cloud-native

6 things nobody told you about cloud-native applications

The fast-paced world needs solutions that can solve the dynamic market needs.

That’s why enterprises around the world are building cloud-native applications. According to IDC’s predictions, by 2022, 90% of new enterprise applications will be cloud-native! 

Cloud-native applications are built on a cloud-based infrastructure. It’s known that cloud-native applications are agile, resilient, and scalable applications and help enterprises meet the increasing customer demands and market expectations.

But there’s more to cloud-native applications beyond these popular benefits. There are lesser-known things about cloud-native applications that enterprises must know to leverage their potential fully.

6 Things Nobody Told You About Cloud-Native Applications

  1. The exact meaning of cloud-native applications 

Stating that cloud-native applications are those that were born in the cloud could be an over-simplified explanation. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) says that cloud-native applications must have any of the following attributes:

  • They must run in software containers
  • The processes must be centrally orchestrated to utilize resources better and to reduce maintenance cost
  • The components must be loosely coupled, and the dependencies must be described explicitly

The resources are allocated on-demand from a shared and virtualized pool, unlike the traditional on-premise data centers that allocate resources upfront. This helps in easy scalability. Getting a proper understanding of cloud-native will help enterprises to use it correctly.

  1. Cloud-native development is a continuous process

Cloud-native application development is not a one-time effort. Business and customer needs are continuously evolving. What works today might not work in five years, or what might seem like the right technology choice currently might become unimportant later. Cloud-native applications work on the foundation of continuous delivery.  That’s why they are also perfect for DevOps culture. They allow enterprises to deploy cloud-native applications quickly and keep innovating. Enterprises must also remember that cloud-native strategies are not static. They change with technology and businesses. So, flexibility and faster decision-making are essential. 

  1. Culture change is important

Speaking of DevOps, which is the foundation of cloud-native development, you must also know about the cultural change that could occur during cloud-native adoption. Enterprises cannot follow the existing processes or ways of working as they did while building legacy applications. DevOps is based on the idea of cross-functional collaboration. So, enterprises will have to change the way developers, testers, designers, and other teams work. They can no longer work in silos. There is a shared goal that every team member has to work together to achieve. The processes and workflows have to be re-engineered. The enterprise will also have to ensure that the idea of collaborative work is effectively communicated and propagated throughout the enterprise.

  1. Cloud-native applications prevent vendor lock-in

One of the main challenges that enterprises face during cloud migration is vendor lock-in. In the early days of cloud computing, enterprises relied entirely on a particular vendor for end-to-end cloud management. The vendors promised to offer centralized support, volume discounts, etc. However, too much dependency on a single cloud provider can be harmful. The enterprise would not be able to switch its workload to another vendor if needed. And even if they did switch, they would incur huge expenses due to migration and sometimes even invite legal implications. As cloud-native applications run on multiple cloud environments, enterprises don’t have to worry about vendor lock-in. They can switch workloads between different cloud environments and avoid the dilemma of working with a single vendor throughout.

  1. Supports polyglot programming

Cloud-native applications are built on polyglot programming, i.e., they support the use of multiple languages simultaneously. These languages are chosen to fulfill specific functionalities. For example, a cloud-native application can use Node.js for development and Python or Flask for APIs. The advantage of this approach is that different languages for different functionalities allow developers to develop applications faster, achieve the expected business outcome, and build an application aligned with customers’ expectations. A single-language application might not deliver that level of outcome. However, enterprises must remember to manage the regulatory requirements such as maintainability and data security for each programming language to build a robust and compliant application.

  1. Can be built on stateful or stateless services

Enterprises are often torn between deciding whether the application must use stateful or stateless services. There’s no single, ideal solution to that. It is situational and depends on what the developers plan to achieve. For example, if the application needs information temporarily and in a transitory manner, then stateless services might be an ideal choice because it doesn’t store or reference information of previous operations. The stateful services remember specific details such as user details that can be referenced when the application moves from one session to the next. However, stateless is less complex and, hence, preferred by developers while building an application. Cloud-native applications can be built on either of these services depending upon the business need.  

Conclusion 

Although cloud-native applications offer several benefits to enterprises, they have some limitations too. To begin with, cloud-native applications are so complex that getting executive buy-in can be challenging. Every concept from the architecture to cost benefits needs to be explained in detail to gain support from executives. Sometimes getting that approval can be a difficult task. Executives may also hesitate to incur additional costs and resources on hiring and training people with new skill sets. Technical leaders or CIOs must demonstrate the value of cloud-native applications to gain support. They need to have a robust cloud migration strategy to embark on this journey. 

The article has been written by Anurag Sinha, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Wissen Technology

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