It is difficult to find a single definition for ‘cloud-native' online that everyone agrees on, and it is a topic that has sparked conversation and debate over the last few years. It is best to think of going cloud-native less as switching on a button for new technology but more as a complete new mindset to adopt in the way your company functions. It has numerous benefits including improving customer experiences and solving business challenges through the innovation that cloud technology brings. Taking the journey to a cloud-native approach partly involves technology but more significantly it involves agile processes created by agile people.
According to the InfoWorld blog by Andy Patrizio, “cloud-native is an approach to building and running applications that exploit the advantages of the cloud computing delivery model. “Cloud-native” is about how applications are created and deployed, not where.”
We are in the midst of many digital transformations taking place across industries globally. This can be seen in Real Estate, Retail, and even health care, just to list three of many. Companies are innovating in new ways that involve advanced technologies and new mindsets, and those who are unwilling to adapt are unfortunately failing. This is because it is evident the future is in the cloud: 94% of enterprises already use a cloud service and the public cloud service market is expected to reach $623.3 billion by 2023 worldwide.
To understand the differences between cloud-native and traditional applications, let’s begin by defining their main features.
To put it simply, traditional applications do not utilize the cloud to its fullest potential, they instead rely on on-premise data storage and these methods are labor-intensive, isolated, and unpredictable. Some of these applications and methods include:
• Data warehouses - A place where companies store their valuable data assets. You can think of a data warehouse being a single source of data truth, it is primarily used for data reporting and analysis. Defining features of a data warehouse are: it is subject-oriented, time-variant, nonvolatile, and summarized. The data stored is uploaded from the operational systems.
• Migrations - Application migration is the process of moving software applications from one computing environment to another. This can include migrating applications from one data center to another, such as from a public to a private cloud, or from a company’s on-premises server to a cloud provider’s environment.
• Virtual Machines - a computer system created using software on one physical computer to emulate the functionality of another separate physical computer.
• Waterfall Development - The Waterfall methodology—also known as the Waterfall Model—is a sequential software development process, where progress flows steadily toward the conclusion (like a waterfall) through the phases of a project (that is, analysis, design, development, testing).
• Security Monitoring
In contrast, you will find heightened fluidity and speed in cloud-native applications. They revolve around collaboration and are highly dependable:
• Containers - Containers function the same way as physical containers do as they hold something. They are a unit of software in which application code is packaged, along with its dependencies, so that it can be run from anywhere allowing for easy replication of your application.
• Serverless - Despite its name, serverless computing does not mean there are no servers involved. It means that there is no longer a need to maintain the servers required to keep your operations running. This frees up constant worry regarding the servers while delivering greater efficiency, stronger security and it saves a lot of money. It is a method of providing backend services on an as-used basis and all of the operations management takes place outside of the business.
• Data lakes - Amazon defines a data lake as “a centralized repository that allows you to store all your structured and unstructured data at any scale. You can store your data as-is, without having to first structure the data, and run different types of analytics—from dashboards and visualizations to big data processing, real-time analytics, and machine learning to guide better decisions.”
• Security automation - This is the machine-based execution of security actions that detect, monitor, and troubleshoot cyber threats without the need for human intervention. They are programmed to identify incoming threats and respond to them in the right timeframe.
• Agile development - This is an umbrella term for a set of practices and frameworks written in the Manifesto for Agile Software. These practices involve discovering requirements and developing solutions through the collaborative effort of self-organizing and cross-functional teams. It revolves around adaptive planning, evolutionary development, and continual improvement.
• Transformation - Cloud-native can be summarized into the word transformation. It means leaving behind the old way of doing things and moving actively forward. The aim of a cloud-native approach is to use the cloud to do something transformative for your business. Each selection and adoption of technologies and methodologies should have the intention to help you boost performance, improve cost efficiency, and increase customer satisfaction.
The Differences between the Two
• Predictability -Traditional infrastructure is based on a long-term development process. It takes much longer to build and new releases are done as one big package. In contrast, a cloud-native infrastructure is designed to maximize resiliency through predictable behaviors to enable new business functions.
• Dependency on Operating System - The traditional infrastructure allows to build close dependencies between the app and the operating systems. This dependency makes the application migration process complex and risky. But, the cloud-native infrastructure lets the developers move away from infrastructure dependency which allows the teams to focus on their software completely.
• Capacity - The traditional infrastructures are over-sized and cannot scale beyond, delaying the deployment of an application. The cloud-native infrastructure allocates the resources based on the ongoing requirement of the application. This approach optimizes app lifecycle management, this grants greater freedom and innovation.
• Manual/Application - Traditional development process requires heavy in-house administration as they are manually operated, which can be both time-consuming and expensive for businesses. Cloud-native infrastructure is automated in nature that consistently applies the same set of rules in the process across any size of deployment.
What is cloud infrastructure and what are its components? The infrastructure can be deployed to individual users or shared among multiple users, while maintaining different characteristics.
• Cultural change - With transformation being the key component to cloud-native, it can be challenging making the shift from the status quo to a new way of managing IT.
• Legacy burdens - Many businesses have traditional systems that are tightly coupled to the physical infrastructure, making it harder to transition to the cloud.
• Skills gaps - New technologies and new ways to connect technologies will require new skill sets that need to be recruited or re-skilled internally.
• Security risk - With an increasing threat landscape, security processes will have to evolve to secure everything while maintaining compliance. This hard to navigate on your own.
However, with challenges come solutions. VUSE is a cloud-native product engineering agency helping organizations transform digitally. Our certified engineers and cloud experts build, manage, and modernize applications and platforms empowering our clients to close the gap between now and next. Managing new applications can be complex to apply to your business, and it is vital to have agile people with a cloud-native perspective as part of your team for a seamless transition. At VUSE, we have a bank of experience in converting legacy systems and a team of experts who undergo continuous training, development, and certification who are empowering industry leaders.
Want to found out about the possibilities of cloud-native for your business? Contact us today to start your journey!