The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) is an open-source foundation in the Linux Foundation that consists of reputed world leaders including Google, IBM, Intel, Cisco, Box, VMware and more. It is dedicated to make cloud-native computing universal and economically sustainable.
Cloud-native ecosystem allows organizations to design and deploy scalable apps in the modern, dynamic settings including public, private, and hybrid clouds. This approach is epitomized by service meshes, containers, micro services, immutable infrastructure, and declarative APIs.
In this article, we are going to discuss:
- What is Cloud Native
- Cloud Native Architecture
- Benefits of Cloud Native Architecture
- Challenges of Cloud Native Architecture
- Cloud Native Tools
What is Cloud-Native?
Cloud-native is an approach of app development as microservices and executing them on containerized and dynamically managed platforms that completely leverages the cloud computing model’s advantages. The main focus of cloud-native is on how applications are developed and delivered and not on where they are deployed.
Businesses can leverage these technologies to build and run scalable apps in contemporary settings like public, private, and hybrid clouds. To get dependability and faster time to market, these apps are built from scratch, designed as loosely connected systems, optimized for cloud scalability and performance, employ managed services, and make good use of consistent delivery. The primary objective is to speed up the process, increase scalability and revenue.
When we talk about cloud-native, it is all about speed and agility along with scalability. Business systems are evolving from enablers of company abilities to strategic transformation weapons that boost business velocity and growth. It is crucial to work on innovative ideas and get them to market as quickly as possible.
At the same time, businesses have become complex and the users are looking for more from businesses. The priority is customer satisfaction, engagement and quick communication, top-class features, and literally no downtime. Problems with performance, continuous mistakes, and failure to move quickly are no longer acceptable by the users. If this happens, the users will be quick to find an alternative. So, Cloud-native systems are designed to manage change, scalability and agility.
Cloud Native Architecture
Cloud native is a design strategy that leverages cloud services including EC2, S3, Lambda from AWS among others to provide dynamic and agile app development methods that use a variety of cloud-based micro services instead of traditional monolithic application infrastructure to develop, run and update software.
Microservices and containerization enable cloud native applications to be agile and dynamic by enabling them to move across cloud providers or deploy services independently in different languages or frameworks without any major service downtime.
This is because the DevOps teams may work on different components of an app simultaneously or look to introduce new features without losing stability, including a microservices architecture in the application development that promotes cooperation and business productivity.
Benefits of Cloud Native Architecture
Cloud-native architecture attracts enterprises that follow a DevOps approach as it is fluid, robust, and highly scalable. A cloud native method has various benefits, including but not limited to the following:
- With the help of loosely connected services rather than an enterprise tech stack that enables development teams to choose the framework, language, system that suits a business’ or individual needs and objectives.
- Containerized microservices’ mobility refers to the reliance of a business on a single cloud provider.
- As an open source container orchestration technology like Kubernetes makes it easy to determine the container without dissecting the entire programme, debugging is hence simplified.
- As microservices are self-contained, developers may optimize them depending on the critical functionality, improving the user experience exponentially.
- Microservices in software development boost continuous integration and continuous delivery efforts, shortening the development lifecycle and reducing the chance of human error with the help of automation.
- To enhance efficiency, a container orchestrator may immediately plan and assign resources depending on the demand.
- Developers can make changes to one microservice or include new functionalities without impacting the entire development when using microservices for app design.
Cloud Native Architecture’s Challenges
Irrespective of its various benefits, the combination of microservices with cloud infrastructure may not be best for all businesses. When choosing an ideal plan for your business, keep the below challenges in mind:
- Teams may strive to handle the dispersed workflow and responsibilities linked with microservices without an established DevOps flow.
- If containers are scaled instantly, security concerns might come up if they are not managed efficiently.
- At the time of migration of an application to a microservices design, there may be a lot of issues with functionality.
- Certain microservices require characteristics that are only limited to particular machines, like a Compute, GPU, or SSD, needing a particular operating system or machine instance.
