Cloud computing is becoming increasingly important and popular, partly due to the emergence of hybrid working. When developing new applications and services, software suppliers nowadays increasingly look at the cloud and tend to develop fewer on-premises solutions.
A growing number of applications and services are not only suitable for the cloud, but even cloud native. You may have seen or heard that term before, but maybe you’re not yet sure what it exactly means. This article explains what cloud native is and why this technology has a bright future.
WHAT IS CLOUD NATIVE?
The term cloud native primarily refers to the way you build and host applications. Cloud-native applications are designed for use in the cloud and not intended to be hosted in an on-premises data center. They make optimal use of the service model that is the cloud and are composed of scalable elements.
The Cloud Native Computing Foundation defines cloud native in the following way: “Cloud-native technologies enable organizations to build and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments such as public, private and hybrid clouds. Containers, service meshes, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative APIs are examples of this approach.”
Think of cloud native as a philosophy for software design and management with an emphasis on use for and in the cloud from the outset. Cloud-natively developed applications consist of multiple services that are ‘loosely’ linked to each other, making it easier to scale them or roll out new versions of an application.
Quintessential cloud-native technologies and practices are:
- Containers and Kubernetes orchestration. Containers are compact alternatives to VMs. The Kubernetes orchestration platform allows you to scale and manage containers.
- Microservices. These are separate software components that you put together to build an application. As a result, developers do not have to reinvent the wheel every time, while applications become flexible and easily expandable.
- Infrastructure as code (IaC). You define and manage your infrastructure through code. This improves scalability and makes it easier to track changes in the code.
- DevOps. This is a philosophy based on a close relationship between development teams and IT operations when developing and managing applications. Within this framework, continuous collaboration and feedback takes place between the different teams in the coding, building, testing, development, and release phases.
- As a Service. Buying IT solutions as a service. You do not own the solution, but pay for it as long as you use it. The advantage? No high purchase costs and high scalability. Well-known examples are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Container-as-a-Service (Caas), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).
WHEN TO USE CLOUD-NATIVE TECHNOLOGY?
Cloud-native technology can be used to develop a wide range of applications. The great thing about it is that solutions are usually not tied to a specific operating system or server. This makes it easy to add new functionalities at a later stage, which you then link to other solutions with APIs. Cloud-native technology can be used for any type of hosting: you use the technology to develop applications as well as infrastructure components that can be used in public and private clouds, but also hybrid cloud environments and multi-clouds.
THE 5 BIGGEST BENEFITS OF CLOUD NATIVE
Using cloud native provides your organization with various benefits. Let’s take a look at the most important ones.
RESPONDING BETTER AND FASTER TO CHANGES
Change is pretty much the only constant in a time when technological innovations are moving at a rapid pace and market needs often change on the fly. Cloud native allows you to respond faster and more flexibly to changes. Does an application temporarily have to handle a much higher demand? Cloud native gives you the opportunity to quickly and easily request more computing power. If demand decreases, scaling down is just as easy. With applications that run on-premises, this is much more difficult. The reason? You are tied to the underlying hardware.
Cloud-native applications have the ability to change with the needs of the business, without creating dependencies that keep users locked into a particular version of the software. Cloud native also allows you to take full advantage of new and valuable technologies such as AI, machine learning and IoT. They offer extensive options for preparing predictive analyses, analyzing large data sets, and personalizing your services. Investing in cloud native means investing in future-proof technology!
Cloud native technology allows you to develop applications much faster. The lead time between the different phases of the development process decreases, which means that you significantly shorten the time-to-market of an application. This not only saves costs and manpower, but also ensures that you use the cloud as a means of business growth. From now on, quickly responding to the latest customer needs by designing and building the right applications becomes a lot easier.
Cloud native allows you to automate many IT operations. This increases development speed, but also reduces the number of (human) errors. Live upgrades and patches reduce downtime and make the work of developers and other IT professionals in your organization a lot easier.
MORE STABILITY AND SAFETY
The better distribution of workloads gives you stable and predictable performance during peak periods. Because you do not have to adjust the entire application, but only certain parts or functionalities in the event of a bug, you can reduce security risks.
POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN ADOPTING CLOUD-NATIVE TECHNOLOGY
It’s pretty clear that cloud native has what it takes to help you utilize the full potential of the cloud. However, there are a few things you should pay attention to before going cloud native. Let’s take a look at the most important things to consider.
- Take a good look at the options available to transfer existing apps that run on-premises to the cloud. This is not always possible, for example because the architecture is not suitable for a cloud-native deployment. If this is the case, cloud-native implementation and adoption can quickly become a costly affair.
- Design a clear roadmap and plan for adopting cloud native. What would you like to achieve with cloud-native technology? What business processes and goals should cloud native support? And how do you ensure that employees learn to work quickly and well with cloud-native applications and tools? Without a good overview, it can become a chaotic and expensive undertaking.
- Choose an IT partner with sufficient cloud-native expertise. For example, inquire about the projects the company has already carried out in this area. Also take a good look at what an IT company has to offer in terms of the right cloud architecture, but also whether it is independent and has the flexibility and freedom to fall back on solutions and tools from different cloud providers (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform).
With over a hundred certified cloud-native experts, SUE has the knowledge and experience needed to guide you through the exciting and promising world of cloud native. We are happy to help you with cloud migration and transformation, containerization, Infra-as-Code, DevOps, CI/CD, and cloud native security. We do this at different levels and in various capacities. Projects, consultancy and managed services are all part of our service portfolio.