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Move Your Web App to Platform as a Service in Azure

If your business has been considering deploying a web application, or if you already have, it’s important that you take time to consider the benefits of the PaaS (Platform as a Service) that Azure offers for hosted applications.

Whether your web applications were created to serve your customers or your own users across teams, re-platforming them to Azure can dramatically improve the services you’re providing through these apps. It can also cut your costs.

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What Are Web Applications?

To put it simply, a web application is a web-based app. In other words, it’s an application using the power of the internet to accomplish something or, more specifically, to help its users accomplish something.

Google Analytics is a popular example of a web application that helps users analyse marketing campaigns and their results. Slack is another popular example, keeping coworkers connected with each other as they easily communicate across teams.

Ultimately, web applications come in many shapes and sizes. Most businesses use third-party web applications every single day, but localised and company-specific web applications can be just as beneficial if not even more critical to business processes.

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Why Are Custom Web Applications Important?

There are countless benefits of running a custom web application as your business.

First and foremost, the increased efficiency they can provide is second-to-none. With a custom web application, you can help your workers get things done extremely quickly and effortlessly, increasing productivity.

Another perk is the 24/7 accessibility that web applications specifically are able to offer. Web-based apps are praised for their flexibility, reliability, and easy access around the clock.

A custom web application will also be able to offer benefits like higher security and easy customisation alongside scalability. These are all benefits that your business will be able to take full advantage of so long as your web application is being hosted on the right platform.

Consider Moving to Azure

If you are running a web application with a web server front-end and a database server back-end, have you thought about re-platforming it to Azure?

Most likely, your company has one or more web servers and one or more database servers. You might have these in-house or at a hosting facility, and you can re-platform this same set up to a set of virtual machines in Azure (IaaS).

The benefits of that include improved resilience, flexibility, and reduced cost. You could also go a step further and look at the Platform as a Service (PaaS) option in Azure to run your web application(s).

If the web tier of your application is stateless, which means user sessions aren’t dependent on data from a previous session, you can also scale the tier horizontally.

That means deploying more identical instances that are running this application, providing enhanced resilience and easy scalability. Auto-scaling will also enable you to scale in and out with demand, which makes it cost effective at all times.

Azure is able to provide all of this for your company.

Ready To Re-Platform?

Some of the many benefits of PaaS over IaaS include there being much less management overhead. For instance, there are no servers to patch and no backups to deal with. You’ll also see more scalability and more affordable resilience.

It all starts with choosing an App Service Plan. This plan determines the number of computing resources an instance gets that runs your application. The next step is deploying your web application code to this. Think of the instance as a virtual server that you don’t have to manage.

Later on, you might even decide that you want to scale out and have 3 instances running your code. To make changes, all you have to do is change the slider in the Azure portal from 1 to 3 and Azure will automatically create the other two instances and deploy your code to them. The inbuilt load balancer will distribute requests across all 3.

Similarly, you can scale back in (from 3 instances to 2 instances, for example), and you can also scale up or down by changing the App Service Plan. In other words, you can change the number of computing resources that 1 instance gets up or down. That means you can make the “virtual server” (which you don’t have to manage) bigger or smaller.

If you have a very variable workload, then you can also use auto-scaling to scale the number of instances in or out with demand. Note that all of the above changes (scaling in / out / up or down) are transparent with no downtime or service interruption to your users or customers.

Next, the back-end of your web-application must be considered. This is the database tier. If you are using an SQL Server and haven’t implemented resilience (which is complex and expensive to do with the traditional server set up) but would like high availability for your databases, then Azure SQL Database is an excellent solution.

This is another PaaS offering where Azure provides just the database(s) that you want and there is no server for you to manage. Under the covers, this service is built using Database Availability Groups and the databases that you provision have High Availability built in. You also get point-in-time restore and backups built in too.

If you have many databases, the Azure SQL Database Elastic Pools will be helpful. Say you had 100 databases, then you can put them all in an elastic pool and give the pool a set amount of resources. Azure will allocate these resources to the various databases as needed and constantly adjust this as demands change.

This allows you to deliver a consistent service cost-effectively and without having to manage it.

So, if you adopt these PaaS offerings for the web tier (Azure Web Apps) and for the database tier (Azure SQL Database) of your web application(s), you will see:

  • Improved scalability
  • Improved resilience
  • Reduced management overhead
  • Reduced costs

Contact us for a free call with one of our Azure Architects to discuss what gains you might make by re-platforming your web applications to Azure.

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