Cloud-native architecture is one of the famous design methodologies that are to make the lives of software developers, and all parties involved in the process of digital product design, easier. Cloud-native computing is mentioned alongside design methodologies, techniques, or practices such as Design Thinking, Agile Design, Lean Startup, System Thinking, Product discovery, Wizard of Oz prototyping, Instructional System Design, Design Sprint, Concierge testing, or X Problem.
As a general rule, design methodologies make the software development process smoother, faster, and cheaper, to name but a few advantages of their application. The bottom line is better, more reliable software as developers who create applications with a design methodology in mind, tend to be well-motivated, and their workflow – optimized.
Building cutting-edge – responsive, and scalable – applications is what many modern organizations strive to achieve and cloud-native technologies are something that can surely enable it. But what makes cloud-native technologies stand out from the crowd of other design methodologies? Is cloud-native architecture worth implementing? What are the use cases it’s most appropriate for? Let’s see.
Table of contents:
- Cloud-native technologies in short
- Cloud-native applications in use
- Cloud-native computing – major benefits
- Cloud-native architecture – key takeaways
Cloud-native technologies in short
In brief, the cloud-native concept means „building and running applications to take advantage of the distributed computing offered by the cloud delivery model. Cloud native apps are designed and built to exploit the scale, elasticity, resiliency, and flexibility the cloud provides”.
In other words, cloud-native architecture can be referred to as a design methodology or „an approach to designing, constructing, and operating workloads that are built in the cloud”. The cloud-native world utilizes cloud services together with cloud computing and cloud architecture is naturally opposed to traditional on-premises one – available within the confines of an organization.
But cloud-native definition, may also refer to cloud-native applications – ones that are developed and deployed with the help of cloud-based technologies. What they are based on is a microservices architecture that enables creating or updating applications fluidly. Microservice architecture use results in the possibility to upgrade certain areas of apps smoothly and without disruptions.
You can read more on microservices architecture in our blog article Microservice Architecture: Definition and Introduction >
But microservices are just one piece of the puzzle. Some other examples of cloud-native development or cloud-native approach include containers, service meshes, declarative APIs, as well as immutable infrastructure.
Cloud-native applications in use
Companies that are aligned with the DevOps philosophy are the ones that often make use of the cloud-native architecture the most. Application creation and deployment – or cloud-native application development – is what cloud-native computing can be boiled down to. But apart from flexible, resilient, and scalable apps, cloud-native solutions are also used for creating modern infrastructure.
Zalando, Vodafone, Ericsson, Booking.com, Zendesk, Slack, Salesforce, T-mobile, Spotify, CERN, Netflix, Uber, and Huawei are among numerous organizations that have benefited from making use of cloud-native technologies that way or another.
In turn, some of the tools meant for managing cloud-native apps include Kubernetes, AWS, Google Cloud, Grafana, Envoy, Istio, ELK Stack, and Prometheus. Cloud services in use within cloud-native architecture embrace Lambda, S3, and EC2.
Cloud-native computing – major benefits
Using cloud-native apps or cloud-native architecture offers an impressive number of benefits. Some of them include:
- fast deployment
- delivering better products and services
- keeping up with competitors
- lower cost than in the case of cloud-based applications (no need to own the whole stack, no hardware or software to deploy)
- limited interruptions due to the microservice architecture
- ease of management
The cloud-native world, in general, has huge potential, with being self-healing, easily maintained, and updated via CI/CD as some of its key differentiators. Cloud-native technologies, as Cloud Native Computing Foundation puts it, „enable loosely coupled systems that are resilient, manageable, and observable. Combined with robust automation, they allow engineers to make high-impact changes frequently and predictably with minimal toil”.
At the same time, keep in mind that cloud computing comes with its cybersecurity risks – we’ve prepared an article that will help you to mitigate them. Read more about Cloud Security Vulnerabilities >
Cloud-native architecture – key takeaways
In today’s world, where agility is king, and the only constant is change, you need to be flexible and swift enough to be able to adapt to ever-changing circumstances. And design methodologies, with cloud-native app development in the very center, are a perfect means for that.
Cloud-native applications are developed, deployed, and managed in the cloud environment and cloud-native architecture’s hallmark is adaptability in choosing one of the options or possibilities offered by the cloud.
The cloud nature of cloud-native applications makes them faster and easier to deploy. Cloud computing is also relatively cheap compared to many other technologies. Of course, some costs, like paying cloud providers for storage or appropriate licenses, need to be incurred anyway.
Undeniably, cloud-native technologies reshape the corporate world fast. With them, companies can create software in-house, and business people go hand in hand with IT people, transforming some regular businesses into software ones.
And you, do you have experience in using cloud-native services (or cloud infrastructure) in your work? What do you think it’s most proper for? Is it more useful or efficient than other design methodologies used for developing apps and other digital products?