Breaking Down the Buzz: What You Need to Know About Cloud Native Applications

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Cloud computing has revolutionized the way people store, access, and process data. It has become a crucial element for modern businesses, enabling them to store vast amounts of data in remote servers and access it from anywhere around the world. Businesses have been able to work more productively, reduce costs, and function more efficiently as a result of cloud computing. However, the cloud ecosystem has been evolving, and with it, a new concept of cloud-native applications has emerged. These applications are specifically designed to make the most of the cloud’s infrastructure, providing greater flexibility, scalability, and portability. In this article, we will explain the buzz and help you understand the fundamentals of Cloud-native applications. 

What are Cloud-Native Applications?

Cloud-native applications are a set of software applications that are designed to take full advantage of the cloud infrastructure. These applications are developed using cloud-native principles, such as microservices, containers, and serverless computing. Cloud-native applications are built with a focus on scalability, resiliency, and flexibility, allowing businesses to respond quickly to changing market conditions. 

Key characteristics of Cloud-Native applications

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Microservices Architecture: Microservices is an architectural approach to application development, where an application is created as a collection of small, independent services. Each service implements a specific business capability, runs in its own process, and communicates with other services using HTTP APIs or messaging protocols. Microservices are designed to be deployed, upgraded, scaled, and restarted independently of other services in the same application. This is typically achieved through an automated system, enabling frequent updates to live applications without causing any impact on customers. 

Containers: Cloud-native apps heavily rely on containers. They provide an isolated environment for the application to run, ensuring that the application is portable and can run on any cloud infrastructure. Containers are a more efficient and faster alternative to standard virtual machines (VMs). Operating-system-level virtualization enables the dynamic division of a single OS instance into separated containers, each with a separate writable file system and resource allotment. Containers are the best compute vehicle for launching individual microservices because of their low overhead for generating and destroying them and their high packing density within a single VM. 

Cloud-native security: Cloud-native security is a critical aspect of reducing security risks to enterprise systems and data. It is based on three key principles that include repairing vulnerable software as soon as updates become available, frequently repaving servers and applications from a known-good state, and regularly rotating user credentials. By adhering to these principles, organizations can significantly reduce the risk of security breaches and enhance the overall security posture of their systems and data. 

Serverless Computing: Serverless computing is a model where the cloud provider manages the underlying infrastructure, allowing developers to focus on developing the application’s code. This approach reduces costs, increases scalability, and improves the application’s resiliency. 

Why are Cloud-Native Applications important?

Cloud-native applications are developed and deployed quickly by small, dedicated feature teams on a platform that supports easy scale-out and hardware decoupling. This approach offers organizations enhanced agility, resilience, and portability across cloud environments. 

Gain a competitive advantage: With the help of cloud-native development, companies can shift their attention from cutting IT costs to observing the cloud as a driver of growth. In today’s software-driven world, organizations that can quickly develop and deliver applications to meet customer needs are more likely to achieve long-term success. 

Enable teams to focus on resilience: Cloud-native architecture allows teams to concentrate on creating resilient systems instead of worrying about how to fix legacy infrastructure failures. The rapidly expanding Cloud-native landscape helps developers and architects design systems that stay online, regardless of the environment’s hiccups. 

Achieve greater flexibility: A platform that supports Cloud-native development enables enterprises to build applications that can run on any public or private cloud without modification. Teams can choose to run apps and services where it makes the most business sense, avoiding cloud lock-in. 

Align operations with business needs: Automating IT operations helps enterprises transform into lean, focused teams aligned with business priorities. Eliminating the risk of failure due to human error, staff can focus on automation to replace manual admin tasks. Automated live patching and upgrades at all levels of the stack eliminates downtime and the need for ops experts with ‘hand-me-down’ expertise

Steps to build Cloud-Native Applications

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Building cloud-native applications requires a shift in mindset and development practices. Here are some key steps to building cloud-native applications: 

Use Serverless Computing: Serverless computing is a model where the cloud provider manages the underlying infrastructure. This approach reduces costs, increases scalability, and improves the application’s resiliency. 

Design for Resiliency: Cloud-native applications are designed to be resilient, meaning that they can withstand failures and continue to function. Designing for resiliency involves building fault-tolerant systems that can detect and recover from failures. 

Use Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD): CI/CD is a development practice that involves automating the process of building, testing, and deploying the application. This approach enables developers to make changes to the application quickly and efficiently. 

Monitor and Analyze: Monitoring and analyzing the performance of a cloud-native application is crucial to identifying issues and improving the application’s performance. Cloud-native applications generate a large amount of data, and it’s essential to have the right tools in place to analyze this data and make informed decisions. 

Embrace DevOps: DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). Embracing DevOps is essential to building cloud-native applications as it enables teams to work together more efficiently, improve collaboration, and automate the development process. 

Considering Cloud-Native applications? Here are some important things to know

If you’re considering Cloud-native applications, keep these points in mind to get the most out of your efforts: 

Establish task priorities for modernization: Determine which legacy and greenfield workloads should be converted to Cloud-native based on technical feasibility, strategic importance, and ROI. 

Decide whether to build or buy a platform: While some teams may build their own platform, it requires ongoing maintenance and delays the real work of building applications. A proven, integrated product like VMware Tanzu Application Service can provide more confidence and less preoccupation with ops and infrastructure. 

Select between comprehensive and independent skill-building: Consider learning through immersion to reinforce new development habits and gain a solid foundation in Agile product development practices such as continuous delivery. Trying something new can help teams become more agile. 

With a Cloud-native architecture, your operations teams can become champions of process improvement and automation, delivering direct value to the business. An automated Cloud-native platform can take care of application operations, monitoring and remediating issues that previously required manual intervention. 

The Value of Cloud-Native Applications in the Modern Business Environment

In today’s world, cloud computing has become ubiquitous, and several businesses are rapidly adopting cloud-native applications due to their numerous advantages. The ease of handling data, building applications, and providing services using the cloud infrastructure makes it an attractive option for businesses. Additionally, the cost of the cloud is on a use basis, making it more cost-effective. By embracing cloud-native applications, you can operate many tasks efficiently, reduce costs, and increase productivity. Cloud-native applications are designed to leverage the cloud infrastructure, which offers greater flexibility, scalability, and portability. This enables you to stay ahead of the competition and quickly adapt to changing market conditions. So, if you want to thrive in today’s competitive business landscape, cloud-native applications are an important component.

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