As the world increasingly moves towards a digital-first approach, businesses must adapt their software development processes to stay competitive.
Cloud native application development is one of the most important trends in this space. It offers significant advantages over traditional on-premises development models and focuses on building applications designed to run in cloud computing environments.
A study by Gartner found that by 2025, cloud native platforms will serve as the foundation for more than 95% of new digital initiatives. For reference, in a similar 2021 study, less than 40% of all initiatives were expected to be cloud-based. This shift is happening in a big way and is happening fast.
Cloud Native Application Development: What Is It and Why Should You Care?
Cloud native application development is building applications designed to run in a cloud computing environment instead of traditional physical hardware infrastructure. A cloud-based application is built to take advantage of cloud services, such as on-demand scalability, reduced infrastructure costs, and increased flexibility.
The Benefits of Cloud Native Application Development
Cloud native apps are built using cloud-based resources and services, which makes them more scalable and easier to deploy than traditional apps. It’s an approach to designing and building applications that takes advantage of cloud computing’s inherent scalability, agility, and cost-effectiveness.
There are many benefits to developing cloud native apps, including:
1. Increased Scalability
Cloud native apps are designed to be more scalable and agile than traditional apps. They can handle more users and traffic with minimal additional development effort. Your business can automatically scale cloud resources up and down as needed to meet fluctuating demand at the point of change. You pay for what you need when you need it. In traditional deployment models scaling up required significant additional capital investment and time.
2. Faster Deployment
Cloud native apps can be deployed much faster than traditional apps, helping you drastically improve the speed and efficiency of your application development process. By taking advantage of the cloud, you can quickly and easily deploy new services and applications without having to worry about lead time for provisioning the underlying infrastructure. Cloud native applications are also easier to update. Many cloud native applications have no database or other stateful components that need to be modified when new features are deployed. The application itself can be updated without downtime by simply pushing a new version of the code to the server. This makes it possible for teams to rapidly deploy new features and often get feedback from users in minutes rather than days or weeks.
3. Improved Resiliency & Reliability
Cloud native apps are also much easier to make resilient than traditional apps. They are built on top of infrastructure that is designed with redundancy in mind. They can recover from failures more quickly and continue to function even if part of the system goes down, reducing risk of data loss due to a single point of failure (SPOF).
The cloud also offers much more straightforward options for automatic and easily accessible backups; if the worst happens, your business can recover a recent version of your application almost immediately from anywhere and resume business with little downtime. With traditional infrastructure, only the largest players could justify the cost of the physical infrastructure required to support this level of resiliency. With cloud native infrastructure, every size organization can afford enterprise-level resiliency and reliability.
Importantly, companies using cloud native applications can deploy new features or bug fixes in a matter of minutes. This is possible with declarative provisioning of immutable infrastructure (often called Infrastructure as Code or IaC), an architecture where every component in the system is disposable and replaceable upon failure. This allows companies to easily replace components without losing data or causing downtime.
4. Reduced Long-term Costs
At first glance, it can seem difficult to compare the costs of traditional vs. cloud native infrastructure because they are different paradigms. Since cloud native has some cost accounting based on compute time and other metrics which can fluctuate up and down, it’s difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison with traditional infrastructure, which generally has a fixed upfront cost, and then a very consistent run rate over time. Concerns about potential for cost overruns due to the variable nature of cloud native infrastructure can lead to false assumptions about long-term cost controls. When we look at the cost over time, well-architected cloud native infrastructure is invariably lower cost.
Cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) provide access to all the resources needed to run cloud native applications at a low cost per hour or month, depending on how much capacity you need. Two of the six pillars of the AWS Well-Architected Framework are Cost Optimization and the recently added Sustainability. Since resources are scaled to need, it not only keeps costs optimized, but an important corollary is a reduced waste of energy.
When properly architected, cloud-based applications inherently will reduce your infrastructure costs. When you use the cloud, you only pay for the resources that you use, which can save you a lot of money compared to traditional infrastructure, where you are obligated to pay upfront for all the resources you might eventually use.
5. Increased Flexibility
Cloud native apps offer increased flexibility as they can be deployed to any geographical region. You can choose the region (or regions) that best suit your needs and can easily switch between regions if your needs change.
You can also scale your cloud resources (and therefore costs) up and down to match demand, as we mentioned earlier in this post. Your cloud application should be configured to only use what you need when you need it, making your investments incredibly efficient.
Readily available cloud functionality allows development teams to focus on their application code rather than on infrastructure management. They can move faster and be more agile in their development process.
Cloud native applications also deliver strategic security features. When your solution is designed with security in mind, businesses can better protect data and user information. Many issues arise from traditional network perimeter security. There are seven design principles for security in the cloud:
- Implement a strong identity foundation
- Enable traceability
- Apply security at all layers (Zero Trust)
- Automate security best practices
- Protect data in transit and at rest
- Keep people away from data
- Prepare for security events
The Security pillar of the AWS Well-Architected Framework includes the ability to protect data, systems, and assets to take advantage of cloud technologies to improve your security.
7. Distributed Access
Additionally, since cloud native applications are not inherently tied to a specific geographical region, they provide better access to distributed workforces and protection from regional disruptions. This makes them perfect for emergencies like natural disasters or other situations where it might be difficult or impossible for people outside of an area to access a specific region, such as a corporate data center.
Tips for Success with Cloud Native Application Development
The advantages of cloud native applications are clear: they’re easier to update, faster to deploy, and require less IT maintenance than on-premises apps. These factors contribute to their lower costs over time. They also provide the flexibility and scalability of cloud services, which means you have more control over your IT budget—and more opportunities for growth.
As the world moves more towards cloud-based solutions, developers need to know how to create applications that are cloud native.
Here are some tips for success for your cloud native app:
- Define your application’s requirements up front.
- Make use of cloud-based services and APIs.
- Use a microservices architecture.
- Deploy your application in a containerized or serverless environment.
- Automate your application’s deployment and management.
If you’re outsourcing this work to a cloud native application development firm, ask questions about their processes, security workflows, and cloud-based skills and experience. Do they follow a standard such as the AWS Well-Architected Framework?
Cloud native app development is the future of software development. It offers businesses a number of advantages, including faster feature deployment, lower IT costs, increased reliability, improved security, and a greener footprint.
Launch Your Cloud Native Business Application
Looking to develop cloud native applications quickly and efficiently? Our team at Soliant Consulting can help you get your business application up and running on the cloud in no time while also providing support for updates and maintenance down the line. Our services are reliable and cost-effective – meaning you’ll save money in the long run.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you take advantage of all that cloud native application development has to offer.