Cloud applications have been a game-changer. Sometimes abbreviated to cloud apps, cloud applications refer to software programs which utilize remote data centers, operated by cloud services providers, in order to run. As with other locally managed and operated software, cloud apps can range in content from email applications to word processors to file storage programs to financial accounting operations to games.
The advantage of cloud applications is that they can be accessed from anywhere, just so long as the user has access to an internet connection. Should this criteria be fulfilled, they offer a plethora of advantages — including faster updates and deployment, instant scalability, simplified operation, reduced costs, and more. It’s no exaggeration to say that cloud apps represent the future of software as we know it.
So what’s the catch? With the best examples of cloud applications, there really isn’t one. But that’s not to say that cloud apps are problem free. In a best case scenario, using a cloud app can seem effortless in its ease of use. But mistakes can severely affect performance. Without tools like cloud-based performance testing, operators may be in trouble.
One key issue can involve implementation or optimization errors with the app itself. There’s not just one way to shift apps to the cloud. The most thorough approach, refactoring, means literally rewriting an app for the cloud, totally re-architecting and re-coding so that it fits optimally in the new environment. On the other end of the spectrum, “lift and shift” or rehosting simply shifts your data, assets, and applications from their previous location to a new one — with no change made as part of the migration process. It’s much cheaper and faster than refactoring, but can also mean that your app is not optimized for the cloud in the way that a 100% refactored app would be. There are pros and cons to different migration approaches. But pick the wrong one and a poorly implemented cloud app could suffer impaired performance as a result.
Other app issues could involve problems with data calls, meaning the way the app communicates with a database. Database access is an essential part of cloud applications. Applications rely on data, and require rapid and reliable database access. If this database access is not smooth, and has problems, it can degrade the overall user experience. Database problems can include cache size configuration, bucket size (a larger bucket size means bigger spikes are possible in a queue’s execution rate), and I/O optimization. Another potential cause for poor cloud app performance could be insufficient CPU and storage resources to fulfill your database requirements.
Then there could be problems with networks, the cloud service you’ve chosen to use (if the underlying service your app uses is negatively impacted in some way, this will have knock-on effects for you), server issues, or specific API issues. All of these can have a notable detrimental impact on the user experience of a particular web app.
Figuring out what the problem is is not always a simple problem. Is impacted user experience coming from high network latency or misconfigurations on your part? Is it a problem with your app or a local problem with the user and the specific device they’re choosing to access your service on? However, it’s a question you absolutely have to answer.
Help is at hand
Fortunately, there are tools which can help. Cloud app performance testing can help you to establish how stable and responsive different software applications are — not just under present conditions, but also when facing different workloads. It’s an important tool to have in your arsenal in order to take the guesswork out of cloud app problems.
Given that there are so many potential issues cloud applications can face, it’s no surprise that there are multiple forms that cloud performance testing can take. For example, load testing will test app performance under regular conditions, while stress testing will put it through its paces under extreme scenarios to see how it measures up under pressure.
Browser tests, meanwhile, will measure app performance inside different web browsers, while latency tests check the length of time that it takes for a data packet to be shifted between points on a network. Making sure that you have tested cloud app performance in all of these different ways (and there are others as well) will help reassure you that your app works effectively under different conditions.
It will also highlight all-important areas where your cloud performance can be fixed. Performance testing will aid with spotting bugs or other bottlenecks that you need to remedy in order to provide users with the best possible service. Once you’ve identified the issues faced, you can work on fixing these by seeking out experts who are able to help improve these mission-critical features and apps as effectively as possible.
The cloud landscape is more important than ever. It’s more competitive than ever, too. Ensuring that you offer the best experience possible is essential to survive — and thrive — in the world of modern cloud applications. You owe it to yourself and your customers to do so.