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Why You Should be Developing Cloud-Native Apps Featured

Why You Should be Developing Cloud-Native Apps "This was shot while waiting for cocktails in the Bombay Sapphire Distillery bar."

Many factors influence an organization’s decision to take advantage of cloud provider offerings. The cloud provides enhanced flexibility and extensibility when compared to on-premises data centers. Companies enjoy economic benefits by exhibiting granular control over resource utilization and only paying for what they use. Housing systems in the cloud also make them more easily accessible by the growing population of remote workers. 

As cloud services evolve, they are moving away from the initial methodology of simply replicating on-premises systems in cloud provider’s data centers. This original paradigm lends itself to the basic financial and capacity management benefits of cloud computing. A lift and shift approach to moving parts of a computing environment to the cloud is the quickest way to use public provider offerings, but may not be the best way to obtain the maximum value from them. 

Where Are You From? 

A simple analogy can be made between the migrations made by humans and computing systems. No matter how extensively one prepares for the move, relocating to a new country presents difficulties which may never be fully eliminated. The migrant will never feel as comfortable as a native in certain circumstances and may always be recognizable as a transplanted individual. Most migrants will never be mistaken for a native-born individual.  

Similarly, fitting legacy computing systems into cloud environments usually involves making compromises and tradeoffs. At a minimum, network connectivity is affected by moving to the cloud which may introduce unexpected latency issues with legacy applications. Other architectural issues may present themselves when planning or executing the migration which cannot be fully rectified. In most cases, a migrated app will never fully integrate with the platform to the same degree as will a cloud-native solution. 

Benefits of Cloud-Native Apps 

Cloud-native apps are built directly on a cloud platform where they can take advance of its flexibility and scalability. The distinguishing characteristics of cloud-native apps include: 

  • Development with multiple, independent microservices;
  • A DevOps delivery model that allows iterative improvements and the ability to quickly add new features;
  • Microservices that can be iterated independently so components can be upgraded asynchronously.  

There are multiple reasons to consider cloud-native app development as an alternative to migrating legacy systems.  

  • The cloud-native approach leads to faster development and allows products to be introduced to the market quickly to meet shifting customer demands. Developing apps in this manner can result in a competitive edge by being more responsive to enhancement requests from the user community.  
  • The ability to continuously make granular improvements to apps results in better products and more satisfied customers. Fixes required for individual features or components of a solution can be made independently, enabling the app to be fine-tuned to meet user expectations without incurring excessive downtime.  
  • Integration with other entities is fostered by a cloud-native development mindset. Microservices and individual components can be developed by different teams and integrated into the finished application. The use of open source tools makes it easier to collaborate across teams and organizations in pursuit of the perfect software solution. 

Some providers are offering training related cloud-native app development.  Amazon has announced an eight-week streaming training series called Building Modern Applications, designed to facilitate the switch by developers to cloud-native apps. If you are considering developing a new application or migrating a legacy app to the cloud, you should take a hard look at how shifting to a cloud-native approach can benefit your customers and your business.

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 Robert Agar

I am a freelance writer who graduated from Pace University in New York with a Computer Science degree in 1992. Over the course of a long IT career I have worked for a number of large service providers in a variety of roles revolving around data storage and protection. I currently reside in northeastern Pennsylvania where I write from my home office.

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