If we talked about “Cloud Computing” even a decade ago, people would most likely look up at the sky, or laugh out loud. Today, the connotation related to this word has entirely changed. In fact now, there is another term that has created a lot of buzz in the digital world; Cloud-Native.
The term does sound catchy, but what exactly does it entail to be Cloud-native? To answer this question, we need to know what this term means. According to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), Cloud-native refers to when enterprises can develop and run agile and scalable software applications in Private, Public or Hybrid Cloud environments.
In this post, we will look into how enterprises’ Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) can leverage Cloud-native developments to gain maximum benefits for their enterprise.
Important Jargons Related to Cloud-Native Development
In order to have a full grasp of the Cloud-native concept, we will first explain the following terms that are important in Cloud-native developments.
Microservices separates applications into series of services or modules, that can be deployed independently. These modules have specific goals and they reference their data accordingly. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are used for inter-communication within these modules. Applications that are deployed in the Cloud often utilize a microservices architecture.
Application Program Interface (API)
Containers and microservices are connected together via APIs, and it also binds together loosely coupled services.
Containers help logical isolation of applications, making them independent from physical resources. Containers also stop microservices from interacting with each other, except when the shared resources of the host need to be consumed by applications. Containerization also enables faster and secure deployment of applications.
Capabilities and Layers of Cloud-Native Development
The process of application development has now been revolutionized due to the fact that software developers can build applications on their laptops, without renting a rack at a data center or having to procure an entire server room.
Now, we will dig a little deeper into the layers and components of Cloud-native development, and discuss four layers of Cloud-based applications.
- The topmost development layer of the application deploys the DevOps teams and leverages tools like container images, databases, etc. to build applications.
- The second layer, also known as Infrastructure-as-a-code (IaaC), works towards the development of a secure environment so that applications will be able to run seamlessly. With the help of Identity and Access Management (IAM) tools, this provisioning layer greatly aids the app developer to use a repository to store images, make automation and look into any vulnerabilities in cybersecurity postures.
- The third layer manages the runtime of containers.
- The fourth and final orchestration layer leverages the required tools for the successful deployment, effective management, and seamless scalability of applications that are now containerized. API gateways or service mesh usually handle this scheduling and management layer.
Advantages of Cloud-Native Applications
Cloud-Native applications offer numerous advantages. The following points briefly touch upon some benefits of deploying Cloud-native applications.
We can update application software, with almost zero downtime, due to Cloud-Native development and orchestration of containers.
Microservices have allowed us to scale the independent modules, up or down, depending on our requirements. We can achieve this without impacting other modules that do not require any changes.
An important plus point of deploying Cloud-native solutions is that the automation feature of DevOps can be leveraged to make alterations in software, at regular intervals.
The modular nature of applications protects the adjacent modules, in case there is a failure in one module. This makes the Cloud-native application extremely reliable and resilient.
Reduced Vendor Lock-in
The interoperability of workloads gives us extremely portable Cloud-native applications. Enterprises are not locked-in with a particular Cloud Service Provider (CSP) or vendor, for the deployment of these applications. This gives increased bargaining power to the enterprise.
Cloud-Native Development in Practice: CTOs Role
With Cloud-native development gaining such popularity, CTOs/ should adopt the following practices to drive a successful Cloud-Native architecture for their enterprise.
1. Change Organization-wide Mindset
Beyond the adoption of the technical aspects of Cloud-native development, CTOs must lead a service-oriented change in the mindsets of organizational employees. The DevOps principle must also be embraced with an open mindset, as any hindrance from the employees, in this regard, can hamper the entire process.
2. Gain the Required Technical Know-how
CTOs should be able to gauge risks attached to the adoption of this new technology and identify changes that are required to be made in order to make the transition work.
Since Cloud-native development usually involves the deployment of open source technologies, it is imperative that the CTOs and related IT personnel understand this technology for its successful implementation.
3. Improve Digital Employee Experience (DEX)
It is very important that enterprises must have a clear picture of the current skillset of their employees, and the required capabilities and tools to undergo a smooth adoption of Cloud-native development. This way, an enterprise will have ample time to fill the gaps in employee training, provide the necessary tools to effectively adopt the new technology, and empower their employees with an improved DEX.
4. Gauge Your Capabilities
Cloud-native adoption is extremely fast-paced and CTOs should make sure that there is an alignment between the existing processing and the new ones. CTOs should know whether the current organizational capabilities are enough to adopt the new and dynamic workflows. An honest assessment will better prepare them for what lies in store for them in the future.
5. IT Automation
Less reliability on manual tasks makes the process error-free and fast. Automations in the deployment of applications, containerization and security services will be of great value to the enterprise.
In a nutshell, we can say that businesses get huge opportunities when they adopt Cloud-native development. Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) have a huge task on their shoulders to steer an enterprise successfully through the process of cultural and technological evolution.
The evolution of Cloud Computing has opened multiple doors for businesses of virtually all “shapes and sizes”. Enterprises have realized that they can extract maximum value from the Cloud, by going “Cloud-Native”, as it delivers the quality and agility that forward-thinking enterprises aspire to deliver.
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