Is cloud-native something you’re interested in learning more about if you’re just starting started with digital transformation? These are the most important lessons to be learned from the term “cloud-native,” as addressed in this article. Your development team will be more productive and your company will produce more innovation if you make use of cloud-native features, according to the article.
1. A quick look into Cloud Native’s history
Cloud-native might signify many different things depending on who you ask. Netflix, a mail-order firm that used cloud technologies to become one of the world’s largest consumer on-demand content delivery networks, created the term “cloud-native” ten years ago. Netflix pioneered cloud-native development, redefining, altering, and scaling software development as we know it.
In light of Netflix’s spectacular success, businesses are curious about how cloud-native technology-enabled Netflix acquired such a significant competitive edge by delivering more services faster to their customers.
What are the benefits of going cloud-native?
The phrase “cloud-native” refers to using cloud-native technologies like Kubernetes to automate and scale your business at a faster rate while also structuring your teams.
2. What does Cloud-Native Architecture and Development look like?
Monolith vs. Micro Services Architectures
Adrian Cockcroft, the former Netflix Cloud Architect, changed the architecture from a monolith to microservices after a disastrous release with a missed semicolon.
Monolithic architecture has the drawback of requiring a lot of work to deploy new features into production once they have been developed and tested.
- The coding efforts of numerous groups must be coordinated.
- The simultaneous deployment of numerous items necessitated extensive integration and functional testing upfront.
- The number of languages that could be used by a development team was limited to one or two.
Netflix developers were able to provide new features to their consumers significantly faster once the company switched to microservices.
With microservices, you get a service-oriented design that is loosely connected but still has a defined context. Consequently, it’s not ‘loosely coupled’ if every service must be updated at the same time; similarly, if you must know too much about the surrounding services, you do not have ‘bounded contextual ties. This new architectural concept, microservices, is defined in Martin Fowler and James Lewis’ original blog post, “Microservices: a definition.”
Using Docker and Kubernetes to deploy microservices
Microservices benefit greatly from the use of Docker containers. You can deploy your microservices independently and in multiple languages by running them in separate containers. When languages, libraries, and frameworks are containerized, there is no chance of a stalemate. It’s easy to establish a microservices architecture using containers and relocate them to another environment if necessary because containers are portable and may run independently of one another.
To use Docker containers as an application, you’ll need a mechanism to manage or orchestrate all of your microservices operating in separate containers. Cluster management like Kubernetes or Docker Swarm or another one is required in this case.
Once upon a time, you had to make an educated guess about which orchestrator to choose, but those days are over, thanks to Google’s Kubernetes, which won the orchestration wars. Kubernetes has easy-to-install options from all the major cloud providers.
Most firms need to structure their apps around microservices and operate them in a Kubernetes cluster to remain competitive, but some do run Docker containers on other orchestrators as well, according to this discussion’s conclusion.
The next step is automating deployments now that programs are running in containers and being orchestrated in Kubernetes. DevOps differs from other software development approaches like the waterfall model in that it follows an organized sequence of stages rather than an ever-changing stream of features.
There’s no such thing as continuous delivery if it implies that engineers are constantly upgrading code or deploying new versions every time a single line of code is modified. Automated continuous integration and continuous deployment pipeline release new features and updates to software often as the term “continuous” implies (CICD). The Practical Guide to GitOps contains further DevOps ideas for constructing CICD pipelines.
Monitoring solutions now have to keep track of a greater number of services and servers than ever before thanks to containers and microservices. Aside from the fact that there are more things to keep track of, cloud-native apps generate a lot more data as well, which must be managed.
It’s difficult to gather data from a system with so many moving pieces. For these changing cloud environments, the most modern solution is Prometheus. It was designed from the ground up to monitor apps and microservices in containerized systems at scale. See Kubernetes monitoring with Prometheus, which is covered in detail in this post.
Changes in Cultural Attitudes
How well your company integrates DevOps and cloud-native technology is heavily influenced by the company’s culture. To ensure the software is iterated continuously, internal teams must learn how to use cross-functional methodologies that complement the company’s business goals as well. Even if making the actual conversion to cloud-native is the simplest part of your trip, the most challenging aspect may be making those changes stick and spreading them throughout your firm.
3. Cloud-Native Stack Adoption has numerous advantages for businesses.
When companies go cloud-native, they reap the following benefits:
Greater flexibility and output
With GitOps and DevOps best practices, developers can rapidly test and release new code into production with fully automated continuous integration continuous delivery pipelines (CICD). Instead of waiting weeks or months to implement new ideas, companies may now do it within minutes or hours, resulting in a higher pace of innovation and competitiveness.
Scalability and Reliability Improvements
Cloud bursting, also known as on-demand elastic scaling, enables computing, storage, and other resources to be scaled virtually indefinitely. With built-in scalability, businesses can adapt to any demand profile without having to make additional infrastructure plans or provisioning commitments.
Best practices for GitOps and DevOps give developers a low-risk means to roll back changes, making room for new ideas. Recovery from a cluster meltdown is also faster with the ability to cleanly rollback. Uptime guarantees mean firms are more competitive and can offer stricter SLAs and greater service quality.
Pay-per-use models enabled by cloud-native technology allow economies of scale to be passed through and investment to be shifted from CAPEX to OPEX. Since upfront CAPEX spending has a lower hurdle than ongoing CAPEX spending, more IT resources can be allocated to development rather than infrastructure. Additionally, the total cost of ownership (TCO) and hosting expenditures will go down.
