Understanding the underlying basics of Cloud-Native model in IT domain
Cloud has become an essential part of the IT framework. It acts as an accelerator for digital transformation, solves the data woes and enables quicker data processing with better ROI. It also supports the remote work culture that has become a significant part for enterprises amid the pandemic. As per an IBM study, a rapid shift to cloud over the next three years will drive enterprises to move 75 percent of existing non-cloud apps to cloud environments. Today, companies are racing to cloud-native to deliver innovation at scale and lower cost, as a key part of the digital transformation strategy. This is because, having cloud-based applications has help businesses augment their performance, agility, efficiency, scalability while mitigating the shortcomings of internally managed applications and servers.
Cloud-native is an approach to building and running applications that exploits the advantages of the cloud computing delivery model. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation states that these technologies empower organizations to build and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments such as public, private, and hybrid clouds. CHCF also mentions that this form of computing uses an open-source software stack to be:
1. Containerized, where each part (applications, processes) is packaged in its own container. This facilitates reproducibility, transparency, and resource isolation from the underlying infrastructure. Further, containers also provide portability and guarantee consistency across environments.
2. Dynamically orchestrated where containers are actively scheduled and managed to optimize resource utilization. Common orchestrated tasks include scheduling, affinity/anti-affinity, detection of failures and health monitoring, networking, scaling, handling failover, service discovery and coordination of incremental upgrades with zero downtime deployment. There are multiple open tools available, e.g. Docker, Kubernetes, Amazon ECS, Mesos, that provide frameworks for handling the critical task of container orchestration.
3. Microservices-oriented, where applications are segmented into micro-services to increase the overall agility, functionality and maintainability of applications. Here, each micro-services has a well-defined boundary and API, and gets developed and operated by a relatively small team. They communicate with others using standard communication protocols such as HTTP/HTTPS, WebSockets, or AMQP.
To develop micro-services and manage it in different cloud environments independent of each other, we need a cloud-native development framework. This comprises of DevOps, agile methodology, microservices, cloud platforms, containers like Kubernetes and Docker, and continuous delivery. Kubernetes is an open-source system that incorporates functionality such as automation, integration, and self-service. It presents a unified environment for cloud-native development that enables teams to manage and modernize applications efficiently.
Next, an IT team must avoid silos in their quest to cloud progression. This is where DevOps can help all stakeholders to stay aligned to one mission and work continuously to achieve it. It also allows collaboration between IT Ops and Dev Teams. Here, the DevOps must have processes like approaches like minimum viable product (MVP) development, multivariate testing, rapid iteration, and working closely across organizational boundaries. This also involves automation of platform provisioning and application deployment via the practice of Infrastructure as Code or IaC.
Why do we need it?
Cloud-native helps IT by removing constraints and shortening the path to business value. It helps businesses automatically log into what’s going on and gives nice metrics, colorful dashboards and automated notifications. Besides, it improves the quality of IT service by continuous optimization due to better detection of problems and areas for improvement. It also provides real-time notifications.
Apps developed on cloud-native platforms have a significant advantage over on-premises ones. For instance, cloud-native apps are always current, and up to date, whereas, latter needs updates that are delivered on a subscription basis by the vendor, and require downtime while the update is installed. This is because the DevOps framework of cloud-native development help is making changes, and updates constant and iterative, promote a culture of seamless and continuous improvement. Further, cloud-native apps are modular, unlike monoliths architecture of on-premises apps. Next, cloud-native apps have no problem working in a virtualized space and sharing resources with other apps. It is important to remember that shifting on-premises apps to the cloud can result in failures and unnecessary challenges. Hence, it is crucial to regularly build new applications and update existing applications while moving to the cloud. Else, one can dismantle existing monoliths and refactor them using cloud-native principles from the ground up.