Summary

  • A quick look at Cloud-Native Apps
  • How is the Cloud Native apps development process like
  • Some of the tools used in Cloud Native apps development (DevOps, Kubernetes)
  • Some of the Cloud Providers (Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud)
  • Why your business might need it

Cloud-Native Applications vs Cloud-based/cloud-enabled Applications

Nowadays, the term ‘cloud’ is somehow a common phrase especially in the world of tech. Perhaps a bit more common to an extent that many don’t know the difference between cloud-based, cloud-enabled, and cloud-native applications.

In this article, you will get a brief understanding of the difference and also take a closer look at the Cloud Native Applications.

Basically, these different terms are all about how and not where applications are developed and deployed for public use.

Cloud-Enabled Application: Refers to the old-school application building and transferring them to a cloud. They depend on local resources as well as dedicated hardware.

Cloud-Based Applications: This is the middle ground between cloud-enabled and cloud-native applications.

Cloud-Native Applications

Cloud-native application is the newest and the latest way of building, maintaining, and improving apps. Every part of the application is done online.

Cloud-native apps involve a combination of (microservices) multiple smaller services – which means that the developer can reuse one service to create another whenever possible.

The main advantage of this approach is easier work for developers to upgrade or improve a given stack within the application easily without any disruptions or downtime.

Also, since most of the cloud-native apps are built and operated on the public cloud, the developers are more concerned about collecting significant feedback on any failures present on the application. For instance; it’s possible to collect real-time data, search for error logs and troubleshoot incidents, set alerts, as well as do backup.

Compared to Cloud-based or cloud-enabled apps, the Cloud-native apps deploy faster, given that they don’t require any hardware or software for the exercise.

How Cloud-Native Applications are developed

In the development process of cloud-native apps, certain tools and approaches are required.

There are two sets of developers. Those that build the application (Development Team), and those that test it prior to implementation of the build (Operations Team).

The latter team shares feedback with the first team on any bugs that need fixing, or necessary changes on the app.

Since the operations team has to certify and approve the application for use by the public, their vigorous tests and recommendations may delay the entire launch.

For instance, when development is concentrating on the next phase of the app and yet there are changes required on a previous project of the same; developers have to go back and forth to effect these changes. This means weeks/months of delay.

To remove barriers between these two teams and ease the entire process, there was a need for collaboration between the two teams. That’s where DevOps comes in. (Development + Operations)

DevOps

This is the approach that both developers and operators use in creating and improving the efficiency of cloud-native apps.

Since it’s infinity collaboration, this ensures consistent and smooth deployment throughout the work.

How DevOps is implemented (preferably published as a table)

Dev Section

  1. Plan stage – laying down the objectives of the app for the customer/business operations. Tools used include Jira and Confluence
  2. Coding stage – With the help of popular tools such as git repository, Puppet, Docker, Kubernetes, etc – different teams work on the source code for the application. This stage collects different versions of developed codes, though not the final one
  3. Build stage – Putting together different parts of the already developed codes in stage 2. Tools necessary include, Apache Maven and Gradle Build Tool
  4. Test stage – This is to check for any bugs, fix compatibility issues, etc. Some of the tools used include Gitlab CI, Jenkins

After several tests, the dev team is convinced that the application is ready for deployment. But before it’s deployed, it has to be passed on to the Operations team for another process.

Ops Section

  1. The code is deployed to a controlled working environment b the Ops team. This is where tools such as Docker and Kubernetes come into play.
  2. After deploying the code, its results are constantly monitored for performance. Some of the tools used for this phase include Nagios Network Monitor and OpenNMS
  3. Once the monitoring phase comes to an end, all the feedback gathered during the test phase is sent back to the planning stage on the side of the Dev team.

Once the collaboration prior to final deployment is successful, then the application is ready to launch onto the public.

But the continuous integration between developers and operators doesn’t stop, even after launch.

DevOps is vital for any app development due to its reliable automated Security tools, rapid delivery model – that allows the increased pace of deployment/updates for any application versions, and most importantly cost-effective operations. All these reflect quality business results at the end.

Some of the tools used in cloud-native app development

Kubernetes

What is Kubernetes

Kubernetes is an open-source platform for the smooth running and managing of container-based workloads.

To illustrate it in simpler terms, Kubernetes is responsible for all application containers. It ensures that each container is in its right location and that all these containers work together without conflicts.

Why are Kubernetes important

Applications are commonly built based primarily on monoliths (or modules) that combine different functionalities into one deployable object.

But these monoliths have their downfalls. For instance, if different teams manage different monoliths, deployable them as a whole would trigger some complexities.

Also, this consumes way lot more resources, including fixing an issue on the app. ( This is noticeable when it comes to scaling the app )

To make work easier for developers, these monoliths were replaced by a new technique known as microservices. They simply work by splitting all functionalities of the app into mini versions, that can run independently.

