When was the last time you had to deal with downloading software and having an update for the same a year later? Or a bug that was never fixed but had to be worked around? Or dealing with the fact that the application was available on windows but not on Mac?
When one considers today's generation of application users, the changes are apparent. Not only are these issues a thing of the past, but there has been a whole new approach to application development. Older applications were based on a traditional, monolithic model of development that may not be advantageous to a fast-paced, consumer-based society.
When pitted against a newer model of application development, some features that stand out include faster upgrades, newer features every week, bug fixes and improvements, and security patches which all work together to ensure a smoother performance. This approach to building and running applications is attributed to a delivery model known as cloud-native development.
What is traditional development?
Up until about a decade ago, monolithic architecture was the blueprint behind most traditional applications. Any app development, be it traditional or any other method is a combination of tools, personnel, commands, and goals. These features ultimately combine to form a well-working application, but these factors evolve independently to meet consumer demand.
In traditional development, a monolithic model is used where interconnections are common and each service, function, and line of code is interconnected. Not only do these demand intense manual labor and work dedicated to building applications, but the interconnections also do not always translate to an advantage. If one function is affected, the connected functions and codes are affected which leads to disturbances at the user and developer end.
If one were to visualize traditional development, it would be a stack of services on top of each other, but if a block is pulled out, the stack would require repair on the backend side to stand again. Not only is the model not scalable, but it is also not flexible, leading to updating of features, fixing bugs, and updating security taking a longer duration.
What is cloud-native architecture?
A cloud-native architecture utilizes a cloud computing delivery model. It utilizes an architecture where applications reside in the public cloud, compared to a traditional form that depends on the Operating System to create an application.
To break down the components of cloud-native architecture it includes,
Application programming interface (API) driven communication
Container and microservices-based infrastructure
Works hand in hand with DevOps processes such as agile development, collaborative and continuous deployment, security
In a nutshell, cloud-native architecture is faster, enables continuous development and delivery based on a feedback loop, and is optimized for today's fast-moving business sector. The features of the application are created in the cloud, remain, and are accessed via the cloud, in stark contrast to a traditional form of app development.
What are microservices?
Cloud-native applications are based on subunits called microservices. The standard definition aside, to understand microservices in layman terms, one can visualize a website. For instance, a travel website with several sections such as hotels, stays, cars, bookings, luxury travels, and so on.
While the website is the backbone, each section can function independently as a microservice. Each section has features that need not overlap features of another section. Each microservice or subsection can be altered for features without disturbing the website or the other microservices.
What are the main benefits of microservices?
Microservices is the process of dividing an application into different modules that perform a particular function and that may be independent of other modules. These modules have well-defined interfaces and are deployed individually. The post-deployment operations are taken over by separate teams that not only look after the microservices but also the entire architecture of the website.
Microservices are the stand apart feature in a monolithic vs cloud-native model. Instead of interconnections and stacking of features as in monolithic architecture, microservices are used in cloud-native development. They form self-sustainable containers that can be run on any platform. This translates to a faster, simpler, resilient, and scalable model of app development.