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Hackernoon logoCloud-Native Yay or Nay: Reasons to Use Cloud-Native Technologies by@drishtishastri

Cloud-Native Yay or Nay: Reasons to Use Cloud-Native Technologies

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@drishtishastriDrishti Shastri

Specialist, Marketing and Communication at BNY Mellon | Pershing.

Cloud-native has been the talk of the town for quite some time now. Some developers think it’s just hyped way too much and will soon diminish from the limelight. Others think cloud-native will revolutionize software development and is here to stay! 

What do you think?

To know what I think, keep on reading!

What is Cloud Native?

With a cloud-native technology, a scalable app can be designed and run in the dynamic environment of a public, private, or hybrid cloud. Cloud-native is a strategy that exploits the benefits of a cloud computing platform for developing and operating applications. Cloud-native technologies are used to design applications that are built on container-backed services, used as microservices and managed by agile DevOp processes and on-going delivery operations on a supple infrastructure.

Where operating teams manage traditional applications manually, they deploy cloud-native applications on an infrastructure that abstracts the basic primitive computer, storage, and networking. Developers and operators dealing with this new application range do not interact directly with the infrastructure providers ' application programming interfaces (APIs). Alternatively, according to DevOps Teams ' policies the architect handles the assignment of resources automatically. The controller and organizer are key components of the orchestration engine, handling the allocation of resources and the applications ' life cycle.

One thing we need to understand is that cloud-native is much more than just signing up to a cloud provider and using the cloud to run your pre-existing applications. Cloud-native has a major effect on the design, implementation, deployment, and operation of your applications.

Cloud-native platforms reveal a flat network overlaid by current cloud-based networking topology. Analogously, the native slab of storage is often abstracted for exposing container-integrated logical volumes. Space allocations and management rules that programmers and inventory managers should control can be determined by operators. The abstraction of infrastructure not only addresses the portability needs for cloud environments but also enables developers to use emerging patterns for developing and deploying applications.

Cloud-native computing uses an open-source software stack to be Containerized (each process is packaged in its own container, this facilitates reproducibility, transparency, and resource), Dynamically Orchestrated (containers are actively scheduled and managed to optimize resource utilization), Microservices-oriented (applications are segmented into microservices, this significantly increases the overall agility and maintainability of applications). 

The above description can be very overwhelming and hard to understand, especially when one is trying to implement cloud-native from scratch. But we’ve got you covered! Here’s everything you need to know.

Elements of a cloud-native environment - 

  1. Container (for infrastructure)

Let’s go by the basic definition of a container - something that contains or holds things. A container in cloud-native more or less means the same. The thought behind creating a container was to hold everything one needs to run a particular software into one executable package instead of having very many different executable packages, each with its own portability, and then fetching all of them at the time of execution. 

The advantage of using a container is that it is highly portable and therefore, an application becomes independent of its environment, letting the same container run on the test, development and/ or production system. 

2. Orchestration (for management)

Placing things in a container is just the first step of the way when trying to leverage the offerings of a cloud-native environment. This undoubtedly solves the deployment problems, but there are challenges further if you’re keen on benefiting from the cloud as a whole. 

To add new application bases or to shut down the running ones, there’s a list of things you need to know and apply - 

  • screen your system 
  • trigger the startup or shutdown of a container
  • ensure that all necessary configuration parameters are set up
  • balance the heap between all the active application instances
  • share validation privileged insights between your containers

All of this, when done manually requires a lot of time and effort and becomes a tedious process. One needs the correct set of tools to accomplish this and hence the very many orchestration solutions built by AWS, Docker,  Kubernetes are so popular in the market. 

3. Microservices (for architecture)

Cloud local applications are worked as an arrangement of microservices. The concept behind this architectural style is to build a multi-application system, built out of variegated smaller applications. Such systems are referred to as microservices. They work together to provide your system with its overall functionality. The exact functionality of each microservice is defined, its boundary and API are well defined, and a relatively small team develops and operates it. 

