Many might wonder whether the terms cloud app and web app are interchangeable. The answer is no, although they are related and have quite a number of similarities.
In fact, there is a clear distinction between cloud application vs web application.
In a nutshell, here is the difference, a cloud app is the evolved web app used to access online services over the internet but which is not always dependent on web browsers to work. On the other hand, web applications are crafted from a web browser.
Personally, I believe that a cloud app is simply an evolved web app. Here is why; a cloud app is usually customizable. It is also often a multi-tenancy cloud app to be solely available over the web browser from service providers.
But time and again, a web-interface is used as an alternative access method to the custom build app for web services.
Therefore, when defining web services vs cloud computing, we can say web services are part of cloud computing which is the use of servers that are in different remote locations through an online network.
Here are some of the characteristics of cloud applications:
Data stored in a cloud-like structure
Support for different user requirements. For example, a data backup cloud with different features such as security and data compression.
Data can be cached locally for full-online mode.
Can be used from web browser and custom build apps installed on internet connected devices such as mobile phones.
Used to access a wider range of services such as on-demand computing cycle, applications development platforms and storage.
Common examples of cloud apps include Evernote, DropBox, Netsuite, Mozy and Zoho.com. Other examples are web email such as Google and yahoo. Some may not be obvious but they depend on cloud technology and are available offline.
The web browsers relies on the web server components installed on backend infrastructure systems for the heavy lifting in proving its core functional web services.
Of course the obvious benefit this computing model provides over the traditional desktop app that it is accessible from anywhere via the web browser.
For many, including myself, web services such as WebEx, electronic banking ,online shopping application, and eBay fall into this category inasmuch as they are exclusively web-based with limited options for consumer customization.
Application service providers have been quick to exploit advantages brought about by pioneering web app building framework technologies for great customer reach. In this cloud era, these technologies are not built to fully utilize this newly available services.
Cloud apps are web apps in the sense that they can be used through web browsers but not all web apps are cloud apps. Software vendors often use web apps to sell as cloud apps simply because it’s the latest buzzword technology.
However, web applications do not offer the same when it comes to functionality and customization you’ll get from cloud apps. Some software application vendors often assume that just because their application runs on the web, this automatically qualifies it to be a cloud app.
This is not entirely true. For web app to evolve into a cloud app it should exhibit certain properties such as;
True multi-tenancy to support the various requirements and need for customers. Cloud apps are more evolved and can handle multiple tasks giving the customers good value for money. A cloud application is super effective as compared to the web application.
Support for virtualization technology, which plays a starring role for applications in the cloud era. Web applications should either be built to support this or re-structured to do so.
Assumptions can lead to catastrophic mishaps and thus you should be more careful when choosing a vendor. So, I think we all agree that moving to the cloud app will be the best option.