Best Practices for Application Deployment

In this age of technology, web applications are everywhere in our lives. There are many hurdles in the application deployment process, and many steps to get a web app to the production environment and onto the end user's device. Software deployment is an essential step in an application's life cycle, so it is imperative to have good habits to deploy the application and develop it.

Benefits of Application Development

Your business is unique, so why must your application be any different. When you opt for pre-built solutions, there can be many limitations and paywalls to essential features that you want in your web app. Developing your custom application takes out the middleman. It creates an environment where you can add any feature you desire without the hassle of researching how to accomplish it with a third party. But there is so much to do, like: what language do you use? Java? PHP? What exactly do you gain from developing your application?

Here are three advantages of custom application development:

  1. Offer High Scalability
    • Pre-built apps are made to handle a limited number of resources and processes. In the event of your business growing, these apps may not be able to handle the load. On the other hand, custom-made apps are built, keeping in mind all these parameters and scaled up easily when needed.
  2. Self Sustainable
    • The goal of most businesses and startups is to be self-sustaining. This means you won't have to rely on others for your business to continue thriving. You want to choose what new features are implemented and when without the fear of losing time and money on technical support.

Those are only some of the reasons why developing your custom web application can help you in the long run. There are tons of great software out there, but a lot of the time, if you want something done right, then you do it your way. Of course, once you have a working version of your web app you want to publish, or deploy it, on the internet for everyone to see. But first, it is best to understand the types of options you have for deploying your web application.

Cloud vs. In-House Application Deployment

The cloud is everything these days. It’s in every developer conversation and every startup's agenda. Despite all this talk, cloud services is a broad topic with tons of online presence yet little understanding of the concept and specific uses. When you think of cloud application hosting providers, you will probably list some of the more notable contenders like Google, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon AWS. But how is deploying your software application in the cloud different than doing it in-house?

On-Premise

Data security is essential to a business. Knowing your web application is on-premises and can be directly accessed only from the inside is more secure than having it on the cloud - solarwindsmsp. Of course, this means you will also need a data center, which brings us to something that will always scare away new businesses - cost.

Since deploying on-premises is done in-house, a business has to supply space, server hardware, power, not to mention maintenance. So costs can sky-rocket. On-premises software deployment usually has more control over the changes made and customization, but more maintenance is needed.

Cloud Computing

If you don't want to deal with any maintenance, web servers, or networking(to some degree), then you can take the cloud route. A cloud-based server utilizes virtual technology to host a company’s applications offsite. Cloud computing also features nearly instant provisioning because everything is already configured. Thus, any new software that is integrated into your environment is ready to use immediately once a company has subscribed. There is no need to deal with servers or maintenance. With instant provisioning, any time spent on installation and configuration is eliminated, and users can access the application right away.

Simple Software Deployment Solution

Many deployment tools and cloud computing services are available, making it hard to decide on the better one for your buck. Engine Yard is a simple solution for deploying your web applications fast, securely, and without compromises.

Common Cloud Application Deployments

If you choose to deploy your application with a cloud computing infrastructure, then you can pick from three types of cloud service models: IaaS, PaaS, SaaS.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Iaas is one of the most known services available in cloud computing. You can manage a lot of what goes on when you deploy your web application, such as data, runtime, middleware, and O/S. This ability to let you handle the things most important to you and let the vendor handle the more tedious work is one reason to love IaaS, but that is not all.

Advantages

With IaaS, you only pay for what you use. IaaS delivers cloud computing infrastructure, including servers, networks, operating systems, and storage, through virtualization technology. Some examples of IaaS are Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, and Digital Ocean, all of which use virtual servers for you to use, and if you need more storage, or if you need to scale up, then you can pay for more when you need it. For this reason, IaaS is very flexible and dynamic. Here are more reasons why we love IaaS:

  • Resources are available as a service
  • Cost-effective
  • Highly scalable services
  • Can be accessed by multiple users
  • You have complete control of the infrastructure

Potential Limitations

Having IaaS in your organization means having full dependency on the provider or third party for your data, not to mention that you are solely responsible for any upgrades and maintenance on your web applications. But, there is more to be concerned about than just this:

  • Internal Resources
  • Multiple-user security
  • Complex
  • Requires infrastructure knowledge

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS is the most popular type of cloud computing model. Platform as a Service, as the name implies, provides cloud components to certain software while being used mainly for applications, essentially serving as a platform for development, testing, and deploying your web applications. This is usually the go-to choice for most developers as well. Some examples of this are Heroku, Microsoft Azure, Apache Stratus, and Engine Yard.

