PaaS vs MBaaS for Mobile Developers

So you want to create an app…

You read through, learned and practiced how to code an iOS, Android, or HTML5 app. Awesome! Unfortunately, you’ve only scratched the surface of the development that lies ahead.

Beyond perfecting the UI/UX, coming up with innovative new features and building your idea out to the fullest, you’ll inevitably need somewhere to put all the information your users are creating and sharing. After a little more research, you find out you’ll need some servers – or cloud infrastructure – to help you out.

What cloud functionality does my app need?

This will certainly vary from app to app, but we have found that many apps need the following capabilities:

  • Manage and store user information
    • Registration/authentication
    • Account management
    • User profiles
  • Store, retrieve and manage application data
    • Game scores
    • News or social items
    • Pictures, sounds and other files
  • Track user and app behavior

What cloud technology is needed to build this?

Again, this varies on a case-by-case basis, but usually apps will need at least the following to get up and running in the cloud:

  • One or more databases
  • One or more servers
  • Load balancer(s) to handle traffic
  • Server-side code to define logic and handle methods
  • Engineering manpower to handle the workload

This may not seem so bad, but let’s dig into what else is needed…

Building An App’s Backend [the hard way]

  1. Pick a stack (PHP, Rails, Node, SQL, Mongo, etc)
  2. Hire server engineer(s)
  3. Choose a hosting provider (Amazon, Rackspace, etc)
  4. Write the server code, test, iterate, iterate, iterate…
  5. Upload the code to a staging server, test in the environment
  6. Move the code to production environment
  7. Set up load balancers and servers to handle traffic

Spoiler alert: this is no fun. This process also gets extremely expensive and time-consuming, even to spin up a fairly simple backend.


Easing the Pain: PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service)

Over the past few years, some great services have emerged to help ease the pain for developers. Two of my personal favorites are Amazon AWS (specifically Elastic Beanstalk) and Heroku. These services help take away a lot of the hard, time-consuming aspects of spinning up a backend, managing traffic at scale and deploying to various environments.

For mobile developers, there is still something to be desired…

Even though these services help, developers still need to write and re-write server code, test, iterate and know how to handle scaling. The process has gotten easier, but time and money is still being spent to get up and running.


The Missing Piece for Mobile Devs

This is where MBaaS (Mobile-Backend-as-a-Service) comes in. Rather than abstracting server management, services like Kii Cloud help remove the need for developers to have servers altogether. MBaaS does for mobile app developers what Heroku and Amazon did for web services: remove the need for low-level management, reducing workload and cost so you can spend more time focusing on your application.

By taking commonly-used functionality and making it a part of client-side SDKs, Kii Cloud makes it quick and easy to implement features like user registration, authentication, object and file storage, etc. In fact, all of these features come packed into Kii’s native SDKs out-of-the-box as only a few lines of code.

By utilizing an MBaaS service like Kii Cloud, app developers can focus on their users and spend their time and money on the things that matter. Let us handle your cloud, scaling and infrastructure and you keep doing what you do best.

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