4. DevOps (for development)

DevOps is the joint effort between software engineers/ developers and IT activities with the objective of continually conveying top-notch software that unravels client challenges. It can possibly make culture and a domain where building, testing and releasing software takes place swiftly, habitually, and all the more reliably. 

Persistent delivery, empowered by Agile product development, is all about constantly sending small batches of developed software to production, via automation. This way, an organization can deliver software frequently, at a faster pace, and seek quick feedback back from the users. 

What is Cloud Infrastructure?

First things first, we need to make it very clear that using Infrastructure-as-a-Service doesn't automatically make an infrastructure "cloud-native”.

Cloud-native is concealed behind useful, API-controlled, software-managed infrastructure that has the purpose of running applications. The running of the infrastructure with these characteristics creates a new pattern for the efficient management of that infrastructure.

Cloud's native architecture is designed to create flexibility through complexity and functional program abstractions. Native cloud apps permit you to operate them even if the network is not managed by you. Instead of traditional infrastructures or human procedures, it requires developers to create software-controlled applications and to reveal the requisite operability hooks.

“Cloud-native infrastructure is not something you can just buy and be done with it.”

Even though there is a mob of businesses that want you to believe you can buy a product that provides you with native cloud infrastructure, you just can't throw money and do it. Why? Many cloud-native sections are an evolution of the practices of DevOps, which require new ways of working and a culture of learning. You probably won't benefit from cloud-native technology if you have a sluggish, highly regulated or conventional premature setting. Consider the advantages and disadvantages to find out if the problem is solved. You need to spend time learning how your systems comply and adapt accordingly when building confidence on top of chaos.  ​

What Cloud Infrastructure is not?

Cloud-native infrastructure is not only running infrastructure on a public cloud. Just because you rent server time from someone else does not make your infrastructure cloud-native. The processes to manage IaaS are often no different than running a physical data centre, and many companies that have migrated existing infrastructure to the cloud4 have failed to reap the rewards.

Cloud-native is not about running applications in containers. When Netflix pioneered cloud-native infrastructure, almost all its applications were deployed with virtual-machine images, not containers. The way you package your applications does not mean you will have the scalability and benefits of autonomous systems. Even if your applications are automatically built and deployed with continuous integration and continuous delivery pipeline, it does not mean you are benefiting from infrastructure that can complement API-driven deployments.

It also doesn’t mean you only run a container orchestrator (e.g., Kubernetes and Mesos). Container orchestrators provide many platform features needed in cloud-native infrastructure, but not using the features as intended means your applications are dynamically scheduled to run on a set of servers. This is a very good first step, but there is still work to be done.

Should you buy or build a cloud-native infrastructure?

In reality, without some infrastructure management, many applications will not even be running on cloud-based services. It’s always advisable to use existing services & products, to address your requirements,  rather than building infrastructure applications. Always keep that as the last resort. But you can’t be scared of lock-ins, because let’s face it, there are always going to be some sorts of lock-ins to some degree. Needless to say, the worst lock-in you face is often the one you create for yourself. So, be wise while making this decision.

Is your solution even cloud-native?

Cloud-native solutions allow you to deploy, iterate, and re-deploy quickly and easily, wherever needed and only for as long as necessary. That flexibility is what makes it easy to experiment and to implement in the cloud. Cloud-native solutions are also able to elastically scale up and down on the fly (without disruption) to deliver the appropriate cost-performance mix and keep up with growing or changing demands. This means you only have to pay for and use what you need.

Cloud-native solutions also streamline costs and operations. They make it easy to automate a number of deployment and operational tasks, and — because they are accessible and manageable anywhere — make it possible for operations teams to standardize software deployment and management. They are also easy to integrate with a variety of cloud tools, enabling extensive monitoring and faster remediation of issues.

Finally, to make disruption virtually unnoticeable, cloud-native solutions must be robust and always on, which is inherently expensive. For use cases where this level of resilience is needed, it’s worth every penny. But for use cases where less rigorous guarantees make sense, the level of resilience in a true cloud-native architecture should be easily tunable to deliver the appropriate cost-reliability balance for the needs at hand.

