By Carlos Chang-Oracle on Apr 20, 2015
By Ian Wallis, Moble Technical Director, Oracle EMEA
IT organizations are reporting that their traditional three tier architectures are straining to support the needs of mobile users both for customers and employees. And why is this you ask? Well I believe there are many factors causing mobile to stretch and stress traditional IT, a few are listed below:
- Change – the rate of change in mobile is high with a continuous stream of new devices, features, form factors, operating systems and updates.
- Innovation – mobile devices can do unique activities such as measure, hear, smell, respond to movement, touch and gesture and many more
- Connection –the need to handle less reliable connections such as 3G, Edge, GPRS and public WIFI networks
- Personalisation – mobile devices are personal and apps need the right info at the right place at the right time to avoid being highly intrusive
- Communication – a trend towards smart endpoints and simple messaging rather than centralized systems and orchestration models
- Speed of continuous delivery – with the move to Agile development and DevOps, picking the right tool and technology for the job is crucial to be able to work quickly and effectively
- Processing and battery life - mobile applications work best with simple REST based services rather than more heavy weight XML Web Services which are processor intensive
- Scale – successful mobile apps can scale very quickly to a global audience of billions of smartphone users
- Security – a completely new security model with different operating systems and devices, as well as controlling access to data and systems
This struggle has heralded the emergence of new IT delivery models to address the need for scalable mobile services. Services that can support a fragmented set of web and enterprise systems and technologies. Services that can be mashed up to form great mobile apps. One new category of technology is Mobile Backend as a Service (mBaaS). Not an ideal name, as an analyst recently pointed out at an event in Stockholm, asking: “Mobile Backend as a Service, is that even legal?”
Personally I prefer the term Mobile Cloud Services, which combines cloud and service integration with mobile-specific services such as offline functionality, data synchronization, push notifications, location and many others. These Services typically are built with cloud and mobile first in mind, and they leverage node.js infrastructure to provide mobile friendly services sometimes referred to as micro services or micro APIs.
Mobile Cloud Services need to cater for the diverse set of personas involved in developing mobile applications. New roles like Mobile Experience Designer, Producer, Mobile App Developer, Micro Service Developer, Data Scientist and DevOps Engineer have emerged, and these roles need to collaborate, working in parallel rather than sequentially. This includes the ability to create re-usable libraries of mobile services to fast track app development.
Over time I predict that the capabilities supported by Mobile Cloud Services expanding to include a range of devices an "things" that are well beyond our current understanding of mobile.
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