Introduction to Cloud Native ApplicationsApplications that are developed and deployed using cloud-based technologies are known as Cloud-Native Applications. They are hosted and managed by the cloud. It is built, tested, deployed, and managed in the cloud. In other words, it is run from end to end in the cloud. These applications exploit the advantages of the cloud computing delivery model.
Cloud-native application platform software aims to revolutionize software delivery by supporting platform ops and DevOps capabilities. Source: Gartner, Inc
Its development is an approach to speed up building new applications, optimizing existing ones, and connecting all of them. It involves DevOps, agile methodology, cloud platforms, containers like Kubernetes and Docker, and continuous delivery. It speeds up the process of development and deployment. There are the term Microservices here. These are discrete and reusable components. They are designed to use in any cloud environment.
Its applications are mostly based on a microservices architecture. This multidimensional approach represents a challenging change cycle where complete focus and attention are paid to the journey rather than the destination. Therefore, this approach is all about building new applications and modernizing the existing ones based on the principles of the cloud, adopting the services and processes that are optimized for the agility and automation of cloud computing. But how can this be done? Is there any related platform?
Why are Cloud Native Applications Important?We need a platform for developing its applications to build, test, and deploy them. An organization needs a platform for building and managing its services that automate and integrate DevOps, microservices, continuous delivery, and Containers.
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What are the various types of Cloud Native Platforms?Cloud-Native Platforms are mainly divided into two forms:
- Structure Platforms
- Unstructured Platforms
Structured PlatformTo address the shortcomings of PaaS, some companies have come up with open-source projects. These platforms are structured platforms that address the shortcomings of PaaS. VMware has created such platform Cloud Foundry. Red Hat also created OpenShift. Both of these platforms are open source. They support multiple languages and Frameworks.
Unstructured PlatformMany business and startup build their own platform using cloud-based and homegrown tools. These unstructured technologies start working together to move towards semi-structured platform models. It’s one of the examples coming is from Open Container Initiative (OCI) and Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Netflix, Airbnb, and Pinterest built their application platform favoring an unstructured UNIX-like tool model.
How do Cloud Native Application Services Work?
Building and managing Cloud-Native applications automate and use the concepts of DevOps, Continuous Deployment, Microservices, and deploying Microservices in containers. Microservices is a modern architecture that allows the development of the application as a set of tiny services; each service has its business logic, runs in its isolated process, and communicates with other services via HTTP REST API endpoints. Each Microservice is usually deployed, scaled, and managed independently of other Microservices which constitute an application.
It often happens in an automated fashion, enabling frequent updates in batches to production. It also helps in getting fast feedback and quick fixes to bugs. Containers usually manage all Microservices as distinct independent services, Docker and Kubernetes come into the picture. Containers allow computing, memory, and networking resources for different Microservices. VMs were suitable for monolith applications, but in the case of 10s or 1000s of different Microservices, Containerization is the best way to deploy and manage them. Containers are lightweight and provide their own isolation for packaging Microservices into single units. The whole components process of building and running modern applications includes –
- It is the base that provides all computing resources for applications.
- Modern public Cloud computing services and Private Cloud provide all the services to run, scale, and manage all Microservices.
Provisioning the infrastructure
- Tools to provide the infrastructure.
- Tools such as Terraform and Ansible help in this process.
- Services provided by Cloud computing companies to architect an Infrastructure.
Applications RuntimeIt provides –
Deployment, Orchestration, and management of ApplicationsTools such as Kubernetes for Deployment and Orchestration of Microservices in Containers. Services discovery happens through a tool such as –
Cloud-native storage platforms manages data for stateful applications and solves ongoing data storage challenges in Kubernetes or other cloud-native infrastructure-based cloud-native environments. Click to discover about, Cloud-Native Storage Solutions
What are the best tools for Managing Cloud Native Applications?
- Fluentd – Used for logging. It collects and shares log data and send it to log aggregations tools such as AWS CloudWatch.
- Prometheus – Monitoring tool which records Time-Series data for distributed Microservices.
- Kubernetes – Container orchestration system to deploy and manage Containers.
- ELK Stack – Provides complete monitoring solution.
- Grafana – A Visualization tool.
- AWS, Google Cloud – Provides Cloud computing services.
- Istio – Enables Service Mesh.
Benefits of Cloud Native Application PlatformThe cloud native application platform provides consistent development and automated management experience across public, private, and hybrid clouds. Listed below are some pivotal benefits regarding the same.
Faster ReleaseIn today’s world, the key point of an organization's success is its service speed. The faster an organization can conceive, build, and ship value to customers, the more likely it will succeed. And for faster service, DevOps plays a crucial role. Using DevOps, they transform the software delivery pipeline using automation, building, testing, or deploying automation. And cloud-native applications support DevOps processes and automation, which is not possible in local development processes and limited server-based software developer processes.
Ease of ManagementIt helps to make infrastructure management effortless. Using serverless platforms like AWS Lambda and Azure function, they don’t need to manage or worry about operating like configuring networking, allocating storage, and provisioning cloud instances.
Reduced CostContainers manage and secure applications independently of the infrastructure that supports them. Industries are using Kubernetes for containers. Kubernetes is an open-source platform that is standard for managing resources in the cloud. Its applications use containers; hence it fully benefits from containerization. Alongside Kubernetes, there is a host of powerful tools. So it has standardization of infrastructure and tooling. Hence, it helps to reduce costs.
