Your company has a traditional approach to app development, where every quarter (if the team is diligent) the apps are upgraded with the feedback the clients offer. This approach has been working for your company for a while, but it’s just not enough for the requirements of today. Clients now want apps that are always on, upgraded daily, and customized for their needs. Does this sound familiar?
The latest trend, cloud-native app development, is slowly but surely becoming a new standard, and you can’t avoid it any longer. What is a cloud-native app and how can you get one?
What is a cloud-native app?
The definition of cloud-native is far from clear. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), founded in 2015, mentioned several characteristics (open source software (OSS), microservices, APIs, containers, and orchestration tools) that helped pinpoint the elusive meaning, but didn’t specify a lot more.
For our purposes, cloud-native apps are apps that take advantage of the features of the cloud to improve their functionality. Their internal structure is made out of microservices with a specific task to fulfill and a clear and efficient way of communicating with one another.
As you might have guessed, the problem here resides in where and how we can store and run our microservices to make this work. The first stop here is a public cloud provider, like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, or Microsoft Azure. This provider will offer us the resources we need to deploy our structure.
Docker containers provide the ideal environment: with each service in a separate container, they can live in different parts of the cloud, be coded in different languages, and be in general quite independent.
We would then use Kubernetes to manage how and where these containers will run. Kubernetes is an open-source orchestration software that provides an API to manage virtual machines and schedule the execution of different containers in them, taking into account the resources they need and the resources available in each virtual machine.
There is a lot to be said about Docker and Kubernetes and how they work, and we will dive deeper into this topic in other articles.
How can cloud-native app development help me?
Due to their internal structure, cloud-native apps have very specific qualities that make them suitable for the high-paced environment of app development nowadays. Some of these qualities include the following:
Since computing and storage resources can scale out as needed, you can start with the bare minimum and grow from there. And, since containers can maximize the number of microservices running on a host, you would save not only resources and money but also time.
As we said before, each microservice is independent of the rest of the application. This allows for flexibility in several ways: for example, if one of the services needs to be scaled, it won’t affect the others.
Another perk of the independent microservices is that the dev team can monitor the different parts of the app separately, tracking them as they’re being updated and detecting problematic code faster and more accurately. Also, the services that need updates more often can have them without disturbing the rest of the code, and the GitOps and DevOps best practices allow the dev team to revert changes easily and cleanly, which encourages innovation.
The container architecture isolates the services so that if a failure occurs in one of them, there are no catastrophic consequences for the whole app, and the recovery is also faster than what would be in a monolithic system. This translates to higher uptime, which gives the client a better quality of service.
Since the open source paradigm is at the heart of cloud-native app development, you’re not stuck with an exclusive vendor and can migrate to products with better conditions at any moment.
How would I go about implementing this?
As you can easily see, cloud-native applications can bring your business to the next level. It’s possible that you have some concerns about it, though, mainly about the learning curve of the new technologies seen here, i.e Docker and Kubernetes, which can be, admittedly, quite steep. We encourage you to test our playground and see how you can accelerate your cloud-native development. It’s completely free, you simply need to sign up and get started!