What is cloud-native? The new way to develop software application
The term “cloud-native computing” has become a catch-all word for the numerous tools and methodologies that software developers must use to build, deploy, and maintain modern software applications on cloud infrastructure. We define the word, take a look at the cloud-native environment, and discuss some of the benefits and drawbacks of turning cloud-native.
Cloud-native is a new way to developing and running software applications that takes use of cloud computing’s flexibility, scalability, and resilience. Cloud-native refers to the many tools and methodologies used by software developers today to create applications for the public cloud, as opposed to traditional data center infrastructures.
A set of firms known as “born in the cloud” pioneered the cloud-native approach to designing and running software, including streaming giants Netflix and Spotify, ride-hailing startup Uber, and accommodation booking site Airbnb. Other firms searching for similar digital agility and disruptive competitive advantage have since adopted the cloud-native approach.
The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) focuses on application containerization, which involves breaking down programs into micro-services and packaging them in lightweight containers that can be deployed and controlled across a range of hosts.
“Cloud-native technologies enable enterprises to design and deploy scalable applications in modern, dynamic settings including public, private, and hybrid clouds,” according to the CNCF. Micro-services, cloud platforms, containers, Kubernetes, immutable infrastructure, declarative APIs, and continuous delivery technology like devops and agile methodology are commonly used in cloud-native app development.
A new ecosystem of primarily open source tools has emerged as a result of this transition in popular software development methodologies. This ecology is depicted in an interactive graphic maintained by the CNCF.
The application development and definition layer.
There are four layers to cloud-native computing that are important to understand:
The application development and definition layer
The tools used by developers to build applications, like as databases, messaging systems, container images, and continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines, are all part of the top layer of the cloud-native stack.
The provisioning layer
The cloud-native stack’s provisioning layer covers everything needed to create and protect the environment in which an application will run, ideally in a repeatable manner. Treating infrastructure like code, storing images in a repository, automating builds, and handling application security concerns with vulnerability screening, key and policy management and authentication are all common practices in the cloud-native environment.
The runtime layer
The runtime layer is responsible for everything related to the operation of a cloud-native application, including the container runtime (which is still mostly Docker), storage, and networking.
The orchestration and management layer
The orchestration and management layer includes orchestration and scheduling, as well as the tools needed to deploy, manage, and scale containerized applications. Kubernetes, as well as service discovery, service proxy, API gateway, and service mesh, are commonly used.
Outside of these levels, observability practices must be implemented to ensure that all of these services are adequately monitored. To make developer adoption easier, several companies combine their stack into a self-service internal developer platform or acquire an opinionated platform as a service (PaaS) from a vendor.
The benefits of cloud-native over on-premises architectures
Traditional corporate apps, which are often run in an on-premises data center, require a significantly different design than cloud-native applications. Here are some important distinctions and benefits of cloud-native apps versus traditional app development techniques.
On-premises programs are typically updated once or twice a year using a waterfall technique, whereas cloud-native apps are meant to be highly available, resilient, and routinely updatable. The updatability of cloud-native computing boosts development teams’ productivity, allowing them to focus on their competitive edge and provide new features to clients more frequently than before
Cloud-native applications often take use of the cloud’s elasticity by adjusting usage based on demand, whereas on-premises applications would require the actual supply of additional hardware in order to grow successfully. This has financial ramifications as well, because the cloud allows you to pay for what you use rather than overprovisioning your own infrastructure, at least in theory.
In a multitenant architecture, a cloud-native app has no trouble running in a virtualized environment and sharing resources with other apps. Development teams will see a significant increase in efficiency as a result of this.
Due to the scale and geographical spread of data centers maintained by hyper-scale cloud suppliers, the cloud provides higher redundancy, allowing outages to be better managed by swiftly routing traffic to another location and avoiding costly downtime.
Engineers can build once and move on to other more pressing challenges using cloud-native techniques.
Cloud-native apps are typically stateless, meaning they don’t save data from one session to the next. This paradigm allows you to quickly scale over numerous servers, cache more efficiently for improved performance, utilize less storage, and prevent vendor lock-in by not being tied to a single server.
It’s a typical mistake to try to lift and shift an existing on-premises program to be cloud-native without facing architectural problems, but re-architecting something for the cloud is a substantial engineering task in and of itself.
Finding the proper skill set to do so, transitioning to a cloud-centric security paradigm, and managing the shifting cost profile of a cloud environment are all major obstacles for companies trying to go cloud-native.
Still, developers should consider adopting cloud-native as an organizational paradigm, either by creating new cloud-native applications or by breaking down current monolithic programs into micro-services to make them more cloud-friendly.
This would necessitate a considerable shift in thinking from typical waterfall deployments to more agile development approaches such as minimal viable product (MVP) development, automation, multivariate testing, fast iteration, observability, and devops collaboration with the operations team.
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