What's the right way, though? One thing that I've observed and learned throughout the years is that best-of-breed and fit-to-reason innovation is normally the correct approach. This implies native everything, however, you despite everything should be clever about picking solutions that will work long haul, native or non-native. 

Will there be greater unpredictability? Obviously, yet this is actually the least of your stresses, considering the development of multi-clouds and IoT-based apps. Things will get mind-boggling out there regardless of you utilizing a native framework solution or not. You should get the hang of its multifaceted nature, and do things right the first run through.

Launching Cloud Adoption

Here are several phases with which organizations should launch Cloud Adoption:

  • Change Management plan The initial move towards adopting a Cloud is to make a Change Management plan. Each change includes some level of risk thus, to alleviate the dangers and migrate application easily without causing any bottlenecks, a point by point plan is an unquestionable requirement. 
  • Intensive testing Once the arrangement is set, one may test a generally safe application chosen from the application archive. Migrate the application and afterwards do intensive testing. When the trials are fruitful, attempt the more dangerous ones and afterwards move them each in turn.
  •  Promoting the Adoption technique - The subsequent step is to showcase this new system to the team with the goal that individuals know and are prepared for change. Make a presentation and an execution plan which intends to support the team. Offering best practices and connecting with the group likewise helps in building up a culture to embrace cloud-native rapidly. 
  •  Institutionalize the platform The last advance is to standardize the platform in the wake of increasing critical involvement in the tools and platform utilized for Cloud adoption. This guarantees just the platform that works best for a particular enterprise is utilized. In this manner, sparing time taken in trying out various platforms that ultimately don't work.
  • Choosing the right method for your cloud migration

    There are multiple ways in which one can choose the right platform and the method to migrate to the cloud, here’s what we will be talking about in this article - 

    • Lift and shift i.e. Rehost
    • Lift, Tinker, and shift i.e. Replatform; and
    • Refactor

    (I)Lift and shift - Rehost

    Rehosting or the lift and shift approach is a forklift way to deal with application migration to the cloud with no alterations in the code. This methodology includes lifting either some piece of the entire application from on-premise or existing cloud environment to another cloud environment. 

    As of today, it is considered as the most widely recognized migration strategy. It contains 40% of all migrations on account of its readiness, agility, and speed in contrast with re-platforming and refactoring.

    This is useful for large enterprises that want to move quickly in the current business process with little or no disruption. And once the conversion is complete, it becomes simpler for the programs to automate because the hardest aspect is already removed.

    Who should choose rehosting?

    Here are some regular occurrences when you should be picking rehosting: 

    1. Enormous number of relocations from time to time This lift-and-shift approach ought to be picked if it's basic, brisk, and let’s face it, cheap. Also, most importantly, when you have a great deal of relocations to do time and again. Furthermore, you have to factor in the arrangements, the spendings and how things will pan out post-migration. On the off chance that you have lifted and shifted non-cloud devices, procedures, and individuals into the cloud, you’d need to rectify that. 
    2. Test situations  Application testing makes a significant situation to run the applications effectively. Be that as it may, in the event that they aren't overseen well, it very well may be done effectively with a lift-and-move way to evade interruption.
    3. Pain points If as an organization you’re hoping to decrease your on-premise foundation costs quickly, those bearing an excess of cost in keeping up physical framework or in the event that you have been confronted with some cloud debacle, then this works out best for you. A typical convincing occasion could be the earnest departure of a server centre or hosting supplier. Choose to settle on application rehosting to get your applications moved to the cloud with minor or no alteration and furthermore appreciate smooth back up.
    4. Virtualization and IaaS abilities  In the event that the available assets are capable of virtualization and Iaas, at that point rehosting matches their ranges of abilities, while Replatforming and Refactoring need more aptitudes. 
    5. Business and off-the-rack applications  It shapes as an adept decision for businesses having a few applications on-board, that need running with no intercession or change. These are commonly business and off the rack applications, and rehosting is a decent system to initially move it onto the cloud with this methodology for what it's worth and afterwards streamline. 

