologies.

Other three categories of Apps pertain to the SaaS layer in the stack. These Apps may have a native counterpart sitting on user devices. A major category in this layer in Web 2.0 Apps, which are used for social networking sites, e-commerce storefronts and knowledge management portals among others. An important thrust in such Apps is on managing crowd-sourced content, technically, on the process of rapid append and retrieval.

In contrast, the Enterprise Apps emphasize on transactional data management procedures and these Apps are used in different mission-critical scenarios of business, government and research. These Apps can serve across multiple industry verticals. For example, the backend of a storefront is managed through this kind of Apps, which achieve successful transactions without fuss.

Finally, the Consumer Apps, are the ones which are meant for individual users for their personal needs. With the proliferation of devices and increased dependence of lifestyle utilities, this kind of Apps has a significance market-size. Location-based and context-aware technologies such as triggering an action based on location and context are predominant in these Apps.

With a discussion about different Apps on the cloud, let us look at the generic cloud scenario, how Apps behave in a collective environment, and what we expect from them.

Federated Ecosystem:

Can we think of a solitary App meeting all our requirements? No, rather we deal with a set of Apps that work together to achieve a real-world task. Each App gets engaged in multi-point interactions among the group of Apps to deliver desired services while maintaining the requisite isolation and independent operations within themselves. This is truly a federated ecosystem where Apps interact with one another in a disciplined fashion adhering to standard protocols and data exchange formats.

The most important activity before interacting with any App is to find it. It is required that an App must be available in a search database with necessary information(metadata of App). The discovery of an App by others must be made automatic if we have to obey the cloud characteristics.

After an App is discovered, the next important activity is to validate the requested requirements and available facility through an automatic App-level SLA. Then billing terms must also have to be adhered to if it is a requirement of SLA; of course, all at App-level. In fact, different vendors are now equipping their devices with billing capability, in turn, the Apps installed on those devices. Also, different Apps are getting bundled with the capability to manage bills through their user identities; and Google Wallet to Android Apps point at the evolution in this direction.

Data exchanges must abide by one of the standard protocols, and the data format has to be in one of the standard formats. Moreover, both the interacting Apps must obey the same protocol and exchange data in the same format to facilitate successful interaction; but this may not be possible looking at the multiple popular protocols and data exchange formats. Thus it may be required to come up with a single standard protocol and to adopt a single data exchange format between Apps. The other option would be to inject the necessary capability for Apps to adapt to different standard protocols and formats. When we talk of a live App, we refer to an instance of an App run by a user or a virtual agent embedded in another App. Each live App must have a user role associated with it to make a request to another App.

Well, we just discussed the interaction mechanisms for Apps and the different aspects involved. On the other hand, the major issue that is rather more relevant in the cloud environment is the situation of partition. When we need to accept the situation of partition as a reality, we must also have the Apps to recover from the state of partition automatically. The situation turns complex when there are dependencies between Apps for one successful transaction at the user-end and when a state of partition occurs. In such cases, the application must be able to determine its dependency, auto-restart the process of recovery and inform the end-user with suitable feedbacks during the process.

Now, that we have understood the basics of Cloud Apps and how they are classified, it’s finally time to have a look at the Business Solutions on Cloud Computing. Hence in my next article on Cloud Computing I will attempt to discuss the mechanism of business conduction on Cloud Platforms

Posted in Technology