Why make the transition to cloud native for your enterprise

December 29, 2021
Why make the transition to cloud native for your enterprise


Before investing in any technology, it's an important aspect to ensure and investigate the benefits it has in return, for your business and customers. When the global statistics are considered, nearly 65% of enterprises are seen building their application strategy on cloud platforms, with the surge in usage expected to rise in the following decade. So, why is it that industries are shifting to a cloud native setup?

Given the consumer demands of this generation, faster responses, updates, new features, personalization, and so on form the hallmark of a good customer experience. In a traditional framework, there are often constraints more than possibilities. For instance, let's picture a hospital that largely depends on the manual update of data or has followed an outdated IT system for a prolonged time. Would they be able to keep up or deal faster with a larger influx of patients? Or a detailed update of every patient visit?

Now visualize a hospital that is not constrained by such manual infrastructure. Where a patient can walk in and there are instant updates to doctors, immediate updates of health reports, check-ins, and detailed patient history available, a tap away. In this cloud-based setting, the benefits of cloud native services lift the constraints of traditional infrastructure. This can help the business focus on the customer experience rather than technological errors. Overall, cloud native helps you seamlessly move from idea to execution in a short span of time.

What is cloud native technology?

Cloud native technology is a modern approach to building and running software that helps build an infrastructure that is flexible, scalable, and manages complexity. In the age of software development, switching to a cloud native application helps bring ideas to market faster and respond sooner to customer demands.

What are cloud native applications?

An application that is specifically designed for cloud computing architecture is a cloud native application. In layman terms, a native app is one that is designed for a specific platform. In the case of a cloud native app, they are run and hosted on the cloud. These apps take advantage of cloud computing frameworks, cloud native technology and the services available on different servers.

Components of cloud native

Cloud native is a concept where new tools and technologies are introduced and developed based on the industry's requirements and demands. However, there are certain components that form the baseline of cloud native infrastructure. Irrespective of the order or how these tools are used, any organization that is involved in utilizing these tools is said to be a cloud native organization. Some of the tools include,

1. Containers

Containers are a part of cloud native services and are small software packages that contain all the resources required to run that code in a discrete unit of software. Applications can be containerized which makes them more portable and manageable.

2. Microservices

As the word describes, microservices is an architecture of breaking down an application as a collection of services. As a part of cloud native tools, each microservice performs a specific function and is interconnected to the other services. In cloud native, this form of decentralization is an advantage as an issue in one service does not affect the entire application and makes troubleshooting easier.

3. CI/CD

Continuous integration and delivery can be defined as a set of practices in cloud native application development that support smoother software development and deployment cycles. They allow different silos of the organization to work together while continuously integrating any changes required and testing the delivery model through automated integration.

4. Service mesh

Using microservices in cloud native applications includes the breakdown of an application into different services and a complex network of service to service communication. For a cloud native application to work efficiently, these communications must be secure, fast, and reliable.

5. Orchestration

In a cloud native application, the microservice containers are deployed across several public and private cloud platforms. Organizing and ensuring the availability of these containers, load balancing, and other mechanics are handled using container orchestrators such as Kubernetes.

How does cloud native benefit your business?

The needs of each business differ based on objectives but cloud native applications can be customized and designed to make the most of your business goals. They are built and deployed to provide organisations with the ability to make the most of speed, agility and to achieve faster response to customer needs using cloud native solutions.

1. Ease of management

Automation is a huge part of cloud native which forms the major distinction between traditional and cloud native applications. There is an automatic provision of resources, auto scalability features to handle continuous business needs, and automatic troubleshooting and corrective features. This ensures a smoother handling from the business side and a smoother user experience for the customer.

2. A collaborative culture

Not only does cloud native involve agile methodology like DevOps, but also ensures a collection of resources in one platform that is accessible by any part of the business organization. Rather than confining information within their own departments, the information is distributed across several departments so that a collaborative workspace is created. This ensures cross-department communication and allows resources to be used more efficiently.

3. Reduced development cost

Applications use microservices that can be moved around to different projects. Since all the applications are built for the cloud native technology, if a new application has to be developed the microservices can be reused from a different project to the newer project. This greatly reduces development costs. The framework is differentiated into different services and gives developers less time to work on the framework and more on the application's features.

4. Enhanced customer experience with continuous integration and delivery

In cloud native technology. We see a more robust form of testing where updates of the application or the entire application are deployed in small batches. This is done such as user feedback is obtained automatically and the required changes are done at the same time. This step in cloud native application development reduces the worry on post-deployment troubleshooting and helps developers focus on application features and responsiveness to customers.

