Cloud-native application strategies deliver business and technology benefits
The technology talent an organisation needs to be a digital leader will expect your organisation to be cloud-native. Developers are, in essence, as cloud-native as the microservices and APIs they deploy. To attract or retain this valuable skill set, organisations will need to develop the infrastructure and architecture to be a cloud-native digital business. Cloud-native is about more than talent; there are clear customer, business and technology benefits that organisations can realise from a cloud-native strategy.
What is Cloud Native Meaning?
Being cloud native means the applications an organisation uses are developed in the cloud, deployed on the cloud and take full advantage of all cloud computing elements. Just as we are all natives of a community, whether that be where we live or work and draw personal benefits from being native, so too cloud-native applications gain similar benefits.
In the past, an application often acted as a bridge, connecting legacy systems with a web-based front-end. The result often led to a disappointing experience for the customer or end-user. Cloud-native is embedded in the cloud, reducing business and technology complexity and increasing speed and reliability. Developers, too, typically want to be deploying technology that delight the customer, reduce technology and business overheads, and are not burdened with the potential for reliability issues that comes from integrating with legacy systems. Hence the talent an organisation requires expects you to be a cloud-native business.
What is a cloud-native strategy?
A cloud native strategy is an approach to design and deploy applications in the environments of a cloud. It leverages many modern technologies like containers and orchestrators to ensure the agility, scalability, and resilience of software systems. The focus of a cloud-native strategy is on developing applications that are born in the cloud with an inherent understanding of the distributed nature of these environments. This approach emphasizes automation and infrastructure-as-code principles for rapid deployment cycles. Additionally, it prioritizes high availability through fault-tolerance design patterns that enable self-healing capabilities within an application’s architecture. In summary, embracing a cloud-native strategy allows organizations to take full advantage of the benefits offered by public or private clouds while delivering software services quickly and reliably at scale.
Cloud-native vs cloud-based
When we talk about cloud computing, there are two terms that people often confuse: “cloud native” and “cloud-based”. While both involve the use of cloud technology, they refer to different approaches. Cloud-native refers to applications or services that have been specifically designed for and deployed on a cloud infrastructure. These applications are built using microservices architecture and containerization technologies like Kubernetes or Docker which allows them to be easily scaled up or down as needed. On the other hand, cloud-based generally refers to any application that can be accessed through the internet from a remote server hosted in a data centre. Although these applications might leverage some of the benefits of cloud computing like scalability, reliability and cost-effectiveness, they’re not necessarily optimized for operating in this environment.
The main difference between these two is that while everything about a cloud-native application is tailored around leveraging all advantages provided by modern-day clouds – such as elasticity, scalability fault tolerance etc., most Cloud-based systems were initially developed for deployment either on-premise or within traditional hosting environments.
So when making choices about deploying your applications whether you go with a Cloud Native approach versus just being Cloud-Based will depend upon your specific needs including factors such as security requirements (data protection laws & regulations), performance expectations (low latency vs high throughput) customization/ integration flexibility & vendor lock-in concerns amongst others. To summarize, both options give great advantages over legacy hosting platforms but selecting between both in terms of your company’s individual goals depends mainly on the level of collaboration that you may need with the third party.
What is cloud-native architecture?
Cloud-native architecture refers to a design approach that leverages the power of modern cloud computing environments to build and deploy scalable, reliable, and resilient applications. The word “native,” here means the architecture is specially designed for the cloud environment. It is not simply adapted from traditional on-premises infrastructure.
Cloud-native applications are typically built using containerization technologies like Docker or Kubernetes, which allow them to be easily deployed across multiple cloud platforms without modification. This enables developers to take advantage of advanced features like auto-scaling, self-healing, and fault tolerance without having to worry about managing underlying infrastructure components themselves. Additionally, cloud-native architectures embrace principles such as microservices and continuous delivery, enabling faster iteration cycles and more efficient resource utilization overall.
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Cloud Native Technology Examples
Cloud-native methods have been pioneered by the pure-play web businesses that have dominated the digital revolution. But government departments, banks, retailers and even healthcare organisations are moving to cloud-native methods to provide their customers and citizens with the same levels of personalised service that Netflix and Amazon customers have come to expect.
Development cycles of cloud-native applications are exponentially faster, use higher levels of automation, and seamlessly work with distributed services. Together these enable Netflix and Amazon to curate a bespoke service to each customer or viewer in the household. Government and banking organisations are taking the same route to segment their audiences and deliver the services modern customers and citizens demand. For other organisations, the same concept applies to machines or infrastructure, enabling event-based maintenance or services.
The digitisation of markets has led to customers expecting a plethora of services. For banks or insurance firms, for example, this can include a number of brands offering similar services and often resulting in a technology estate that is overly complex as each brand has its own technology platform. This results in costly operations, delays in deployments and the organisation ‘hand cranking’ new code to deploy a new module for a marketing campaign or change in regulations.
A cloud-native platform will support a multitude of flavours and enable an organisation to deploy a change once, safe in the knowledge that each brand in their estate is updated and at a minimal cost. Amazon and Netflix for example – despite their size – could not muster the resources to deploy a code change across every geography or customer type.
Once the code is deployed, cloud-native applications provide scalability so they can handle large workloads. So if a marketing campaign is highly successful and results in a surge of activity on the web services, a cloud-native organisation will not suffer embarrassing outages.
With the increased scalability also comes greater flexibility for the business. In the early days of cloud computing, business and technology leaders were, rightly concerned about being locked into a particular vendor. Modern cloud-native applications using containerisation, for example, are highly portable and provide organisations with the ability to change cloud providers as and when suits. In addition, cloud-native applications are rarely locked in to hardware.
What are the benefits of cloud native?
Cloud-native provides a number of technology benefits that can only be realised with a cloud-native strategy. First of these is the use of microservices, whose building block nature allows technology teams to break down a business outcome into a series of blocks that fit directly into the technology architecture of the business, which will be closely aligned to the business strategy. Secondly, the application programming interface (API) provides real-time event-based workloads, which increases the interoperability and connectivity of the organisation, and at a much lower cost.
Great examples include Open Banking, which relies on an API structure to provide customers and the financial services sector with enhanced transparency. The third major technology benefit is containers, allowing an application to be operated remotely with its own memory and CPU resources ready for business demand.
Organisations cannot lift and shift existing applications and methods into a cloud-native method; it is a structural change to the way the technology estate operates and, therefore, the business processes. However, once an organisation develops and deploys a cloud-native architecture it will benefit from clear business and technology advantages and be built on a platform that will enable continuous development of new services.
What are the benefits of cloud-native architecture?
Cloud-native architecture offers several important benefits in the digital age. It provides scalability, allowing for seamless integration of new systems and applications without sacrificing performance or efficiency. It promotes agility through faster deployment times and frequent updates to keep up with changing market demands. Cloud-native architecture also enhances reliability by enabling high availability and fault tolerance through distributed infrastructure. It offers improved security measures such as encryption and access controls to protect against cyber threats.
The flexibility of cloud-native architecture leads to significant cost savings by reducing hardware investments, maintenance costs, and licensing fees associated with traditional IT infrastructures. Overall, embracing a cloud-native mindset helps organisations achieve better business outcomes and stay ahead of competitors in a constantly evolving technology landscape.