Reliable SystemIn cloud-native applications, we use approaches like microservices and Kubernetes. It helps to build applications that are fault-tolerant with self-healing built-in. Even when a failure occurs, we can easily isolate its impact. Hence, it does not impact the entire application and does not take down the entire application.
Avoid Vendor lock-inDays are gone when legacy vendor issues of some year lock-in licensing proprietary hardware. Today, hybrid and multi-cloud are normal as it is a world of open source and cloud technologies. Enterprises are using an on-premise data center and at least one public cloud platform. Even the conversation among the cloud platforms has become graduated to enabling portability across clouds. So now, we can never lock into a single vendor. Redhat OpenShift is an example of this. Enterprises are not choosing just one infrastructure. They are making cloud-native applications that can run on any infrastructure, such as public or private cloud, without any changes. So users can run an application on any platform without locking it into one vendor’s cloud.
ScalabilityAuto scalability is the main feature of cloud-native applications. To handle future needs by default, applications will scale automatically. And it will cost only for the resources that will be in use.
Auto-provisioningCloud-native applications support auto-provisioning. They will automatically go for self-service and programmatic provisioning when they need some resources. So this will help applications to run smoothly without the need for any manual intervention. Its platform provides a new runtime environment for securely, efficiently, reliably, and at scale operating the applications.
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What are the challenges of Cloud Native Application
- People nowadays are trying to shift their old on-premise applications to the cloud. But this is not feasible as they can't take advantage of an essential feature of cloud-native. So, instead of this, they have to create new cloud-native applications.
- User needs to adopt new approaches. The waterfall model or Agile development might not be enough. They have to adopt Minimal Viable Product, rapid iteration, multivariate testing, and a DevOps model.
- It includes many new terms, such as Containerization, microservice architecture, and observability. This is all due to a new way of doing things. Hence, the user has to leave old approaches and adopt new ones.
What are the best practices for developing Cloud Native Applications?
The best practices for developing Cloud Native Applications:
Use Microservices Architecture
Microservices architecture is one of the essential aspects of cloud-native application development. It breaks down an application into more minor, independent services that can be developed, deployed, and scaled separately. This approach helps in making applications more resilient, scalable, and flexible. It also enables developers to work on different application parts independently, reducing the time and effort required for development and deployment.
Microservices architecture has several advantages, including:
- Fault Isolation: With microservices, if a part of the application fails, it does not affect the entire application.
- Independent Deployment: Each microservice can be deployed independently, which makes the deployment process faster and more efficient.
- Scalability: Microservices can be scaled independently based on the workload, which ensures that resources are utilized efficiently.
Containerization is another critical practice in cloud-native application development. Containers provide a lightweight, portable runtime environment that isolates the application and its dependencies from the underlying infrastructure. This approach makes deploying and scaling applications across different environments easier without worrying about compatibility issues.
Using containers has several benefits, including:
- Consistency: Containers ensure that the application runs consistently across different environments.
- Isolation: Containers isolate the application and its dependencies from the underlying infrastructure, which improves security and reduces the risk of conflicts between different applications.
- Scalability: Containers can be scaled horizontally, which ensures that resources are utilized efficiently.
Use Infrastructure as Code (IaC)
Infrastructure as code (IaC) is a practice that involves automating the infrastructure setup and configuration using code. This approach ensures consistency across different environments and reduces the risk of human errors. It also makes it easier to manage infrastructure at scale and enables organizations to adopt a DevOps culture.
Using IaC has several benefits, including:
- Consistency: IaC ensures that the infrastructure is consistent across different environments, which reduces the risk of configuration errors.
- Scalability: IaC makes it easier to manage infrastructure at scale.
- Version Control: IaC enables infrastructure to be version-controlled, which makes it easier to track changes and roll back changes if necessary.
Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)
Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) is a practice that involves automating the software development pipeline from code commit to deployment. This approach ensures that any changes made to the application are thoroughly tested and deployed to production quickly and efficiently. It also enables organizations to release new features and updates faster, improving overall agility and competitiveness.
Using CI/CD has several benefits, including:
- Faster Deployment: CI/CD ensures that changes are deployed quickly and efficiently.
- Consistency: CI/CD ensures the application is consistent across different environments.
- Quality: CI/CD ensures that the application is thoroughly tested before deployment, which reduces the risk of errors.
Monitoring and Logging
Monitoring and logging are essential practices for cloud-native applications. It helps identify and fix issues before they become critical, reduces downtime, and improves the overall user experience. It also provides insights into the application's performance, which can be used to optimize the application and infrastructure.
Using monitoring and logging has several benefits, including:
- Improved Performance: Monitoring and logging provide insights into the application's performance, which can be used to optimize the application and infrastructure.
- Reduced Downtime: Monitoring and logging help in identifying
Unlike traditional server-based solutions, serverless solutions feature automatic scaling, high availability, a pay-per-use billing system, and increased agility for increasing productivity and optimizing costs. Using serverless technologies is one of the best practices for cloud-native applications as it not only helps in running code, managing data, and integrating applications without having to provision or maintain servers, but you can also use serverless technologies to improve performance.
A world of clouds surrounds us all. Enterprises are moving to the cloud very rapidly as it provides more features to the user. Handling data, building applications, and providing services using the cloud is very easy. They are easy to manage and cost only on a use basis. So what are your thoughts now?
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