Top 5 Ingredients For Developing Cloud Native Applications

Harish Thyagarajan

20 Sep 2017

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Cloud native application is a growing trend that promises to develop as well as deploy applications faster and in a cost-efficient way by leveraging cloud services to get the runtime platform capabilities like scalability, performance and security. More than 60% of enterprises (worldwide) are building their applications strategy on cloud platforms.

The number is expected to double by the end of the year 2020. All the companies that are tech-savvy are deploying path-breaking technology solutions and cloud-native applications, this is helping them stay well ahead of their competitors.

Here are some of the Ingredients for developing cloud-native applications.

Microservice Architecture Pattern

The microservice architecture pattern aims in delivering self-contained software products that implement a single capability, which can be developed individually and can be tested and deployed for propelling the agility and time to market of the end product. While designing the microservices, it is extremely important to design it to run cloud-native. A major challenge in designing the cloud-native application is the ability to operate the application in a distributed environment across the application instances.

Automating the Cloud Platform

A cloud platform offers platform services in order to run the business applications, it manages the network and the security access within the cloud environment. Cloud is very cost effective and does not require a huge capital investment to set up and manage the data centre. The elasticity of the cloud platform lets companies start small and grow limitless but only for the infrastructure.

A cloud platform which cannot be completely automatically provisioned, cannot provide the speed and agility promised by running cloud-native applications. One will have to follow the infrastructure as code pattern, which prescribes to define the infrastructure in the similar way that one writes software programs in code. This lets you reuse some of the widely used best practices for testing purposes, version control, and software – lifecycle management.

You can also build, test and deploy the application with minimal human interaction required. Combining this with infrastructure as code into a continuous delivery pipeline will give the provisioning speed that is needed to fulfil the promises of the cloud-native apps.

Serverless Functions

These are single purpose, small functions that are caused by events without the need to manage the runtime environment. With the serverless functions, asynchronous event-driven architectures can be built using the single purpose microservices. Functions are usually developed in common languages like Node.js or Java.

The term serverless could be a bit misleading as the code also runs on servers, the key difference is that the cloud provider takes care of spinning up instances for running the code and scaling out under load. Therefore, FaaS (Function as a Service) is a popularly used synonym. The typical user’s cases for FaaS are the use cases that are triggered by the event in a cloud like the arrival of an event on a queue, processing the log events or the execution of the scheduled tasks.

Apart from FaaS, the cloud providers offer many other serverless functions that can be used by the cloud-native application. Think of services for data storage at scale, IoT services, Big data and stream analysis services. These services are usually built from open source solutions. The benefit of using these cloud services in the cloud-native applications is that you do not have to manage the platform for these services, which is often complex by nature requires specific skills. These offerings allow you to focus on the functionality without having to worry about setting up or running the software.

A shift in the DevOps Culture

Adapting to cloud-native applications is not just a tech-driven change, it also needs a culture change. Automation of the entire software delivery pipeline is possible only if the development and the operations do not work in silos, but function as a team with shared responsibility, delivering a software product from a concept.

In reality, one will see that the operations consist of platform engineers that are responsible for the development, automation as well as an operation of the cloud platform. The development will consist of developers who build apps that can run on a cloud platform. Adopting the DevOps principles is another major ingredient for the cloud-native applications. The product teams that comprise the operations and development will ensure that the software, as well as the delivery pipeline, operates with the right speed.

Cloud Reliability Engineering

This is a concept derived from the Google site reliability engineering. It is based on the idea of approaching a platform administration as software engineering. Adopting the concepts of infrastructure as code not only automates the platform provisioning and application deployment but also makes the platform self-healing as well as reliable.

Transforming the Ops team to the platform engineering team, which constantly works on improvising the performance reliability with the help of principles that are defined by site reliability engineering is critical for achieving this goal.

Cloud native applications help firms in staying well ahead of their competitors by enabling them to deliver innovation at a much faster pace and in a cost-effective manner. If companies bring in the people and culture aspect while building cloud-native apps, rather than just sticking to the right technology or tools, the business will become more effective.

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