The narrative of smartphone revolution is incomplete without the mention of apps, for the latter is being used today for a variety of purposes. From booking hotel (or plane) tickets to ordering food to even conducting small businesses, mobiles apps are proving their utility day-in and day-out.
You are sure to be using a few apps to perform your daily tasks, but what you may not be aware of is that apps have to be hosted in order for them to be available to you. More explicitly, what an app hosting service does is make the app available from a remote cloud infrastructure that is accessed through the internet.
App hosting basically provides an operational platform for virtually any type of software application. Content management applications, web development applications, database applications and email management applications are a few common examples that may be hosted via the internet.
Mobile apps come with many advantages, for instance, no vendor installation or upgrades, risk-free, no long-term commitment, backups, and viruses are taken care of, no need to maintain hardware and software, no need for data to be synchronized with multiple devices, and global access.
If you want your app to be hosted when you are low on budget, here is what you should do:
1- Customize your storage requirements
The storage part of your app can be a costly affair, so you need to incorporate a just-in-time approach. The following considerations could be helpful for you in this regard:
- Figure out how much storage you are going to need for 3-5 years
- Break your app storage requirement into SAN (storage area network) and NAS (network attached storage).
- Work out how much additional space is needed each year
- How many business continuance volumes (BCV) and what size are needed?
- How will you archive data over time
2- Platforms to be hosted
It is important at the beginning to figure out how many platforms and environments you are going to host, and what type? Before the deployment of your app, staging, training, testing, production, and development are just a few of the environments you may need to host.
More importantly, each platform has different requirements in terms of support, availability, and access. What you need to do then is evaluate the use and flow of data within and between these environments to precisely determine the requirements for each. Whether you need to host a multi-tiered app from scratch or a static one, the infrastructure should be scalable and globally available.
3- Backup services and disaster recovery
Any software application needs a backup; so as far as your app is concerned, you need to define what is expected to be backed up, and how often. Once you assess that, you need to include data files, databases, and BCVs. Don’t forget to determine how quickly you expect a file to be restored. What’s possibly going to happen when there is a disaster and the data center is not responding? Do you have a continuity of operations plan?
4- Monitoring and reporting
Whether it is web hosting or app hosting, key performance indicators (KPIs) are needed to be factored in. For example, understanding roles and responsibilities that are regulated by service level agreements (SLAs) and service level objectives (SLOs).
The KPIs should show what is important to you. What elements are to be monitored, and what is the interval and threshold of monitoring? You have to be clear on specific application components that are to be monitored. Finally, how is your app application service planning the structuring and provision of reports?
5- Easy integration
Since the app software will be stored on the hosting server, the data is available to the authorized users once they are logged in; but the hosting should provide an integrated solution to any system, especially to your backend applications such as CRM or ERP systems.
For example, when you select hosting for your FileMaker database, you choose to minimize changes to your back-end infrastructure. As far as communicating with a mobile app is concerned, the first step is to synchronize the data between accounting, invoicing, CRM e-mail, e-commerce, and other apps; thereby saving your time and money.
6- Operational tasks
When it comes to operational tasks, installation, configuration, tuning and database support should be defined beforehand as specifically as possible. If this is not precisely determined, your app hosting service should agree on a specific number of support hours each week/month/year that can be used according to the need. Make sure which processes to be followed for each of the operational tasks.
You need to ensure your deployment operation goes as intended because it is highly critical for going live successfully.Define what types of tests to be performed and who is to perform them as part of the hosting requirements.
Contracts should not be overlooked because they tell you more than what goods and services are delivered, and how much they cost. They also give you a fair idea as to how different organizations interface with each other. It is always a profitable proposition to the draft of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the owner of the application (in this case you), the developer organization and the group that hosts the application. Such an approach prevents misunderstandings and provides a framework for dispute resolution and continuous improvement.
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