Cloud technology, and applications running in the cloud, are becoming more and more common. With this rise in cloud computing, application development has needed to change as well, resulting in what can be called the cloud-native approach to software development.

In this article, you will learn all about cloud-native technology and how cloud-native companies approach building their applications. This will show the differences between cloud-native applications and more traditional enterprise applications.

What is cloud-native?

Cloud-native is an approach with which you can build applications by taking the advantages of the cloud computing delivery model. As a result, you can create flexible, scalable, and resilient applications with cloud-native architecture, helping you bring new market ideas and faster responses to customer demands.

The cloud computing delivery model consists of three services such as Infrastructure as a service, Platform as a service, and Software as a service. Infrastructure as a service or IaaS is the most flexible cloud delivery model, which allows complete control over a business’s infrastructure with effortless scalability and advanced customization. With IaaS, you can directly control operating systems, security components, and applications for your business. Software as a service or SaaS is one of the most popular cloud delivery models. It allows companies to access cloud-based applications without the need to install multiple platforms. Finally, platform as a service or PaaS is a cloud service delivery model which uses a third-party platform to run and develop applications. As a third-party provider provides the platform, it supports the platform and eliminates the need to install other hardware and software. As a result, PaaS is scalable and cost-effective.

A cloud-native architecture combines methodologies from cloud services, DevOps practices, and software development principles. The architecture abstracts all IT layers from networks, servers, data centres, firewalls, and the like., into a single cloud-native layer. Also, it helps in the faster development and building of your products with a better focus on your products and features.

With cloud-native architecture, you can build applications suitable for both public and private clouds. It incorporates the concepts of DevOps, continuous delivery, microservices, and containers. This can offer on-demand access to computing power and applications for developers.

How can we make cloud-native applications?

To build and operate cloud-native applications, you need to adapt our approach to delivering software, and consider the architecture of our application. There are several developmental practices and architectural procedures you can take to build a cloud-native application:

DevOps

DevOps is a relationship combining software development and IT operations. This helps in the quick delivery of products and services, meaning companies can improve the quality of their product and compete effectively. DevOps has its own architecture, which consists of several components: plan, code, test, build, monitor, deploy, operate, and release. These work together and play a significant role in continually improving applications through accelerated responses to measured feedback.

Continuous delivery

Continuous delivery is an automated process of delivering code changes to servers quickly and efficiently. In cloud-native applications, these servers are, of course, in a cloud environment As a result of agile product development, companies can make faster software releases with lower risks and efforts with continuous delivery. In addition, as a result of using automated pipelines, the released software becomes more reliable. With the help of continuous delivery, the delivery team can decide when to deliver the release, resulting in timely feedback.

Microservices

Microservices are an architectural style that structures an application as a collection of small autonomous services. In a microservices architecture, each service is self-contained and implements a single business capability. As this architecture has bounded context, changes in one microservice can be deployed separately from others, resulting in independent development. This means you can update a service without redeploying the entire application, and if one service goes down, it will not take down the whole application.

Containers

Containers are standard units of software that package code and its dependencies allowing applications to run more effectively, quickly, and reliably from one computing environment to another. Containerization of applications is more efficient and speedy when compared with more traditional deployments on virtual machines. This allows you to create and destroy a container with low overhead. With a higher packing density than virtual machines, containers become an ideal compute vehicle for deploying individual microservices.

What are the advantages of using cloud-native practices?

Cloud-native applications offer fast building and deploying, with small dedicated teams to a platform that provides easy scale-out. This process helps an organization with many advantages that are discussed below:

Improved agility and productivity

With practices like DevOps and GitOps in action, developers can do rapid testing and deployment of their code to production. This is done with the help of fully automated continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines. Hence, organizations and enterprises can bring out changes and updates quickly, resulting in greater agility, productivity, and competitiveness.

Improved scalability

Cloud services offer on-demand elastic scaling, which includes effectively limitless scaling of computing, storage, and other resources. As per their requirements, organizations can scale up or scale down their infrastructure when needed without little planning and provisioning. Cloud-native practices enforce a pay-per-use or pay-as-you-go model payment, helping lower the cost of services. With this model, you only pay for the services you use.

Improved reliability

With cloud-native practices like DevOps, developers can now revert changes in an application with relatively low risks. In addition, with these practices, developers can do clean rollbacks if a cluster meltdown occurs, leading to faster disaster recovery and higher availability of their applications. Higher uptime guarantees enhanced reliability and helps an organization’s business be more competitive with better quality of services and meeting their service level agreements.

What are the differences between cloud-native applications and traditional IT applications?

Cloud-native applications and traditional applications differ in a lot of ways. Below are some of the most significant ones:

Application creation: Cloud-native applications are made by implementing practices like DevOps, which helps the smooth transfer of application code to production. In contrast, traditional IT applications use an over-the-wall handoff of finished application code from developers to operations which gives organizational priorities precedence over customer values, resulting in internal conflicts with slow and compromised delivery.

Application delivery: Continuous delivery plays an integral part in maintaining cloud-native applications. Teams can quickly release individual software updates and receive timely feedback with continuous delivery. Traditional IT applications have tended to offer a periodic release of software updates, typically within a few weeks or months.In comparison to more modern methods of releasing software, this approach can mean not being as responsive to customer demands, and result in delays in features wanted by customers.

Application architecture: Microservice architecture helps create cloud-native applications, whereas traditional IT applications have tended to comprise monolithic architecture. Microservice architecture breaks an application down into several loosely coupled independent services. Small separate development teams can work on these services and help make frequent updates, scaling, and failover without impacting other services. On the other hand, monolithic architecture bundles services into one single deployment package. This can create dependencies among services, which is a cause of a loss of agility affecting development and productivity.

Application scaling: Cloud-native applications facilitate automated scaling, while traditional IT applications require manual scaling. Automated scaling helps in reducing human errors leading to eliminating downtimes. Manual scaling includes human operations whereby manual creation and managing of server, network, and storage configurations is performed. This process can be complex, and during scaling, operators may be slow to diagnose the issues correctly.

Application recovery: Cloud-native applications provide rapid recovery in case of an application or infrastructure failure. The container runtime and orchestrator structure of modern applications provide a high density and dynamic virtualization overlay, matching the microservices architecture. In addition, orchestration dynamically manages the placement of containers across a cluster to provide elastic scaling, and recovery or restart in case of failure. In contrast, traditional IT applications may be slower to recover as they run on virtual machines or dedicated and separately-configured hardware. Some VMs operate slowly due to the slow startup and shutdown system and also, there is separate operating system overhead for each VM.

How are Civo and cloud-native solutions connected?

With Kubernetes shaping the future of cloud technology, and being a core orchestration tool for containerized cloud-native applications, Civo takes pride in being a cloud-native service provider. Through this, we aim to enable companies to host core applications with ease by speeding up development, increasing productivity, and reducing costs. As a result, Civo offers production-ready Kubernetes, allowing you to spin up a cluster in 90 seconds with multi-region support and simplified predictable billing.

Summarizing cloud-native

Cloud-native practices and infrastructure are the cutting edge of software delivery as they hold a considerable edge over traditional IT applications. Cloud-native practices such as DevOps increase productivity and collaboration within an enterprise as they facilitate the faster rollout of updates without affecting other services and disaster recovery mechanisms.

If you want to learn more about cloud-native, take a look at our Civo Academy course, Kubernetes Introduction, where we discuss the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Landscape and what exactly is Kubernetes.