Understanding Cloud-native
Engineering

Understanding Cloud-native

Abhishek Singh
Abhishek Singh

Cloud-native is not just a framework, tool, or technology — it’s all of the above.

A brief history lesson

The term “cloud-native” first appeared in 2015 with the establishment of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as a project by the Linux Foundation. The foundation was created to bring together developers who are contributing to open-source projects. Around the same time, Pivotal Software released its report about how businesses should adopt cloud computing through application development models such as microservices and serverless computing.

In short: Cloud-native is a term that describes an approach to building software that runs on top of infrastructure-as-a-service platforms. This approach aims to maximize resource utilization while minimizing waste by using containers instead of virtual machines or bare metal servers.

Cloud-native is an important paradigm shift in how we think about building software. It's not just about containers or microservices; it's about building systems that are resilient, scalable, and easy to maintain over time. Today, we discuss Cloud-native, what sets it apart, and why you need it.

What is Cloud-native?

Cloud-native is a software design architecture approach that enables applications to be built as a suite of microservices, each running in its own process and communicating with lightweight mechanisms, often an HTTP resource API.

Characteristics of Cloud-native

The purpose of choosing Cloud-native is to enable each service to scale up or down independently, including scaling out through the use of additional computers rather than relying on one powerful machine.

A Cloud-native application uses technologies that complement each other to work effectively. The result is an application that can easily scale out when needed and contracts into containers for portability when moving from one environment to another.

Understanding Cloud-native architecture

Cloud-native architecture is a way for organizations to build, deploy and run applications built for the cloud. These applications are designed to be highly elastic. They can be deployed on any infrastructure and are portable across different environments. This makes them ideal for use in an environment where resources such as servers, storage, or networks may change frequently or need scaling up or down at any time.

Cloud-native development

Cloud-native development is a new way of thinking about software development. It's a set of best practices that are designed to help you build applications that can run anywhere—on-premise, in the cloud, or anywhere else.

What is Cloud-native development?

Cloud-native development is the process of developing applications that are designed for deployment on a cloud platform. It’s an evolution from traditional software development practices, which focus on building applications to run in a data center or local network environment. Cloud-native development requires a shift in thinking about how applications are built and deployed, as well as how they scale up when needed.

Cloud-native development typically includes

  • Building code from the ground up with containers instead of starting with an existing operating system image. It provides an easy way to package software into a deployable unit (i.e., a container) that developers can run anywhere.
  • Using serverless functions for stateless tasks; means you can scale those tasks independently of each other or other parts of your application that require state information (e.g., user sessions).
  • Using microservices; which are small, modular services that can be built from scratch or adapted from existing ones. They are designed to be easy to deploy and manage, which makes them ideal for Cloud-native applications.

The role of DevOps in Cloud-native development

For those unfamiliar with the term “DevOps,” it refers to cultural and technical practices.

  • On a cultural level, it involves breaking down silos between development and operations teams so that everyone can work together seamlessly.
  • On a technical level, it means automating processes and reducing manual steps as much as possible—ideally down to zero. This applies both inside your organization (if you're part of a large company) or out in the world, for example, using open-source tools such as Docker containers.

What are the benefits of Cloud-native development?

Here are some common benefits of Cloud-native development.

Reduced costs

Cloud-native apps can reduce costs by providing a more efficient and scalable way to manage applications. Cloud-native applications are built with stateless microservices that are deployed as containers, allowing them to be easily scaled up or down depending on need.

This allows companies to run fewer instances of an application, which reduces the overhead associated with maintaining the infrastructure. It also provides better predictability in terms of resource usage, which makes it easier for developers to accurately estimate how much their applications will cost and plan accordingly.

In addition, cloud providers charge by usage rather than by capacity, so you don't have to pay for unused server space or other resources when your application is not in use.

Improved scalability

Cloud-native applications can scale up quickly and automatically when needed and then scale back down once the workload has decreased again. This makes them much more efficient than traditional applications, which typically require manual configuration changes or application restarts whenever you want to deploy new code or change server settings.

Suggested read - Elaborate Engineering with Neverinstall: Reactive and pre-emptive scaling

Resilience

Cloud-native applications are written in a way that makes them less likely to fail due to external factors like network issues or environmental problems like power outages.

Moreover, since a cloud provider owns all of their infrastructure (i.e., data centers), they can ensure that their systems will consistently work well together as needed without any downtime or hiccups due to limited resources at any one time—something that would be difficult if done manually from scratch!

This is because they are designed to be stateless so that no data is stored on the server, and any changes made by users are immediately synced back to the cloud. This makes it much easier for you to recover from failure.

Automatic failover

If one instance fails, others will take over seamlessly thanks to cloud-level redundancy and auto-scaling features built into modern public clouds like AWS and Azure. There's no need for manual failover processes or even manual monitoring; the transition to working instances is automated within the system.

Speed to market

Because cloud-native applications are built with small, modular pieces that developers can deploy independently, you can release new features or fixes much more quickly than with traditional monoliths. A modular design means that applications and code can be broken down into smaller parts and deployed separately. This makes it much easier for developers to build new features without affecting other existing parts of the application. This is particularly important for startups looking to gain market share in an increasingly competitive environment.

Cloud-native applications

Cloud-native does not necessarily mean you must write your application in Go or any other language. What it does mean is that you should design and architect it so it can be deployed on any environment, from bare metal to the public cloud (or private).

In addition to these architectural characteristics, Cloud-native applications have some key functional attributes that make them different from traditional applications — they rely heavily on automated testing, continuous delivery, and self-healing mechanisms such as blue/green deployments and canary releases.

What are Cloud-native applications?

Cloud-native applications are containerized, dynamically orchestrated, and micro services-oriented applications that are designed to be elastic, meaning they can resize automatically to meet fluctuating demand and work in virtually any environment.

