Backend-As-A-Service: Pros And Cons

January 12, 2015 662 Views
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Backend-As-A-Service: Pros And Cons

Any website or complex mobile app requires backend, the 'invisible' side of software that contains logic and databases. While many startups and other businesses use custom-built solutions, fully created and integrated by their software development teams, others choose a popular alternative - backend-as-a-service. It provides your team with a pre-built backend API, so that your developers conduct data modeling of your business logic and specify it in BaaS.


Like any solution, it has advantages and limitations that can help decide whether it's going to work in your particular case. There are some general pros and cons that you should know.


Pros:


  • The BaaS market is constantly growing. It's trendy. As it reaches new heights of popularity, its technological sophistication and flexibility of options will grow as well; yet it will mostly concern well-established providers with big marketshare.

  • You save weeks and months of backend development. It takes quite a lot of time, and does it quite monotonously for developers. If compared, a BaaS solution will be simply 'plugged in'. Though it's not a momentary job either, it will obviously help you roll out the product faster.

  • With a fast solution quickly provided, you can concentrate efforts on the front-end and user experience matters.

  • An off-the-shelf BaaS package can be a good solution if you expect your startup to be relatively short-lived on the market - for example, up to 2 years, which is common for mobile games.

  • You don't have to take care of hosting and maintenance. You pay your vendor for a product that works. The same goes for scaling - however, you will be charged for that additionally.


Cons:


  • You have less control over the infrastructure. Only the features and data are under your control.

  • Although a suitable BaaS package can be rather cheap from the beginning, it can be that your project requires simple backend that in the long run becomes cheaper if custom-built within a short amount of time. Details are a matter of calculations.

  • Minor adjustments are impossible with third-party backend. You can't increase performance or reduce response time with server optimization. In most cases you select a BaaS package.

  • If you select a smaller vendor, there is always a risk they will go out of business.

  • The logic of your software might be too complex for standard BaaS solutions. For example, these may be real-time apps that involve complex or delayed calculations. If your vendor doesn't have enough powers, and the BaaS is deployed on a single cloud platform, loading time may drag for your users from other corners of the earth.

  • If security is the cornerstone of your software, BaaS is not the best solution. Whether it's all about secure communication using such cryptographic protocols as Off-The-Record Messaging, or transferring confidential commercial and financial information, your channels should run through custom backend that's fully yours.


Even if you consider BaaS a good option for you, take time to address a software development company for a qualified technical advice. The financial side depends on the pricing system of your BaaS vendor and your strategy and budget. The vast majority of your users will not care where your backend is stored, unless they are overcautious about security issues. They'll appreciate their user experience in the first place. In case you have any particular questions, contact us and we'll be glad to help you.

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