Babel Buster Network Gateways: Big Features. Small Price.
Web Application into the Cloud Architecture
“We are getting data from the cloud”.
Nirosha Munasinghe MBusIT BSc BE (Hons) (Melb)
Product Development Manager,
are getting data from the
cloud”. This has become the buzz sentence in the
communication and technology (ICT) industry over the past few years.
How valid is this sentence? For many, if data is accessed via a web
browser, it’s assumed the data is extracted from the cloud. In broad
terms it is valid. But in a technical point of view all data accessed
via a web browser is not from the true cloud computing architecture. The
common mistake for the everyday player in the industry is the assumption
that if you have a web application, you have cloud computing
architecture. Of course web application and cloud computing are
highly correlated components, but the definitions must be differentiated
to better understand cloud computing. This article examines the
differences and correlations between web application and cloud
A web application is a software
application that is accessed over a
network hosted on a server. The application is coded in a browser
supported language and web browsers render the application.
Google applications such as Google Earth and Gmail are a common example
of a web application. Cloud computing is the computer resource
providing utility for computing. A component of computing is the web
application. Therefore a web application is a subset of the cloud
architecture. Cloud computing is lending a service as per user
requirements and the web application is the platform on which the service
is being used. The same single web application can service in multiple
servers in different geographical regions accessed by different
audiences. For example in a typical building management system, a web
application can be served at the building site and for each building
site there is a server hosting the web application. This is an example
of a web application but not the cloud computing architecture.
As depicted in figure 1, typical web
application architecture consists
of a web server Eg. ISS or Apache, logic layer executing the requests
in the desired manner and backend database. The architecture normally
resides on a physical server.
How do we transform the web
application into cloud architecture?
Typically the web application requires a middleware to transform into
true cloud architecture. From the previous example, instead of
hosting multiple web application of the BMS in each building site, in a
cloud computing environment the web application is hosted away from the
building site. The users of each building access the BMS data from the
cloud architecture. Therefore we have moved from multiple independent
web applications serving each building independently to a single
web application serving multiple buildings away from the building
site. What is the implication? Increase in data traffic.
The increase in traffic is one of the primary reasons for a web
application requiring middleware to move into cloud architecture.
The middleware typically performs load balancing to manage the traffic
from the multiple buildings.
Load balancing involves distributing
the workload across multiple servers,
network links, CPU, disk drives and databases to achieve optimal
resource utilization, maximize throughput, minimize response time and
avoid overload. Along with the extra hardware resource, load balancing
requires software executing an algorithm on the middleware to
perform load balancing.
As seen from figure 3 the cloud
architecture consists of multiple
resources interacting with each other away from the premises to deliver
application. The end user does not require IT infrastructure reducing
barriers entry. It allows the user to spend resources on
achieving business goals without needing to exhaust overheads on IT
infrastructure and support.
It is clear that every web
application does not support cloud computing
architecture. The web application needs to be transformed with
middleware, such as load balancers, to be a true cloud. The cloud buzz
words and sentences will continue to grow over the next few years.
Decision makers need to understand the true underlying technology for
businesses to benefit from the cloud
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