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Cloud Native Tools
Businesses using the full Cloud-native toolkit get the benefit of delivering quick results, with less friction, and minimal development and maintenance costs. Some of the major Cloud-native tools are:
The objective of microservices is to divide an application into smaller fragments and interconnect services and not simply develop a monolithic application. Each module supports a particular business goal and uses a well-defined interface to communicate with other services. Moreover, each microservice has its own database. Having a database per service is important if you are looking to learn from micro services as it enables loose coupling.
Continuous Integration/ Development
Continuous Integration/Continuous Development (CI/CD) is an infrastructure component that helps automate the execution of tests in response to different events like merges and pull requests. Businesses may use CI/CD to implement quality assurance including unit testing, static analysis, and security analysis. Moreover, CI/CD is an integral part of the cloud native ecosystem because it may lead to considerable engineering savings and reduce overall human error rate.
Containers are a software package in a logical box with everything that the app requires to run. The software package consists of an operating system, application code, runtime, system tools, libraries, binaries and more.
Containers run in the Host machine kernels itself. They share the Host machine’s resources and don’t require the load of a Hypervisor. It is one of the primary reasons why Containers are “lightweight”. Containers are way smaller in size than a VM and hence need less time to start, and we can run multiple containers on the same compute capacity when compared with a single VM. This provides high server efficiencies and hence reduces server and licensing costs.
Container orchestration is mostly used for managing, scheduling, scaling, storage and networking for individual containers. It can be used in any environment where containers are used. Container Orchestration enables you to deploy the same app across multiple environments without needing to re-design or re-configure it. Moreover, the microservices in containers make it easier to orchestrate services including security, networking and docker storage. Kubernetes is the most widely used container orchestration tool.
The fundamental component of observability is logging. As logging is typically known and accessible to teams, it is an ideal place to begin when introducing observability. Logs are required for deciphering what is going on in systems. Time series are more economically viable to store than logs, so cloud native systems prioritize them for analytics. Though, logs are crucial debugging tool, and specific systems can be seen through them, hence logging is required.
Crucial occurrences are saved as a time series in monitoring systems. Monitoring data is comprehensive, which means there is no need to keep track of every incident. This allows cloud native systems to be economically viable for businesses, and it’s important for knowing their present condition.
Alerting evolves logs and metrics into usable information, warns operators of system issues, and works well with time series data. Alerts can be leveraged to warn teams when the number of HTTP 500 status codes or request length rises. For cloud native systems, alerting is important. Without alerts, you will not be notified of accidents, which means that businesses will be unaware of any underlying problems or current incidents.
Cloud native technologies reduce the time and effort needed to develop and scale services. Hence, teams are frequently launching more services than they were before the cloud. Tracing enables teams to keep track of communication between services and to see a whole end-user transaction along with each stage. Teams can detect what service faults are recurrent and how long each part of the transaction takes when any performance issues arise. Tracing is a contemporary observation and debugging tool that allows teams to debug issues instantly and hence decrease downtime considerably.
Service meshes are the all-rounder of cloud networking. They typically offer dynamic routing, load balancing, service discovery, networking policies, and resiliency primitives like circuit breakers, retries and deadlines. Service meshes are great in load balancing for cloud native architectures.
It is not easy to migrate legacy apps into cloud native apps as there are multiple risks involved. Support for microservices and the primary parts that summarize the features of Cloud Native applications should help in the transition to a Cloud-Native architecture with all the inbuilt security features.
Though implementing Cloud Native applications may be enticing and assist in improving business practices, the benefits and challenges of doing so should be considered to make sure that the Cloud Native strategy is linked with the business. What do you think about Cloud Native architecture? Is your business ready to jump onto the cloud-native bandwagon? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Karan works as the Delivery Head at Conneqtion Group, a Oracle iPaaS and Process Automation company. He has an extensive experience with various Banking and financial services, FMCG, Supply chain management & public sector clients. He has also led/been part of teams in multitude of consulting engagements. He was part of Evosys and Oracle’s consulting team previously and worked for clients in NA, EMEA & APAC region.