The development of cloud technologies has shifted the priority from the question of “where services are deployed” to “how they are developed.” It became possible to create programs specifically for cloud environments, using the maximum advantages of specific platforms. This approach was called Cloud Native and became a forerunner of revolutionary changes in the development of IT infrastructure. Next, we will understand the features of the concept, what are the pros and cons of the approach, when it is appropriate and how to implement it.

What is Cloud Native

Cloud Native is a style of IT infrastructure construction in which applications are built specifically for the cloud environment. They are designed to function not in a local data centre, but rather on a specific, “native” cloud. For example, on Amazon EC2, Azure, GAE platforms or Public Cloud OpenStack provided by GigaCloud. This approach allows you to get the most out of the provider – to use all its tools and functions.

The main features of Cloud Native solutions are:

  • They are based on the architecture of microservices. Applications are developed as a set of small services, each of them implements a specific business opportunity, runs a separate process, and exchanges data via APIs or messages. Each microservice is deployed, upgraded, and scaled independently of the others, allowing for frequent application updates without the risk of downtime.
  • They are packed in containers. Applications are isolated in containers and operate autonomously with their own unique file systems and allocated resources. The concept of Cloud Native containers makes it possible to deploy microservices architecture with minimal costs.

That is, Cloud Native is the concept of creating applications in the format of minimally interconnected microservices, placed in containers on those cloud platforms for which they were primarily developed.

How does Cloud Native differ from Cloud Agnostic

For a better understanding of the specifics of the “native” cloud philosophy, let’s compare two conceptually different approaches to building an IT architecture – Cloud Native and Cloud Agnostic.

If in the first case you choose a provider and build your infrastructure according to the features of its cloud solutions, then, according to the agnostic approach, all your services do not depend on one cloud. You can place tools on platforms of different operators and move them around freely. There is a price for this independence – you need to monitor the operation of several platforms at the same time, which puts a strain on the IT team. In addition, there is a risk of limiting cloud services. For example, if one provider has a function that is important to you, but other operators do not yet have it, it will remain unavailable to you.

Among these two concepts, the Cloud Native strategy is the most optimal option for creating and scaling services quickly, as well as quickly entering the market with your products.

Pros and Cons of Cloud Native

Business chooses Cloud Native infrastructure due to the following advantages:

  • High speed of updates. Due to the fact that applications are divided into microservices, developers can quickly make changes to any part of the application even on a daily basis. There is no need to wait for one mass release of updates. This allows you to correct errors in services and improve your products to meet customer requests without significant delays.
  • There is access to all functions of the cloud platform. The concept of Cloud Native makes it possible to use the functions of the platform for which applications are created as efficiently as possible. This guarantees the company a full return for payment of the provider’s services.
  • Efficiency of entering the market. Given that services are created to function on a specific platform, there is no need for a large number of integrations between tools. This allows for the development of a new application to quickly move to the stages of production and release to the market.
  • It is easy to control it. The Cloud Native architecture does not require third-party solutions for setting up applications and managing them, because most platforms provide full-fledged tools for monitoring. Moreover, the most popular platforms for managing Cloud Native microservices – Kubernetes and Docker allow you to automate the processes of deploying and scaling cloud applications.

With all the advantages of the Cloud Native architecture, you cannot forget about the fundamental drawback of the concept – binding to one provider. You have not only to build your infrastructure according to the specifics of a particular platform, but you also depend on the operator. For example, it may suddenly stop supporting critical features for you, experience a DDoS attack, or significantly increase service prices. Then you will either have to put up with the new conditions, or invest in transferring services to the platforms of other providers.

When to choose Cloud Native and how to implement the solution in the best way

It is worth stopping your choice on Cloud Nate in the following cases:

  • It is important for your business to bring new products to the market as quickly as possible, so it is more profitable to use ready-made template solutions of the provider than to spend resources on building a new complex infrastructure.
  • The functions of a specific cloud platform are critical for you, so you have already decided on an operator that will satisfy all your requests.
  • Due to the specifics of the business, you are not afraid of the risk of certain dependence on the operator. For example, you do not plan to work abroad. Or if you are planning to, then the attractiveness of the provider’s offer covers the shortcomings of the Cloud Native.

To get the most out of Native Cloud solutions, it is important to use the solutions correctly:

  • Turn to the time-tested container orchestration platforms. For example, Docker Swarm, Hashicorp Nomad or Kubernetes allow you to deploy a system of any complexity in the cloud, effectively manage it and adapt it to growing loads. Your team can focus only on service development.
  • Do not experiment with a large number of tools at the start. The operator can offer you many possibilities, but you should clearly decide which technologies and templates you will use in the beginning. This will allow you to devote all our efforts to the development of truly innovative programs, rather than wasting resources.
  • Make the most of the DevOps approach. Develop collaboration between developers and operations teams, and run frequent automated product tests on a regular basis. This will accelerate the release and modernization of services.

Cloud Native allows you to speed up product development, improve the productivity of IT specialists, and increase the fault tolerance of services, and this is only the top of the iceberg of the advantages of the “native” approach. Therefore, if you are ready to partially give up your cloud independence for the sake of better flexibility and efficiency of the IT architecture, you will get a solution that will allow the business to respond more quickly to market challenges and improve its competitiveness.