To stay relevant and competitive in the current market, software companies must grasp the fundamentals of cloud native practices. A secure and effective method of cloud services is formed by combining Software as a Service (SaaS) and the Internet of Things (IoT) through cloud native architecture. Firms must assess the impact of this technology on their operations to keep pace with industry advancements.
According to recent research by Gartner, cloud-native platforms will host 95% of all new digital workloads by 2025, highlighting the widespread adoption of cloud-native architectural principles among software development companies. This blog post aims to shed light on how this architecture is defined and how firms can profit from implementing it. Moreover, we will explore how some businesses have leveraged cloud-native architecture to drive their digital products.
What does Cloud-Native Architecture Entail?
Cloud-native architecture utilises containers and microservices to deliver software systems that are efficient and scalable. This framework encompasses a set of practices, tools and technologies, empowering businesses to promptly and efficiently respond to evolving customer demands while upgrading their infrastructure without long service interruptions.
Cloud-native architecture is defined by the deployment of scalable, independent, and modular services in the development of software. This approach allows for the partitioning of the application into manageable sections that can be effortlessly resized as needed. For instance, a cloud data warehouse can be considered an independent service that can expand or contract based on data needs. Moreover, updating independent services can be done without impacting the rest of the system.
Contrasting Traditional Cloud Services with Cloud-Native Applications.
The key elements of cloud-native architecture are microservices and containers, enabling scalability and portability, and simplifying automation. In contrast, conventional cloud computing techniques differ significantly.
Cloud-native applications differ from traditional applications based on how automated and decoupled from the underlying infrastructure their application layer is. They are also characterised by their in-built capability for scalability and distribution. Containerisation technologies, such as Docker and Kubernetes, have revolutionised software architecture and have empowered businesses to enhance responsiveness and scalability of their software stack. Furthermore, cloud-native apps are built to be effortlessly transferred across diverse environments, such as public clouds, private clouds, bare-metal infrastructure and IoT devices.
Why Is Cloud-Native Architecture Crucial for Your Business?
The ability to scale resources is crucial for all businesses, and cloud-native architecture is adept at this task. When a company can scale its resources, it can serve a larger customer base and produce more goods without modifying its core operations. Employing this approach, a business can leverage its resources effectively, lower production expenses, and optimise production output.
A cloud-native architecture imbues businesses with greater agility, enabling them to respond promptly to evolving customer demands. Swift adaptation to changing market conditions is paramount in a fiercely competitive market, and a business’ ability to do so is instrumental in achieving a competitive edge. Furthermore, cloud-native architecture boosts efficiency and reliability of organisational processes, resulting in significant advantages across the board.
Cloud-native architecture allows businesses to concentrate more on providing value to their customers rather than infrastructure maintenance. It is advantageous for businesses operating in various sectors, such as online retail, tourism, and insurance, to adopt cloud-native solutions, keeping up with the rapidly evolving digital landscape.
Companies that have implemented digital transformation to offer online goods and services, accessible through mobile applications, can avail immense advantages by implementing cloud-native technology. Businesses in industries such as banking, retail, healthcare, automotive, tourism and hospitality, education, media and entertainment, are some examples that stand to gain significantly.
What Does the Cloud-Native Edge Offer?
Cloud-native architecture offers numerous benefits, including the reduction in costly infrastructure investments. With a cloud-based platform, enterprises can do away with expenditures associated with maintaining data centres, particularly smaller businesses that lack the resources or skills to manage their own data centres. The benefits of cloud-native architecture are presented in the table below.
|Scalable||The increased utilization of today’s software will not lead to any issues. Microservices are a type of modular software architecture that is used in cloud-native applications. These modules can be developed separately while still providing a smooth integration with other microservices. This aids scalability, as well as the ability to add or remove features as necessary.|
|Easily Accessible||No matter what occurs to the individual components of the system, the overall system remains operational. This implies that the application can transfer the load to a different piece of hardware within the system in the event of hardware failure. This enhances the scalability of the software, allowing businesses to meet the increasing demand for their products and services.|
|Conveniently Handled||With efficient administration, updating the system or releasing new software is straightforward. Providing a satisfactory experience for customers is essential for any business, and this may help to achieve that.|
|Protected More Effectively||Implementing more secure measures, such as encryption and access restrictions, may help to protect sensitive data from cyber threats if all key systems are hosted on a single, unified platform.|
|Reduce the Amount of Time You’re Not Working.||Adopting a cloud-native design helps to reduce the risk of human error or technological failure. Organizations can further decrease the probability of system malfunctions leading to downtime and a poor customer experience by implementing automated tools across all platforms.|
Key Pillars of Cloud-Native Architecture
Cloud-native architecture is founded on a set of fundamental principles, including scalability, adaptability, distributed systems, portability, automation, and planning for failure. It is essential for businesses to consider these principles in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of cloud-native architecture. In the following section, we will delve deeper into the foundational aspects of these principles.
The scalability of a system refers to its capability of adjusting its size in response to varying user demand. Your application must have the flexibility to scale up or down according to usage. This necessitates designing your app to handle an increase in product demand. An auto-scaling database is an example of such a system, as it can detect and manage excessive queries by expanding itself. Scaling can be achieved through either vertical or horizontal scaling. Vertical scaling involves adding more resources to an existing server, while horizontal scaling involves adding new servers and distributing the workload among them.
