We have only begun to scratch the surface of cloud computing’s potential for business, and the next evolution is cloud native applications. Cloud service providers, such as Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Google, and Oracle, lead the way by offering cost-effective cloud native architectures and services so businesses can focus more on building apps that provide better user experiences.
Microsoft’s documentation for its cloud native architecture provides a helpful explanation of the technology. A cloud native application consists of independent building blocks called microservices that can easily integrate into a cloud environment. Each microservice is independent and packaged in a software container.
Cloud native, which is more an approach than a statement on where the application resides, offers flexibility that allows orchestration of changes, like scaling up, adding new features, or implementing continuous improvement, without affecting or needing to change the entire system.
Identifying the need
As the business grows, operations become increasingly complex, and so do the applications that facilitate transactions between the business and customers. What’s more, those applications need to remain flexible so they can evolve to meet rapidly changing needs.
Applications built with a traditional monolithic design often encounter problems when making changes, and that can be risky, time-consuming, and costly. It’s tricky as well. An unstable component could cause an entire system to crash. A traditional data center, for instance, scales up by adding more of the same machines. If the server encounters a problem, it becomes unavailable to users while performing repairs and troubleshooting. When impatient users get frustrated because of downtime, they might move on to competitors.
Finding a solution in cloud native
Taking full advantage of cloud infrastructure enables a business to respond to increasing user demands and solve performance problems with speed, resilience, and agility.
A cloud native app is made up of sets of isolated and self-contained microservices. These microservices are deployed in containers and have their own codes, data, and dependencies. Managed by an orchestrator, a microservice does not require a large relational database. It has its datastore in a distributed cache. Scaling up does not require additional machines. It can be done by creating more systems or microservices with identical processes. All traffic goes to the back-end services through the direction of an API gateway service. If a microservice encounters a problem, it will be unnoticeable to users.
Having its own repository for a single codebase, a microservice packages and isolates dependencies, and it’s deployable independently in multiple environments. It also has an external configuration tool that keeps configuration data out of the service and performs changes outside of the code. Since a microservice is self-contained and developed autonomously, it does not rely on other services to execute its processes. So it can be shut down without affecting the entire system.
Through robust automation, microservices can be quickly deployed with unlimited frequency—or whenever new features and updates to the app are ready for installation. With the use of independent microservices, cloud native not only provides fluidity and agility, but it also spares a business app from the risks of system failure.
Choosing a cloud native infrastructure
Cloud native shortens the time it takes to create an app or a feature of an app, bringing the developers and businesses closer to the user. It provides easy access to cutting-edge cloud technologies, which provides eWeek with confidence to predict that cloud native technology will take over the SaaS world.
Implementing changes to an app is non-intrusive, avoiding a costly disruption of services. As cloud native employs an iterative, agile development process, it is easier to manage. Applications that fit a cloud native approach are those with evolving capabilities and features, requiring speedy releases and updates of individual features while keeping the system running. Or apps that require components that can scale independently from other features.
With cloud services providers such as Amazon, Google, and Azure at the ready, cloud native apps can save on costs rather than spending on building physical infrastructure. The challenge would be finding which cloud native provider offers a more cost-effective infrastructure.
A cloud service offers storage space for data to keep physical infrastructure focused on the computing requirements. It should allow adding more data in separate storage without compromising the computer’s direct-attached storage, which is dedicated to computing. It is easier to optimize computing and data storage when managed separately.
Innovation initiatives result in competitive cloud services and features, such as security, encryption, and compression. Also, there are open-source cloud technologies to take advantage of. Choosing the best that can provide seamless scalability and resilience would not be difficult as the competition in the cloud market increases. Cloud native architecture and services are the next evolution of cloud computing and data centers, and businesses should take note.