Advantages

Much like IaaS, Platform as a Service also provides you with the ability to choose your virtual operating system, usually Linux, but you can also choose Windows. But unlike IaaS, which gives you lots of control but too much management, PaaS is the right mixture of control and ease of use without requiring extensive knowledge. Here are more reasons why PaaS is a great way to deploy your web application:

  • Cost-effective
  • Scalable
  • Minimal to no maintenance
  • Significant reduction in the amount of coding needed
  • Automation of business policy
  • Developer friendly
  • Easy migration to the hybrid model

Potential Limitations

  • Runtime issues
  • Integrations
  • Vendor Lock-in

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is a cloud computing software that’s available through a third-party over the internet and can be accessed with just a browser. With SaaS, everything is provided for you except for the application data. Vendors provide application coding tools to modify their tools, but you are still working with the app they offer. For example, Salesforce, Dropbox, and ZenDesk all provide you with their software, which you can modify but for the most part, changes are out of your control.

Advantages

SaaS is usually the cheapest option for lots of new businesses and developers. This is because of its grab-and-go nature with no need to install libraries or complex infrastructure, but there are more advantages to it than just that:

  • Flexible and Simple
  • Accessible from any device
  • Low maintenance
  • Scalable

Potential Limitations

Being cheap comes at a cost. For SaaS, this is mostly the loss of control over what you can manage in your application deployment. And as we mentioned in the beginning, choosing a custom application development cycle can be better because you get more customizability. While the other two cloud infrastructures gave you tons of control, SaaS is the one with the least options. But there are also a few more concerns to take note of:

  • Vendor Lock-in
  • Integration Support
  • Customization
  • Performance

Application Development Best Practices

Good practice for software deployment starts way before production. Having a sense of good application development is also important. Here are our top 5 practices for better application development:

  1. Continuous Delivery and Integration
    • To reduce the life cycle of development time, Continuous Delivery and Continuous Integration are usually a top choice in developing your application. This approach to software development is good for building, testing, and releasing software with greater speed and frequency
  2. Secure
    • This ties in more with testing your application to make sure there are no loopholes for malicious breaches. Making sure your web application is secure is always something to have on your agenda.
  3. Automate
    • This is something you will naturally want to implement in most of your web applications. There are a lot of things to keep in check: people, work, updates, and more things like who is assigned to what. Automating such tasks will help in making great software.
  4. Know your environments
    • There are three types of development environments: the development environment, test environment, and production environment. All of these are crucial so don't forget them, before even thinking of deploying your web application, you should focus on making sure you hit all of these steps.
  5. Know your backend
    • Load balancing is needed in any application. A load balancer will ensure that if one backend is not working, you can switch to another one that traffic will go to. Usually, a cloud service will have automatic load balancer in place, but it doesn't hurt to make sure.

Engine Yard

Cloud application hosting with Engine Yard is reliable and easy. As automation is on the rise, so is NoOps integration. With NoOps developers have more time to focus on other tasks instead of managing infrastructure. Engine Yard is a data-driven, NoOps, PaaS solution for deploying and managing applications on AWS with Engine Yard Kontainers. With their containerization technology, there is no need to have extensive knowledge over infrastructure to deploy and manage your web applications. With GIT push deployment using their powerful CLI, ease of scalability, log aggregation, and containerization without having to change your code, there is no need to worry when you deploy with them. If you are looking for an easy to use, and powerful PaaS solution then Engine Yard is one of the best places to get that.

Happy Coding!

NoOps, Engine Yard, Application Management

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