While there are many different definitions of cloud native architecture (ask any of your colleagues), the majority of them boil down to this: Cloud native architecture is fast and agile, which allows organizations to evolve rapidly while continuously meeting customer demands. Today’s user wants responsiveness, innovation and an always running application, e.g. no down time. And organizations that can’t provide these qualities consistently will bleed customers.
Organizations can build scalable applications in the modern cloud environment with cloud-native architecture. This process includes using service meshes, microservices, containers, declarative APIs, and immutable infrastructure. These technologies allow organizations to build observable, resilient, and manageable systems that are loosely connected. This allows an organization’s engineers to make significant changes frequently and with ease.
What is Cloud Native?
Here are three foundational parts of cloud native for those wondering, “What is cloud-native architecture?”.
- Cloud infrastructure is essential and the basis of building cloud-native architecture. There are three main types of cloud infrastructure, private, public, and hybrid.
- Modern design is essential for building functional, user-friendly applications. Many developers use the Twelve-Factor application process.
- Microservices are distributed sets of small, isolated services that work by a shared fabric. They are usually deployed independently and developed autonomously.
Principles of Cloud-Native Architecture
While cloud-native architecture will vary from organization to organization, here are some of the uniting principles behind its effective use based on the DIE philosophy. This stands for distributed, immutable, and ephemeral. Ephemeral infrastructures can be easily replaced if there’s a problem. Immutability says don’t reconfigure that system; toss it instead. (In this case, infrastructure as code allows for quick redeployment.) Distribution places problems into segmented sections that engineers can snip off the main system with little disruption. There are many other cloud-native principles; here are a few of them.
- Built-in observation allows the complex and disparate parts of a cloud-native system to be monitored closely in order to optimize further and find and solve bugs.
- Immutability has more applications in cloud-native philosophy, one of which applies to tracking logs. There must be an immutable log of system behavior for errors to be traced.
- Ensure continuous function with distributed systems. The system can continuously function with infrastructure combined as a service with microservices and containers, even if one piece must be taken offline.
Advantages of Cloud Native Architecture
There are many benefits of cloud native architecture for organizations, namely the speed and agility they offer. Cloud native architecture provides a fluid, resilient, and scalable approach to an organization’s computer systems, allowing them to meet market demand effectively.
- Development teams can choose the language, framework, or system that best fits their objectives and projects. This results from using loosely-coupled services instead of a tech stack model.
- Cloud-native reduces an organization’s dependency on any one specific cloud provider. This is due to the portability of containerized microservices; they are inherently flexible.
- The troubleshooting process is simplified through the use of open-source container orchestration. Engineers can spot bugs without tearing apart a whole system.
- An organization’s end-user experience is dramatically enhanced by independently operating microservices. They give developers a greater ability to optimize core functionality to serve the end-user experience better.
Limitations of Cloud Native Architecture
Every organization is different and has different operations requirements. While cloud-native architecture has many advantages, it is not always the most appropriate choice for every organization. And, even if cloud-native architecture is the best choice for your organization, like anything in business, it comes with its own complications and challenges. Here are some of the limitations of cloud native architecture.
- Cloud native architecture is complex and requires a robust DevOps pipeline to manage distributed workflows. Without one, there may be difficulties around responsibilities working with microservices.
- Security risks may arise with the rapid scaling of containers.
- Functionality issues and complex interdependencies can crop up when transitioning legacy applications into microservices architectures.
- Some microservices bring limitations, such as requiring capabilities that are the domain of specific machines, such as Compute, SSD, or GRU.
However, for every limitation, there is a corrective strategy. Here are some ways to address cloud native limitations.
- Establish a DevOps pipeline regarding workflows and responsibilities related to microservices.
- Monitor rapid scaling containers adequately to spot any security risks that arise.
- Create a comprehensive transition plan, and hire outside help if needed for any interdependency or functionality issues.
Leverage Cloud Native Architecture with Encora
Our team of expert software engineers is standing by to assist your organization with its native cloud architecture. We’re here to help from start to finish by designing your cloud architecture, considering your future needs by selecting the correct stack as well as developing any cloud-native applications your organization needs. Here at Encora, we’ve helped hundreds of organizations like yours build and deploy cloud-native architecture. Contact us today to get started!