This article highlights the convenience offered by deploying updated or new service configurations. An ideal system update process should be as simple as clicking a button in a user interface, initiating a git push, or making a brief API call. Moreover, it is advised to incorporate automated monitoring services to track the system’s state, usage, and behavior, to ensure optimal performance that aligns with the architecture’s design.
Multi-node Computer Networks
Distributed computing systems comprise of components located on multiple machines. From a software development standpoint, a distributed computing system entails a setup where various parts of a system are situated on different machines. Cloud-based applications are examples of distributed systems, with their microservices spread out across numerous hosts. The primary objective of distributed systems is to optimize scalability and fault tolerance by breaking down the system functions into distinct services. It is important for each service to focus on a singular task and accessible data, as it facilitates scaling individual services independently.
Your program should have automated execution capabilities, enabling you to configure automated deployments and other processes that do not require manual intervention. With automated deployment, new application instances can be created, launched and made accessible to users without human intervention.
Designed to Fail Intentionally
It is crucial to develop systems that are resistant to failure, to prevent the possibility of a catastrophic failure that could lead to system collapse. To cater to growing demands, enterprises must think ahead and deploy systems with redundancy. Additionally, it is vital for your program to effectively handle errors, equipped with failsafe mechanisms and redundancy to ensure optimal functioning.
Blueprint of a Cloud-Based System
To gain a comprehensive understanding of cloud-native applications, it is essential to possess a basic knowledge of how the constituent components interact with one another. A cloud-native architecture encompasses three primary elements: the application layer, the service layer, and the infrastructure layer. The application layer contains the application’s business logic, database, and user interface. Typically, the service layer houses microservices, which are self-contained pieces of code written in a specific programming language. The infrastructure layer is the responsibility of the cloud service provider, and a container orchestrator is used to manage container deployment on the host computers.
Illustrative Applications of Cloud-Native Architecture
A standout instance of cloud-native architecture is Microsoft Outlook.com. When it was first launched, Outlook.com followed the Software as a Service (SaaS) approach, accessible via the internet. To provide this service, Microsoft utilized a range of inventive technologies and methods.
To process vast amounts of data for services such as Bing, Microsoft needed a scalable infrastructure. To develop the application, Microsoft opted for modern languages and frameworks, such as .NET Core and TypeScript. This allowed the company to create a service that could be easily scaled up or down as needed. It is probable that Microsoft utilized its Azure cloud services to establish a cloud-native architecture for Outlook’s management, design, and scalability, enabling easy deployment of necessary updates and accommodation of user preferences.
Here are some additional examples of companies utilizing cloud-native architecture and software.
Cloud Computing with Amazon Web Services (AWS)– In 2023, they adopted a cloud-native approach, and as a result, users can now operate their applications in a fully cloud-native fashion using AWS Outposts.
Short-term Lodging via Airbnb –Our service’s architecture consists of microservices written in Java and Scala, which employ REST APIs. We build our infrastructure on Docker containers, and our services are hosted on Amazon Web Services.
Google’s Cloud Computing– They utilize Google Container Engine and Kubernetes for their cloud-native framework, incorporating numerous open-source technologies such as Prometheus, gVisor, and gRPC.
Netflix– Using AWS’s cloud-native architecture, they host and serve over a hundred million users in 190+ countries.
It is noteworthy that cloud-native architecture offers benefits not only to large organizations but also to small businesses, enabling them to reap the cost savings associated with this design in terms of IT and DevOps expenditures.
Why are Cloud-Native Applications Required?
The term “microservices” denotes the independent modules that constitute a cloud-native application. These applications are explicitly designed for deployment on the cloud, making them more resilient, secure, and robust. Developers can also leverage the available tools, making it easier to develop cloud-native apps. Besides, these applications can be used on a broad range of hardware, as they are cross-platform. This ensures that users can access the software from any device. Furthermore, cloud-native applications have the flexibility to integrate with other services such as those for artificial intelligence and machine learning, enabling organizations to expand with minimal effort.
An Overview of Cloud-Native Design Patterns
A multitude of cloud-native applications use “cloud-native design patterns,” which are reusable code pieces. By adopting and adapting these design principles, many businesses profit from the advantages of cloud-native architectures. Examples of these design patterns include the Circuit Breaker, Bulkhead, and Repository designs. The Circuit Breaker design is implemented to prevent a chain reaction of failures, Bulkhead is used to reduce the impact of potentially problematic services, and Repository provides a unified data store.
Where Will Cloud-Native Applications Stand in Five Years?
Skepticism toward new technologies is an unsurprising phenomenon and is unlikely to change in the near future. However, history has shown that despite initial doubts, new technologies often become deeply entrenched in our lives. Cloud-native architecture is no exception; its importance to the corporate world has dramatically risen in recent years due to the ever-increasing interest in cloud services among digital businesses.
Cloud-native architecture is an advanced method for developing applications suitable for the cloud environment. It is crucial for organizations seeking to transition to a digital transformation. Although it may appear complex, understanding it facilitates a comprehensive awareness of its significance.
As consumer expectations continue to increase, businesses must investigate methods to streamline their operations and minimize expenses while maintaining quality. To accomplish this, many businesses are adopting cloud-native architecture to hasten innovation, enhance productivity, and decrease costs.
To achieve a successful digital transformation, it is essential to adopt cloud-native architecture. Beginning with the desired outcome in mind and working backward to simplify the concept is vital. Acquiring a fundamental understanding of cloud-native architecture is crucial in order to take full advantage of its benefits. This helps to identify the most appropriate architectural patterns and their implementation. Once established, businesses can reap rewards of cloud-native architecture.