Retain and attract top-tier employees
Developers enjoy working with cutting-edge open source technologies such as cloud-native, which enables them to move more quickly while spending less time maintaining infrastructure. Hiring better developers leads to better products, which leads to greater innovation for your company. Open-source contributions have the extra benefit of helping you establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.
4. Cloud-Native in Practice
Invisible infrastructure means portability and speed
Although many firms desire to move their apps to the cloud, they might also wish to preserve part of their data on-premises or behind a firewall as a backup option. To take advantage of better pricing models or to comply with regulations, some may want the freedom to switch cloud providers. Because of this, organizations must ensure that their systems merely function so they can focus on launching new apps and features rather than investing in infrastructure in order for their applications to be portable.
To remain competitive in the digital age, companies must create an “invisible infrastructure” to support their digital transformation. Infrastructure modifications must be made easier so developers may concentrate on innovation and building new features with less overhead if they want to move quicker. In the long run, we want developers to spend no time writing infrastructure code and instead concentrate on writing great features instead. Reducing infrastructural friction helps companies be more responsive and competitive in their markets.
When we talk about cloud-native applications, we’re really referring to their capacity to scale, be portable, and be developed quickly.
Faster business equals greater agility
A commercial benefit of cloud-native apps is their always-on availability and the ability for your development team to make updates with minimal downtime. Instead of waiting weeks to fulfill client requests, cloud-native applications allow your development teams to do so almost immediately. This new generation of modern applications, architectures, and processes all have one thing in common: they all have increased velocity and agility.
On-going delivery by developers
Cloud-native companies have raised their mean time to deployment from 1 or 2 per week to over 150 per day. In the event of a site outage, cloud-native allows you to quickly restore service.
One of the key differences between those who constantly update their applications and others who struggle to make minor adjustments to their websites is speed. Continuous delivery is quantifiable, which is why unicorn firms like Airbnb and Netflix are celebrated.
Most firms acknowledge the importance of Cloud Native. Of course, democratizing and disseminating knowledge is challenging. How do we make this technology accessible to everyone, not just the privileged Silicon Valley tech companies?
5. Cloud-Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Role
A vendor-neutral open-source framework for automating deployments, scaling, and maintaining applications, Kubernetes is managed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Google invented Kubernetes to run its search engine, but it now contains contributions from Amazon, Microsoft, Cisco, and over 300 other firms.
Kubernetes groups containers into logical units for administration and discovery. It scales with your app without adding extra Ops resources.
Automatic deployments and several simultaneous deployments are likewise safe. This new approach to doing product upgrades is a novel concept for most people. All of these ideas are part of the cloud-native revolution.
To successfully implement digital solutions in various business environments, developers must focus on the applications and other features that directly benefit the bottom line. This leads to the CNCF’s goal of creating a standard open cloud-native platform and toolset that corporations can simply adopt.
The CNCF’s major goal is to create a community and ecosystem for high-quality projects that support and manage containers for cloud-native applications based on Kubernetes.
To build this shared platform, we need:
- The physical infrastructure that lets your program run everywhere, in the public cloud, on-premises, or both.
- Cloud technology platform with pluggable tools for next-generation apps. A platform with pluggable tools for running cloud-native apps.
- Adoption and development of numerous modern cloud-native architectures for new business prospects in data analysis and machine learning; finance; drones; automobiles; IoT; medicine; communications; etc.
Standard cloud-native components
By making use of the many incubation projects accessible in the CNCF, you can simply build up the infrastructure and establish the basis for your teams to innovate. An enterprise’s monolithic platform could only be expanded by recruiting an army of consultants, which took nine months to deploy
However, adopting the CNCF’s ecosystem of community-supported components has saved a significant amount of time. This frees up your time so you can concentrate on the issue at hand, such as implementing machine learning or other data science methodologies to drive innovation in your firm.
6. How cloud-native relates to DevOps
Continuous delivery and DevOps are often used interchangeably
DevOps, or the culture shift that is DevOps, has been facilitated by cloud-native development approaches and mindsets. Teams will naturally come up with new methods to use new technologies if they have them. This frequently happens when new generations of developers join the team, bringing with them a fresh perspective and a new way of looking at old challenges. New continuous delivery tools and processes have been implemented as a result of cloud-native technology, allowing you to build more quickly.
Continuous delivery components provided by Kubernetes platforms (among others) increase speed while also lowering access barriers. When you use continuous delivery, your team may send updates more frequently than just once a quarter or month. Continuous delivery also offers a way to go back and undo changes if necessary. As long as there is a continuous delivery pipeline in place, developers may make changes from source code to production with ease.
Having the ability to roll out changes continually means that your team can more easily roll out tests to specific groups of customers or roll out client requests. Because a rollback is just a mouse click away, developers can recover from failures much more quickly.
Cloud-native push code, not containers – GitOps
GitOps-style deployments work nicely with cloud-native. GitOps integrates Deployment, Monitoring, and Management as a methodology for building Cloud Native apps.
Using GitOps, your team will be able to update Kubernetes-based complex apps more quickly while still ensuring their safety and security. It accomplishes this by utilizing development-specific tools and practices. There’s more on GitOps and cloud-native applications here.