For the vast majority of people, when they need to do work, what they really need to do are complete tasks. In today’s modern environment, apps are used to perform those tasks in the most efficient way possible. Think of it a bit like using a desktop computer versus using something like an iPad. A desktop computer may allow you to do a million things, but it doesn’t do any one of them particularly effectively. An iPad, however, is filled with apps that all do one thing very specifically and very well. Hosted applications are the same basic concept.
Hosted Applications vs. The Old Way
In an era that is now more or less officially over, a user would get to work and sit down in front of a desktop computer. They would boot up an operating system with a full menu, a file explorer and approximately 1,000 apps that they’ll never use. Sure, there may be four or five apps that they use all the time, but everything else isn’t really necessary.
Under the new model, however, the user doesn’t need a full desktop. They use something like an iOS device, be it an iPhone or an iPad, that is app-based. They’re essentially getting a stripped down desktop designed to optimize their workflow. The underlying file system, the structure, and more are all removed to make room for the apps that people actually use. It’s unnecessary to use a full app that performs dozens of functions “okay” when you can use one app that does one thing with unbeatable efficiency.
Hosted applications are the same basic idea, only they aren’t stored locally at all – they’re hosted in the cloud. A user goes to a website via a service like Office 365 or Google Apps, selects the icon for the function they want to perform and then opens it all from the Web. Nothing is installed locally – the user is just seeing a virtualization of it.
In an enterprise environment, these apps are hosted on servers – either local or cloud-based depending on the situation. This gives users a consistent interface to run the apps they need regardless of the hardware they happen to be using at the moment. You get the same experience with a hosted app that you would from something running locally, and you also the freedom to access it via the internet from a server farm wherever and whenever you want.
This is a huge deal when deploying software to massive infrastructures in particular. Formerly, if you needed 1,000 copies of a program for your employees, you would have to install it on 1,000 different devices. Now, you’re dealing with essentially the opposite situation: you install it once, set up the infrastructure and you’re done. Everything else “just works” – and what a great world to live in this is!
- Hosted apps are stored either in the cloud or on local servers and are accessed via the internet.
- Hosted apps look like they are running locally, but they’re not – they’re running on a server farm somewhere.