Is Cloud Native Development Worth It?
The idea behind cloud native app development is to design applications that leverage the power of the cloud, take advantage of its ability to scale, and quickly recover in the event of infrastructure failure. Developers and architects are increasingly using a set of tools and design principles to support the development of modern applications that run on public, private, and hybrid cloud environments.
Cloud native applications are developed based on microservices architecture. At the core of the application’s architecture, small software modules, often known as microservices, are designed to execute different functions independently. This enables developers to make changes to a single microservice without affecting the entire application. Ultimately, this leads to a more flexible and faster application delivery adaptable to the cloud architecture.
Frequent changes and updates made to the infrastructure are possible thanks to containerization, virtualization, and several other aspects constituting the entire application development being cloud native. But the real question is, is cloud native application development worth it? Are there actual benefits achieved when enterprises adopt cloud native development strategies over the legacy technology infrastructure approach? In this article, we’ll dive deeper to compare the two.
Should You Adopt a Cloud Native over Legacy Application Development Approach?
Cloud computing is becoming more popular among enterprises offering their technology solutions online. More tech-savvy enterprises are deploying game-changing technology solutions, and cloud native applications are helping them stay ahead of the competition. Here are some of the major feature comparisons of the two.
While customers operate in a fast-paced, innovative environment, frequent changes and improvements to the infrastructure are necessary to keep up with their expectations. To keep up with these developments, enterprises must have the proper structure and policies to conveniently improve or bring new products to market without compromising security and quality.
Applications built to embrace cloud native technology enjoy the speed at which their improvements are implemented in the production environment, thanks to the following features.
Cloud native applications are built on microservices architecture. The application is broken down into a series of independent modules or services ,with each service consuming appropriate technology stack and data. Communication between modules is often done over APIs and message brokers.
Microservices frequently improve the code to add new features and functionality without interfering with the entire application infrastructure. Microservices’ isolated nature makes it easier for new developers in the team to comprehend the code base and make contributions faster. This approach facilitates speed and flexibility at which improvements are being made to the infrastructure. In comparison, an infrastructure consuming the monolithic architecture would slowly see new features and enhancements being pushed to production. Monolithic applications are complex and tightly coupled, meaning slight code changes must be harmonized to avoid failures. As a result, this slows down the deployment process.
CI/CD Automation Concepts
The speed at which applications are developed, deployed, and managed has primarily been attributed to adopting Continuous Integration and Continuous Development (CI/CD).
Improvement strategies include new code changes to the infrastructure through an automated checklist in a CI/CD pipeline and testing that application standards are met before being pushed to a production environment.
When implemented on cloud native applications architecture, CI/CD streamlines the entire development and deployment phases, shortening the time in which the new features are delivered to production.
Implementing CI/CD highly improves productivity in organizations to everyone’s benefit. Automated CI/CD pipelines make deployments predictable, freeing developers from repetitive tasks to focus on higher-value tasks.
On-demand infrastructure Scaling
Enterprises should opt for cloud native architecture over traditional application development approaches to easily provision computing resources to their infrastructure on demand.
Rather than having IT support applications based on estimates of what infrastructure resources are needed, the cloud native approach promotes automated provisioning of computing resources on demand.
This approach helps applications run smoothly by continuously monitoring the health of your infrastructure for workloads that would otherwise fail.
The cloud native development approach is based on orchestration technology that provides developers insights and control to scale the infrastructure to the organization’s liking. Let’s look at how the following features help achieve infrastructure scaling.
Cloud native applications are built based on container technology where microservices, operating system libraries, and dependencies are bundled together to create single lightweight executables called container images.
These container images are stored in an online registry catalog for easy access by the runtime environment and developers making updates on them.
Microservices deployed as containers should be able to scale in and out, depending on the load spikes.
Containerization promotes portability by ensuring the executable packaging is uniform and runs consistently across the developer’s local and deployment environments.
Let’s talk orchestration in cloud native application development. Orchestration automates deploying, managing, and scaling microservice-based applications in containers.
Container orchestration tools communicate with user-created schedules (YAML, JSON files) to describe the desired state of your application. Once your application is deployed, the orchestration tool uses the defined specifications to manage the container throughout its lifecycle.
Automating cloud native workflows ensures that the infrastructure automatically self-provisions itself when in need of resources. Health checks and auto-healing features are implemented in the infrastructure when under development to ensure that the infrastructure runs smoothly without manual intervention.
You are less likely to encounter service downtime because of this. Your infrastructure is automatically set to auto-detect an increase in workloads that would otherwise result in failure and automatically scales to a working machine.
Optimized Cost of Operation
Developing cloud native applications eliminates the need for hardware data centers that would otherwise sit idle at any given point. The cloud native architecture enables a pay-per-use service model where organizations only pay for the services they need to support their infrastructure.
Opting for a cloud native approach over a traditional legacy system optimizes the cost incurred that would otherwise go toward maintenance. These costs appear in areas such as scheduled security improvements, database maintenance, and managing frequent downtimes. This usually becomes a burden for the IT department and can be partially solved by migrating to the cloud.
Applications developed to leverage the cloud result in optimized costs allocated to infrastructure management while maximizing efficiency.
Ease of Management
Cloud native service providers have built-in features to manage and monitor your infrastructure effortlessly. A good example, in this case, is serverless platforms like AWS Lambda and Azure Functions. These platforms help developers manage their workflows by providing an execution environment and managing the infrastructure’s dependencies.
This gets rid of uncertainty in dependencies version and configuration settings required to run the infrastructure. Developing applications that run on legacy systems requires developers to update and maintain the dependencies manually. Eventually, this becomes a complicated practice with no consistency. Instead, the cloud native approach makes collaborating easier without having the “This application works on my system but fails on another machine ” discussion.
Also, since the application is divided into smaller, manageable microservices, developers can easily focus on specific units without worrying about interactions between them.
Unfortunately, there are challenges to ramping up users to adopt the new technology, especially for enterprises with long-standing legacy applications. This is often a result of infrastructure differences and complexities faced when trying to implement cloud solutions.
A perfect example to visualize this challenge would be assigning admin roles in Azure VMware solutions. The CloudAdmin role would typically create and manage workloads in your cloud, while in an Azure VMware Solution, the cloud admin role has privileges that conflict with the VMware cloud solutions and on-premises.
It is important to note that in the Azure VMware solution, the cloud admin does not have access to the administrator user account. This revokes the permission roles to add identity sources like on-premises servers to vCenter, making infrastructure role management complex.
Legacy vs. Cloud Native Application Development: What’s Best?
While legacy application development has always been the standard baseline structure of how applications are developed and maintained, the surge in computing demands pushed for the disruption of platforms to handle this better.
More enterprises are now adopting the cloud native structure that focuses on infrastructure improvement to maximize its full potential. Cloud native at scale is a growing trend that strives to reshape the core structure of how applications should be developed.
Cloud native application development should be adopted over the legacy structure to embrace growing technology trends.