Understanding Cloud Native Architecture and Applications

Susan Asher | Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Understanding Cloud Native Architecture and Applications

Cloud native architecture, the most modern way of developing applications, increases collaboration, scalability, availability and speed to market new services. With cloud native applications, as your needs grow for them, developers can quickly and easily make high-impact changes frequently and with minimal effort.    

Based on microservices, independent functions that are responsible for doing just one thing, cloud native applications are the wave of the future. By 2025, Gartner estimates that more than 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud native platforms, up from 30% in 2021. 

Benefits of Cloud Native Applications

  • Simplifies building, deploying, and managing parts of an overall application
  • Enables you to scale parts of the application independently
  • Keeps iterations of applications online even when one of them fails
  • Provides ability to move applications across environments
  • Enables continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD)
  • Enables frequent updates with no downtime
  • Brings applications to market faster than ever before.

Why become cloud native?

For years applications have been created using a monolithic architecture. The term “monolith” refers to a single block stone of considerable size. Monolithic apps are built so that everything regarding that application is all in that one block of code. For example, a monolithic application for a retail app might include functions for searching for products, ordering, online chat, the cart, the packaging information, the shipping information, the customer address and contact information, reviewing products, and dozens of other functions In the monolithic architecture, all the functions work together inside the application. If one of those functions breaks, other functions could break, or worse, the entire application could break and remains offline until someone can fix it. 

A monolithic application takes a long time to develop and deploy. Think about it. Let’s say an application has 100 functions, self-contained modules of code that accomplish a specific task. Because this is all one interdependent entire application, certain parts of the code affect other parts of the code. When one part of the code breaks and you have to fix it, or simply update a section of the code, that might have a deleterious effect on another part of the application that previously was working fine. To fix a monolithic application, you need to take it offline.

As businesses and the usage of applications grow, there can be scalability problems. Scalability refers to the ability to add or remove portions of the application in response to business needs. The single deployment unit means that the monolithic application has to run entirely within a given server, which doesn’t allow for parts of the application to be scaled independently.

Why are Companies Moving to Cloud Native?

When you move a monolithic application into the cloud, it doesn’t have the elasticity, scalability, and resiliency cloud native apps have. Elasticity refers to the ability to quickly expand to meet changing demands for peak usage like on Valentine’s Day when thousands of people order chocolates or flowers from a store that normally receives few orders. Resiliency refers to the ability to recover from failures and continue to function. Cloud native apps are built to give you all those benefits and more.

What is Cloud Native?

Cloud native is a technical and business approach to using the cloud to create business applications quickly and more frequently than ever before. The cloud native approach is about building applications for the cloud using microservices to increase speed to market, respond quickly to business needs by scaling as needed, and integrate the continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline. Cloud native apps can be developed in days or weeks as compared to months, the time it often takes to create monolithic apps. Applications built with a cloud native architecture allow developers to make simple changes to them in minutes without ever taking them offline. The apps stay live as developers simply add new functions to them.

Unlike monolithic applications, cloud native apps are built in chunks, or microservices. Each microservice is responsible for doing one thing and doing it well. These independent services could be deployed in containers or as APIs in various places across the internet and communicate with each other. An API, otherwise known as an Application Programming Interface, allows two computers to communicate with each other.  For example, a retail site might allow customers to pay with PayPal. When the customer goes to check out and pay with PayPal, it may appear as if he is still on the retailer’s website, but he’s actually communicating with PayPal. The user is none the wiser when he uses an API. So, too, when you go to a Discount Travel website and search for the best hotel and air travel rates, the travel website uses APIs to connect with hundreds of hotels and airlines and comes back to you with a list of the best prices.

Most microservices are typically housed in a container. For example, a customer application for an online retailer could be composed of three microservices — an ordering function, a payment function, and a shipping function — each in its own separate container, running independently. There are normally numerous instances of each container, so if one goes down, users don’t even notice it as another instance of that service takes over. Companies can continually improve their applications by just including more microservices.

Why Cloud Native Matters 

Taking a cloud native approach to developing applications—adopting a microservices architecture embracing the cloud and DevOps concepts — is the key to unlocking all advantages of the cloud. But most companies lack the skills it takes to do that. In this rapidly changing digital transformation landscape, Gartner finds that 70% of employees realize they don’t have mastery of the skills they need to do their jobs.

ExitCertified can help you select and execute IT training courses for all your needs, including emerging open-source technologies, to help teams rapidly acquire new skills and optimize business results.

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