To remain successful in the fast-changing software market, many companies favor cloud-native application development instead of the traditional development approach. Companies can build and deliver high-quality products faster using cloud computing techniques, Kubernetes and Docker, DevOps practices, and approaches such as microservices. Abstraction from many levels of infrastructure in cloud-native development can give companies a competitive advantage and improve business processes.

What are Cloud-native Applications?

These are a set of tools or applications that are highly scalable, fast, and function on the cloud. Cloud-native applications use a Platform as a Service tool, an agile methodology that transforms the entire software development process, and microservices, which function as building blocks of the cloud-native architecture.

Cloud-native applications can easily be mistaken as another tool for the digital-first era or another platform. However, it is a complete shift to different practices, automated testing, design, a customer-centric model, and an accelerated production environment. With shorter delivery cycles and higher quality, working in the cloud native database requires a transformation within the entire development team of an organization.

cloud-native applications

Features of Cloud-native Applications

The microservices that are part of the cloud-native app architecture are packaged in containers that connect and communicate via APIs. Orchestration tools are used to manage all of these components.

Here are some of the key capabilities of cloud-native Applications:

  • Microservices-based. Microservices break down an application into a series of independent services or modules. Each service references its data and supports a specific business goal. These modules communicate with one another via application program interfaces (APIs).
  • Container-based. Containers are a type of software that logically isolates the application enabling it to run independently of physical resources. Containers keep microservices from interfering with one another. They keep applications from consuming all the host’s shared resources. They also enable multiple instances of the same service.
  • API-based. APIs connect microservices and containers while providing simplified maintenance and security. They enable microservices to communicate, acting as the glue between the loosely coupled services.
  • Dynamically orchestrated. Container orchestration tools are used to manage container lifecycles, which can become complex. Container orchestration tools handle resource management, load balancing, scheduling of restarts after an internal failure, and provisioning and deploying containers onto server cluster nodes.

How are cloud-native apps built?

Cloud-native applications rely on microservices architecture. This architectural approach to software development focuses on the creation of discrete, single-function services. These single-function services, also known as microservices, can be deployed, upgraded, improved, and automated independent of any other microservice. This independence enables frequent, iterative updates that do not disrupt the application experience of end-users.

Developers often run microservices inside containers, which package software and all its dependencies so that an application can run in any environment. Containers are typically lightweight, fast to deploy, and amplify the benefits inherent in microservices.

cloud-native applications

Benefits of cloud-native applications

Cloud-native architecture and flexible DevOps practices during applications development give companies many benefits, including:

  • Faster SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle): to serve customers faster, companies use DevOps to transform software delivery pipelines through automation, accelerating the creation of a robust product; Deployment is done online and the latest updates of the software get right into the cloud where the app is deployed and running.
  • Ease of management: automation for feature deployment and application updates helps developers keep track of all microservices and components as they are updated;
  • Reduced cost and time: compute and storage resources can be scaled as needed and optimally. Cloud-based applications can be set up and running quickly, and containers can be used to dynamically increase the number of only highly demanded microservice instances running on a host, saving time, resources, and money;
  • Independent scalability: each microservice is logically isolated and can scale independently of other services. And if some application components need to be performed faster than others, cloud architecture allows you to do so;
  • Reliability: a failure that occurs in one microservice does not affect the operation of neighboring services because cloud applications use containers, which ensures reliability through isolation;
  • Fast recovery: restarting the application is fast thanks to dynamic orchestration, which manages container allocation. It also minimizes downtime to make sure it doesn’t hurt user retention rates.

Cloud-native vs cloud-based apps

If you have been researching this topic for a while you might have come across these terms. But, what is the actual difference between the two? Let’s find out together. The terms cloud-native and cloud-based often get mixed up. Both cloud-native and cloud-based applications work on public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud infrastructures. However, when it comes to design you can still identify a few differences:

Cloud-based applications

Cloud-based apps do not just have the word “cloud” in them. They are solely created to use in the cloud and on cloud platforms. This kind of app can use dynamic cloud infrastructure. However, they are not able to fully embrace the benefits of the inherent components of the cloud.

Cloud-native applications

Cloud-native applications are created particularly for the cloud. Cloud app development is optimized for the internal characteristics of the cloud and can be fitted to a dynamic cloud environment.

cloud-native applications

The future of cloud-native applications

Cloud-native applications have seen increased use in recent years and are predicted to be the future of software development. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation estimated there were at least 6.5 million cloud-native developers in 2020 compared to 4.7 million in 2019.

Cloud-native applications solve some of cloud computing’s inherent problems. Nevertheless, migrating to the cloud to improve operational efficiencies has a range of challenges.