As we move further from traditional to cloud software development, some would say that traditional software development is outdated and that cloud is the way of the future. This statement is debatable, and while the cloud surely is faster and more agile, it does not mean that traditional software development is completely irrelevant or useless. Both approaches offer some pros and cons, and today, we are going to see what those pros and cons are so that you can make a choice in favor of a model that suits your project better. Comparing cloud computing vs software engineering is not just about telling which one is better, it is more in the line of finding out which one suits a particular project since every project is unique.
What is the Difference?
So, cloud computing, as you can tell by the name, is a combination of configurable systems and development services that can be developed and quickly delivered via the Internet. Traditional computing, on the other hand, is a process of developing software using physical data storage of digital assets for the daily functioning of the system. Basically, in traditional computing, the use of software or stored data is limited to the device or network that contains the software or data.
Cloud computing has become a kind of a buzzword these days, a trend in software development that offers a faster, more proactive, and versatile approach that brings a long-due change in the process of developing software applications. Though organizations seem to shift from traditional development methodologies to cloud-driven processes, there’s still a place for traditional software.
Cloud development and cloud-native development are the two terms often used interchangeably to describe the process of writing code on the device directly connected to the cloud environment. The code is transferred seamlessly to the cloud environment where it can be tested and improved upon by other developers. This makes the development process much more flexible and also allows for more flexible applications in the end.
Cloud app development has its advantages that has made it popular accross software developers and customers.
The nature of native cloud application development allows you to facilitate DevOps by letting a number of developers, tools, and processes collaborate closely to get the desired outcome. This fosters a smoother transition from coding to transferring the ready code into the finished product. Basically, all of your code is stored in one place, which means that almost all of the collaborators can do their job simultaneously.
Easy to Support
When talking about on premise software vs cloud software, we cannot omit the obvious fact – whenever you need updates to your traditional application, the whole thing goes offline for the period of time needed to implement the changes. More so, in case anything goes wrong within your system, the cloud offers automated backups to the previous version giving you time to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. Supporting the cloud infrastructure is much easier, it allows more flexibility and lets you keep your infrastructure up at all times.
Cloud computing gives you much more storage space and computing power to get your app going faster and smoother. The cloud quickly analyzes and reflects all the user interactions with the app without delays. Of course, this requires a stable Internet connection, and thanks to the latest network interface switches, cards, and multi-Gbps circuits to the Internet exchange points, the connection is usually really smooth. This allows for faster access to data both for the users and within the data centers.
Greater Scale and Better Experience
The purpose of cloud based software vs on-premise software is to expand its scale not being limited by physical storage. This allows you to expand the capabilities of your software almost indefinitely, add new features, and store large amounts of data while maintaining stable and continuous performance. This translates into a much better experience for your users.
Cloud software development has a set of disadvantages despite its popularity.
The cloud solutions are run by security policies that are split between the provider and the users. It does not mean that the users can access your sensitive data straight away but it surely puts your assets at risk as malicious attacks are always possible. Flaws in your security protocols can grant your users access to information that is not intended for their use, which is why you need to pay much more attention to protecting your sensitive data.
You might have a problem with limited control over your cloud environment because of the choices made by the provider. The cloud configurations are set by the provider, and unfortunately, these configurations might not always meet your needs.
Using the physical storage of data and developing your software within a closed environment has its advantages, so when comparing software developed using cloud vs installed software, it is about which one suits you and your organization. If your goal is to deliver services within the local server, this might just be the right approach for you.
Traditional software is being used for smaller networks that require more security. Of course, it is not always the case but it also offers a well-structured development process that is more comprehensive and robust than that offered by cloud services.
When you opt for traditional software development, you probably have a specific goal in mind, which is why this approach can be used to create an application that serves a precise purpose within a local environment. The software or application is located on a physical hard drive or a website server, so your clients will specifically access your application and use it to access data or services sorted out within the physical server.
When discussing the advantages of cloud computing vs software as a service in a traditional sense, we’ve mentioned that cloud development allows many participants to contribute to the development process. While this surely cuts the development timeline, it also can create quite a mess of a development process. Traditional development, in contrast, is more sequential and robust. It makes sticking to the development plan much easier, which makes managing the project much more comprehensive and convenient.
The traditional projects may vary in size and complexity, which is why the vendors focus heavily on defining all the aspects of the project before they start working on it. This requires a great deal of attention and client’s involvement. With that, the project managers can truly put the customer’s interests at the forefront and let the client oversee the progress. The client is being informed of all the aspects of the development process, can give their feedback, and prioritize demands to make the whole process go according to the business needs. In case you, as the client, have a really specific set of requirements, traditional software development might be a preferable option for you.
Each project has some risks in it, but with the inherent stability and security of the traditional development methodologies, most of the risks can be mitigated. With this approach, your data cannot be accessed and compromised without directly accessing the devices on which the data is stored, so it is less likely to fall victim to hackers.
If your goal is to deliver a solution to a large number of users and you are going to have to support and update that solution over a long period of time, making your customers download and install those updates on a regular basis might be a rather tiresome experience for them. It also means that different users might use different versions of the software as some would not install updates and run with the older versions.
Slower Development Process
Even if you are pretty precise with your requirements, you are going to see that in comparing the speed of cloud computing vs software development, the latter would offer a much slower software development speed. Of course, if you have the time, it surely is a viable option but cloud computing offers greater speed.
Lack of Innovation
Well, yes, let’s admit it, the traditional software development model leaves little to no room for innovation. It’s been done over and over, and you cannot really reinvent the wheel here. Yes, it gets the job done, but if you want to create something new and unprecedented, it might not be your best call.
Lack of Flexibility
Once the job is done it is set in stone. It is hard to change, adapt, or update the software that is being stored on a number of devices. It will take tremendous effort and time to make the necessary changes and improve the functioning of that software, which is the difference between traditional and cloud development.
Which One to Choose?
Selecting the right methodology for developing your software is going to influence your overall success with the project. Nowadays, it is important for businesses to be agile, and cloud development gives you that agility. It does not make it the only option though. If you are dealing with a small-size project and your requirements are precise and clear, though, the traditional approach might be the way to go. Software as a service market is changing and cloud development has become a predominant approach in it. Yes, it is good and it does offer some incredible benefits to the businesses but it does not mean the traditional approach has nothing more to offer. So, you should choose based on the scale of your project, its complexity, and your unique requirements.