    (II) Lift, Tinker, and Shift i.e. Replatform

    Here, a piece of the application or the whole application is improved with a modest quantity of up-versioning in API before moving to the cloud. This changes from adding a couple of functionalities to it to totally re-architecturing them before they can be rehosted or refactored and in the end deployed to the cloud. 

    The re-platforming approach guarantees a break arrangement among rehosting and refactoring, permitting remaining tasks at hand to exploit base cloud usefulness and cost improvement, without the degree of asset duty required. 

    Developers can likewise reuse the assets they are familiar with, for example, inheritance programming dialects, advancement systems, and existing caches in the application. Replatforming can be utilized to include new highlights for better scaling and utilizing the held assets of your cloud environment. There are approaches to incorporate the application with local highlights of the cloud while practically zero code adjustments.

    When should you be re-platforming?

    1. Application modification is required

    Replatforming is necessary where companies want to make changes (up-versioning) to the application API and then migrate it to the cloud. This may be because the root system does not embrace the cloud, or because businesses want minor changes without hindering the program. In these cases, certain fine-tuning is necessary and the best choice is to re-platform.

    2. To avoid any post-migration process

    Organizations that have used rehosting approaches have found that there are a host of post-migration things to do to understand the cloud's value. The feasible solution is, therefore, to make the application changes simply during the migration. Therefore, in that case, re-platforming works best.

    3. Take advantage of cloud
    Instead of merely shifting the application into the cloud, organizations are looking to leverage more cloud benefits, such as scalability, elasticity and economy.

    4. Check out more expertise in the field

    If you have available resources for your company that have recently worked with cloud-based solutions and can now mould cloud-based applications or take shortcuts in the migration process, try using the Replatforming method.

    (III) Re-architect or Refactor

    Refactoring is the process in which you run your applications on a cloud provider's infrastructure, also known as the Service Platform (PaaS).

    Refactoring of the application is a bit more difficult than the other two, as it must be made sure that it does not impact the application's external behaviour. For example, if you have a resource-intensive application, it could lead to a larger cloud bill because it involves the processing of big data or images. In this scenario, the program needs to be redesigned to maximize the use of resources before going into the cloud. 

    This process is the longest and most money intensive method, yet it can deliver the lowest monthly cost of the three approaches along with a high potential to increase the resilience and performance of the cloud. 

    When to choose Refactoring?

    Here is a list of instances when you can turn to re-factoring - 

    1. When an enterprise wants to leverage cloud benefits
    Refactoring is the best choice if there is a strong business need to add, scale up or improve performance by cloud delivery-which in the current non-cloud environment is otherwise not feasible. All in all, the old ways do not meet the requirements, and if you stay in the old ways, in this period of challenged rivalry, the business may be flipping over as an imminent risk.

    2. Scaling                                                                                            

     If a company wants to expand its present framework or restructure its code to leverage the full potential of its cloud capability.

    3. Increase efficacy

    The process of refactoring leads to cost savings and activity enhancements, flexibility, response, and safety.

    4. Leverage agility     

    If your company wants to boost its efficiency by shifting to a service-based system to strengthen business continuity, then that technique is the trick. And this is despite the fact that in the short term, it is often the most expensive approach.

    Based on what your business’ needs and expectations are, you should choose the way you migrate to cloud.


    Ultimately, it’s your call! 

    At TVS Next we believe, this is your decision at the end of the day. To migrate to cloud-native or not! Every company has the task of determining which controls it wants to carry out and when. Most procedures must work on the basis of the center-hand definition of which faults and bugs can be identified in the software development code and the model settings. Includes such stuff as tracking what containers are doing and deep knowledge of cloud-native applications operating on them should be achieved. It requires a change to protect the new architecture of the network.

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