Why Cloud Native?

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The expression “Cloud Native” represents a modern way of running online services using cloud infrastructure, containers, and orchestration, all powered by the amazing worldwide ecosystem of Open Source software.

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation, itself part of the larger Linux Foundation, has this main goal:

The Foundation’s mission is to make cloud native computing ubiquitous. The CNCF Cloud Native Definition v1.0 says:

Cloud native technologies empower organizations to build and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments such as public, private, and hybrid clouds. Containers, service meshes, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative APIs exemplify this approach.

But what does “Cloud Native” mean? In this context, the word “Cloud” doesn’t necessarily mean “hyperscaler” (that is, AWS, Google Cloud, Azure, or others). Many organizations have their internal cloud infrastructure and use the Cloud Native principles to deploy new innovative services following the DevOps philosophy.

Cloud-Native Apps

A Cloud-Native application follows a few distinctive characteristics:

  • It is automatable; applications are standardized in such a way that they are tested, deployed, and to a certain degree managed automatically by machines. This goal is largely achieved through Kubernetes.
  • It is flexible; containerized applications can be executed without any changes in various environments, from a small laptop to the largest hyperscalers.
  • It is resilient and scalable; Cloud Native applications are highly available, thanks to redundancy, graceful degradation, and continuous monitoring.
  • It is dynamic; applications can scale up and down automatically, following the demand of users, and also respecting budgets and capacity plans.
  • It is observable; so that applications report all telemetry data required to monitor their functionality in real-time, allowing teams to react proactively to issues and plan capacity and costs.
  • It is distributed; applications are no longer deployed as monolithic instances, but rather as a network of cooperative microservices.

Well-designed Cloud-Native applications require a careful design of their microservices, with clear boundaries of responsibility and quality metrics, usually matching the structure of the organization creating them, following Conway’s Law.

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