The primary focus while developing Cloud-native apps is to support interoperability and automation.

What are microservices?

​​Microservices are a software development method that promotes using small, independent services to build application functionality. Each service is responsible for a single task, such as user authentication or data storage, and can be independently deployed and scaled. Microservices are a popular architectural style for cloud-native applications. These applications are built to run in a cloud environment, with multiple instances of each microservice running in containers on different servers.

For example, an e-commerce company might have separate microservices for product management, order processing, and customer service. Each of these would run on its own server instance with its own container image — a packaged set of code with all dependencies already installed. Each microservice could scale up or down depending on how many customers place orders or return products for refunds.

The core value proposition of microservices is that they allow you to decompose a monolithic application into smaller, more manageable pieces (in other words, "micro"). This lets you swap out parts of your application more easily — say, if one service begins to struggle and slows down your entire product.

What are the benefits of Cloud-native applications?

Here are some common benefits of using Cloud-native applications.

High availability

Cloud-native applications are developed using microservices and containers. They are deployed on the public cloud infrastructure in a way that they can be scaled to thousands of instances on demand. The Cloud-native applications are built on a microservices architecture that allows them to scale horizontally. This gives high availability of the application and allows it to serve more users at the same time.

Cloud-native apps are designed to be deployed on multiple instances and run on multiple servers. Therefore, if any server goes down, the application will automatically shift traffic to another healthy server without downtime.

Decoupling business logic and data

With on-premises applications, you are forced to compromise speed or control. You can either use a traditional monolithic application that takes a long time to deploy or a microservices architecture that gives you more agility but requires additional development time. With Cloud-native applications, you get both speed and agility with no compromise in control because the application isn't tied to a single deployment environment. Instead, it's deployed as many times as necessary across multiple environments.

This decoupling of business logic and data makes it easier for developers to change code without worrying about breaking everything else in the system.

Portability

Cloud-native applications leverage pre-packaged software that's easy to deploy and scale in any cloud environment, making them portable enough to run on multiple operating systems and hardware configurations.

Cloud-native applications are designed to run on multiple clouds, so you don't have to commit all your resources to one vendor's infrastructure. Also, since these applications are portable across multiple platforms, you can move them between private data centers, public clouds, or even hybrid clouds without making changes or rebuilding them from scratch.

Containerization

Cloud-native applications benefit from container technology instead of virtual machines (VMs). Containers let you run multiple applications on a single host without having them come into contact with each other; this means they're more efficient than VM-based applications because they take a lot less time to start up than an actual VM. Further, since they have a layered architecture—meaning if two containers have the same dependency, then that dependency will only have to be downloaded once—it makes applications significantly faster.

Understanding Cloud-native Platforms - what are they, and why do we need them?

Cloud-native platforms are a new approach to software development that takes advantage of the cloud and DevOps best practices to deliver application software faster, with minimal infrastructure. Cloud-native applications are built using microservices, small, independent services that communicate over APIs. These applications run in containers and are built using open-source tools that can be run in any environment.

Suggested read - Familiar in the Cloud: Streaming the native desktop experience to your browser

A Cloud-native platform is an Infrastructure-as-a-Service or IaaS solution that simplifies the development and deployment of applications. It contains all the necessary components for building and running microservices, including tooling, runtime environments, data management, and security features.

As a result, developers can focus on building flexible APIs that integrate data from multiple sources to create new value for their users.

Cloud-native Applications vs. Traditional Business Applications

Cloud-native and traditional business applications are vastly different in their architecture, purpose, and outcomes.

  • Cloud-native applications are designed from the ground up to take advantage of cloud-based architectures. They use microservices and containers, and they are typically built around APIs.
  • Traditional business applications were designed for on-premises and private cloud deployments and are based on monolithic architectures that include monolithic applications and databases and complex network topologies.

Key differences between Cloud-native applications and Traditional business applications

Cloud-native Applications

Traditional Business applications

Cloud-native applications are designed to be resilient and elastic.

Traditional business applications are typically more rigid and vulnerable.

Cloud-native applications are built around microservices, which are small, independent units of code that can be quickly created, deployed, and scaled. 

Traditional business applications are built around monolithic software.

Cloud-native applications make use of containerized environments and orchestration tools. 

Traditional business applications do not use such solutions. 

Cloud-native applications require a high degree of automation to be effective.

Traditional business applications generally do not require automation to be effective. 

Cloud-native applications are often written in languages such as Python or Go.

While traditional business applications are usually written in Java or C#.

Cloud-native applications tend to rely heavily on open-source components. 

Traditional business applications tend to rely less heavily on open-source components (or not at all) and more on proprietary components.

Cloud-native applications have a low barrier to entry for developers. 

Traditional business applications have a high barrier to entry for developers.

Things to keep in mind while going Cloud-native

When migrating to a Cloud-native architecture, there are several things to remember.

  1. The first is that Cloud-native architectures are designed with containers and microservices in mind. These two concepts are fundamentally different from traditional applications, which makes them difficult to migrate in a way that will provide the same level of performance and security.
  2. The second is that cloud-based systems require a very different approach to deployment and scalability than traditional systems. While it might seem like a simple matter of moving an application over to the cloud, this requires significant retooling and rethinking of how you deploy and scale your applications.
  3. Finally, if you're going to go Cloud-native, you'll need new tools and processes for testing, monitoring, and debugging your application—tools that might not have been available or appropriate for your older application architecture.

Conclusion

Cloud-native is the next wave in application development, and it’s here to stay. With its many advantages over traditional applications and the rising popularity of microservices, it’s clear that Cloud-native technologies will be around for some time.

Leverage Cloud-native development with Neverinstall. Sign up now or reach out to us at sales@neverinstall.com today!