5. Digital transformation with better analytics

Adopting cloud native infrastructure is more about surviving the changes in the market and climbing, rather than just a competitive edge. The ability to respond faster to customer requirements is a game-changer with cloud native solutions. This leads to a reduced time to market, Faster bug fixes, and release of updates. The automation and testing involved throughout the process help deliver the final product in a resource-efficient manner. Incorporating tools such as AI and ML, marginally better statistics on consumer behavior can be obtained for personalized customer experiences and better alignment of the business goals.

Cloud native versus traditional: weighing the pros and cons

Compared to cloud native, the traditional form of architecture provides boundaries as to what an organization can or cannot do. Cloud native foundation helps break these barriers and has allowed organizations to go beyond a set infrastructure into collaboration, better user experience, functionality, and so on. There has been a radical shift from off-the-shelf software to combining various solutions to form an all in one solution.

Traditional applications are highly monolithic and manual-dependent. The architecture of developers to build an application in the operating system, but shifting the application to a different environment is a tricky situation. The waterfall development model of traditional applications does not allow frequent software updates and suffer from a lack of automation be it in deployment, security, or backup. Given the current generation of consumer demands, the pros of cloud native seem feasible and profitable in the long run compared to sticking with traditional architecture.

Challenges of cloud native application and how to tackle them

Adapting to a cloud native service is far from just a process of downloading software and utilizing it. This requires a change throughout the organization and there is a necessity to keep your staff well trained for the same. Members of the team should consider all aspects of preparation and adaptation before moving on to a cloud native infrastructure.

1. Need of proper training

Transition into cloud native is easier when individuals who have the expertise are available. However, this is not the issue in most cases. Members of the team have to be trained to become familiar with cloud environments. This not only applies to the cloud native application development team but applies to the organization. One can start by setting out the benefits that the club native model provides, and by training the individuals on handling, collaboration, and skill development. Guidance videos and vendor documentation can be a good place to start.

2. Shifting to a different methodology

The traditional model encourages a particular department to work on its specific goal. The same model cannot be applied on a cloud native as a strategy due to its collaborative demands. Shifting to a DevOps methodology may take time, but is profitable in the long run. This methodology encourages collaboration, adaptation to containerization, continuous integration, and delivery and helps adapt to a cloud native architecture model more efficiently.

3. Security

Due to cloud native services running on different platforms, There are several entry points for a date a breach to occur. With many microservices, security can be complicated and difficult. However, ingraining the practice of incorporating security into the developmental process can reduce the risk of threats to security. Practices such as DevSecOps, Multi-Factor authentication, limiting access, and so on can help your teams build code with security in mind, rather than think of it as a post-deployment issue.

4. Need for flexibility

Shifting from a monolithic architecture to cloud native architecture involves an effort to upgrade your systems, teams, and services to a flexible and accelerative model. Post-migration from on-premises to the cloud, it is essential to decentralize parts of your organization, align your goals for each department, and encourage collaborative communication and work amongst all departments. This helps ease the shift from static, longer-duration software updates to frequent, feedback-based applications that fare better in this competitive era.

5. Vendor lock-in

This situation in cloud native technology is influenced by financial pressure or workflow where the customer is forced to receive an inferior product or service from a vendor as switching to a different vendor might be a financial constraint. This may be an issue since it is difficult to move a database once it is set up in a particular environment. To avoid this, businesses need to evaluate cloud native services carefully, keep internal backup data, ensure that data can be moved around easily, or approach a multi-cloud strategy that avoids vendor lock-in.

To transition to cloud native or not to: final thoughts

While it all comes down to your organization’s requirements, it is true that a traditional model limits the capabilities of an organization compared to cloud native architecture that helps businesses approach issues differently based on the problem and the customizations they require. Most organizations are moving from an organisation-based approach to a consumer-based approach to improve operational efficiencies.

Before the transition it is always recommended to analyze the architectural complexity, the services required and the efforts that go into cloud migration. Planning and calculating the actual cost of migration efforts and the return on investment on services utilized in the long run can help consider the decision of switching to a cloud native architecture. Wrapping your head around the possibilities and the tools and technologies used throughout cloud native can be a stretch. Hence, narrowing it down to customized services that the organization may need and benefit from is essential in the decision of transitioning from traditional architecture to cloud native.