6 Benefits of Cloud-Native Applications for Business

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The cloud is helping organizations connect people, data, and processes in new ways to embrace the possibilities enabled by modern technologies. To succeed in a digital-first world, business leaders are bringing business and IT closer together and optimizing processes to create new value for customers.

Today, every large organization is talking about moving to the cloud – and most are actually doing it.

Many are following in the footsteps of companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, who were some of the earliest to adopt cloud technology and helped define them.

There is a broad spectrum of adoption and strategies including:

  • Public Cloud
  • Private Cloud
  • Hybrid Cloud
  • Multi-Cloud

While it’s almost a given that tech startups will be cloud-based, cloud adoption is also happening in large enterprises in more traditional sectors like banking, manufacturing, mining, and telecommunications.

The potential is huge. By 2019, IDC predicts $1.7 trillion USD in spending worldwide to create new business models, operational efficiencies, and customer experiences. Digital transformation is now an executive (often CEO-led) priority.

But just what is shaping this opportunity?

Trend #1 – Digital platforms and ecosystems

By 2020, 60% of all enterprises will have fully articulated an organization-wide digital platform strategy and will be in the process of implementing that strategy as the new IT core for competing in the digital economy.

Trend #2 – Cloud spending

By 2021, spending on cloud services and cloud-enabling hardware, software and services will more than double to over $530 billion, leveraging the diversifying cloud environment that is 20% at the edge, and over 90% multi-cloud.

IDC Cloud Spending Chart 2018

Trend #3 – Hyper-agile applications

By 2021, enterprise apps will shift toward hyper-agile architectures, with 80% of application development on cloud platforms (PaaS) using microservices and cloud functions, and over 95% of new microservices deployed in containers.

Today, leveraging the cloud is vital and an important strategy for all companies as they build on their digital transformation efforts.

But what does cloud-native really mean?


What Key Considerations and Decisions Do You Need To Make Before Modernizing Your Applications?


Cloud vs cloud-native applications

You could have a few VMs and databases in the cloud and call it a cloud migration. Organizations that are truly cloud-based, however, have started to differentiate themselves as being ‘cloud-native.’

There are many aspects to being cloud-native including:

  • Infrastructure Services
  • Automation/Orchestration
  • Virtualization and Containerization
  • Microservices Architecture
  • Observability

Essentially, this means your application is built using modern cloud technologies and is hosted and managed in the cloud end-to-end. This includes writing code, testing and deploying it, and operating those applications, all in the cloud.

Today, it’s not enough to rehost your ageing applications in the cloud – what is often called “lift and shift”. The goal is to be cloud-native.

As you consider your own cloud journey, what are the key benefits you should expect to achieve? Let’s discuss.

6 Benefits of Cloud-Native Applications

There are many benefits to being cloud-native, and keeping them in mind will help you stay the course and prioritize what’s important along the way.


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1. Faster release pace

Time to market has become the key differentiator between the most innovative organizations and their lagging competition.

The faster an organization can conceive, build, and ship more value to its customers, the more likely it is to succeed and avoid disruption in today’s rapidly changing world. 

Modern DevOps involves automation across the software delivery process. Whether it’s with build automation, test automation, or deployment automation, the software delivery pipeline has undergone a transformation that has made it faster and more predictable.

A modern cloud-native application supports DevOps processes, further enabling this automation and collaboration which was not possible in the era of local development and limited server-based software delivery processes.

2. Superior customer experiences

Building a great customer experience requires you to ship new features faster and keep iterating continuously.

It also means you need to take a mobile-first approach to application development and follow human-centred design practices including design thinking.

Today, there is a keen focus on liberating enterprise data by building engaging customer and employee experiences. API-based integration is the predominant way to connect mammoth-sized enterprise data stores with nimble front-end apps.

This gives enterprises the benefit of not having to abandon their decades of investment in legacy platforms, and instead breathe new life into those systems by extending their usage with mobile and web applications.

Indeed, enterprises need to prioritize this in world where their traditional business models are being threatened and disrupted by smaller more agile startups. Cloud-native applications allow you to improve your customer experiences.


Improve Your Customer Experience and Unlock the Value of Your Legacy Applications


3. Ease of management

Cloud-native also has many options to make infrastructure management effortless. It began with PaaS platforms like Heroku and App Engine about a decade ago and has expanded to include serverless platforms like Azure Functions and AWS Lambda.

Serverless computing platforms let you upload code in the form of functions and the platform runs those functions for you so you don’t have to worry about provisioning cloud instances, configuring networking, or allocating sufficient storage. Serverless takes care of it all.

4. Reduced cost through containerization & cloud standards

Containers make it easy to manage and secure applications independently of the infrastructure that supports them. The industry is now consolidating around Kubernetes for management of these containers at scale.

As an open source platform, Kubernetes enjoys the industry-wide support and is the standard for managing resources in the cloud. Cloud-native applications fully benefit from containerization.

Alongside Kubernetes, there’s a host of powerful cloud-native tools. What all this means is that there is standardization of infrastructure and tooling. This, along with an open source model, drives down costs. Enhanced cloud-native capabilities such as Serverless let you run dynamic workloads and pay-per-use compute time in milliseconds.

This is ultimate flexibility in pricing enabled by cloud-native.

5. Build more reliable systems

Downtime used to be accepted as normal and achieving fault tolerance was really hard and expensive. With modern cloud-native approaches like microservices architecture and Kubernetes in the cloud, you can more easily build applications to be fault tolerant with resiliency and self-healing built in.

Because of this design, even when failures happen you can easily isolate the impact of the incident so it doesn’t take down the entire application. Instead of servers and monolithic applications, cloud-native microservices helps you achieve higher uptime and thus further improve the user experience.

6. Avoid vendor lock-in

Gone are the days when legacy vendors issued three-year locked-in licensing for proprietary hardware and. Today, with the proliferation of open source and cloud technologies, hybrid- and multi-cloud is becoming the norm.

Enterprises typically use a combination of an on-premise data center and at least one public cloud platform. Even among cloud platforms, the conversation has graduated to enabling portability across clouds so you’re never locked into one single vendor anymore.

Platforms like Redhat OpenShift are making this a reality by acting as a common management layer irrespective of which vendor provides the cloud infrastructure and resources.


Read More About Application Modernization:


Conclusion

There’s never been a better time to realize the full potential of the cloud by re-architecting or rebuilding your applications as cloud-native.

You can start your modernization journey with an application modernization assessment and then a single pilot project, allowing you to become familiar with this approach before growing your cloud adoption further over time. You’ll want to choose a partner that truly gets cloud-native computing and can help you define and execute your vision.

This partner would need to provide the exact services you need today, and have the breadth of vision to deliver for you tomorrow. They should have a combination of expertise in technical know-how and design thinking. Human-centred design skills go a long way in making a cloud strategy successful within your organization.

Next time you hear people drop the ‘cloud’ word, you know better – think ‘cloud-native.’

Get an Application Modernization Assessment With Architech

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