The importance f the microservices means – during an app update, only a specific microservice will be replaced, and not the entire app.

Additionally, having a dedicated machine for each service/functionality – would require a lot of resources for smooth app operation. To reduce this dependency on resources, “containers” were introduced.

Teams working on a given area of the application can package neatly their work onto one container while the others have their other containers too. This guarantees uniformity when it comes to the functionality rollout. Also, no matter where each team is running its services from – when in the same container, it’s a no-brainer that they will run the same way.

Features that make Kubernetes important

These features help the developers solve downtime, debug Issues and monitor the entire application. Also, make sure containers communicate and operate in sync with each other.

Since Kubernetes is all about managing all these containers and services on virtual hardware, it has to reduce the manual effort of managing these machines and also has to ensure the allocated resources are maximized efficiently.

To achieve that purpose, Kubernetes works by automating most of the repetitive operations. Developers will only need to explain what they need clustering, then simply rely on Kubernetes to do the rest.

Comparison between Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, and Google Cloud

All these are cloud service providers. Data storage online takes a lot of space and costs money. But with different providers, it’s much easier to compare and pick what works for you.

For instance, it’s much affordable for you to pay for what you use instead of extra bills on unutilized resources

It’s important to note that, all these 3 providers have encryption and good security for data and files stored on them. You also have the option of making certain files accessible to the public or limit them to private access only.

Comparing these 3 cloud providers, it would be fair enough to base the subject on the pricing – since that’s where many differences occur at.

Microsoft Azure:

Came into the market at the start of 2010.

Majorly retails its software as a service ( SaaS) and its main target are retail businesses and Internet of Things (IoT) systems.

Its customers include: NBA (which uses machine learning to analyze every basketball pass, shot, and play) and Bosch

Object Storage: MS Azure refers to this as Blob Storage. Blob an acronym for Binary Large Objects. But in simple terms, it’s a file.

Archive Storage: Azure initially didn’t offer archive and backup services but presently it’s now available.

Pricing: A user needs a better experience to find his/her way around the complicated software licensing. Also, its situation-based discount is a bit hard to understand too.

Pros: Since most PC users run Windows and other MS software, the loyal customer base can easily receive service contracts and discounts as an upside

Biggest Weakness: Most users cite it to be less enterprise-ready, especially in areas of technical support and documentation.

Amazon AWS

Launched in 2006, making it the oldest and experienced in the cloud market offering.

AWS holds the majority of cloud storage provision share, with over 50%.

It’s commonly used by Facebook and Vodacom, among other media sites such as Reuters and Baidu of china

Object Storage: S3 (Simple Storage Service).

Archive storage: available, especially for infrequent accessed data storage purposes. Enterprises can also store secondary copies of their backup – for Disaster Recovery exercises. Though billed separately, the archival storage can start at $1 monthly per Terabyte.

Pricing: Though AWS offers a cost calculator to help its users gain an estimate of expenditure revenue, there are variables that limit its accuracy. You might need other tools to help with cost management on AWS software

Biggest Weakness: Cost structuring especially for high workloads volume, its UI and User Experience is a bit complicated – making it difficult to use at times.

Google Cloud

Launched towards the end of 2011, initially to strengthen YouTube Platform and other Google services

Has its infrastructure primarily meant for Startups, and this is realized by offering special discounts to startup companies

Some of its clientele includes: PayPal and LG

Object Storage: Also known as Cloud Storage.

Archive Storage: available for at least a year

Backup Services: available for around $1.2/TB monthly

Other evolving Cloud Providers such as Oracle Cloud, IBM cloud, etc, could significantly widen these similarities and differences over time.

Why Your Business might need a cloud-native app

For businesses that are committed to IT as a core part of their operations, here’s how cloud-native applications present immense advantages to them:

  • Saves time.

Cloud-native apps are simply designed to be easy in terms of managing and maintaining them. Building from the ground up and upgrading them ought to take less time and run smoothly.

The main advantage of simplified work is the turnaround time. Time-sensitive matters are dealt with quicker. Less time for technical issues ensures that a business delivers faster services to its happy customers

  • Productivity

Focus is shifted from maintenance to building new things instead.

  • Flexibility:

Independence and increased usability is the secret.

Each microservice in an app has the ability to scale independently. Should some components require faster updates than others, the cloud-native app architecture allows for this.

In addition, the microservices and containers in an app can be reused as building blocks for other projects. Meaning that developers working from the same platform can access and reuse components of the same application.

This approach reduces development costs and less energy for complex tasks such as building a sophisticated app function.

Microservice present fewer problems and resolving them ought to take less time with little to no disruption for the live user of the application

  • Fewer Expenses:

A better term to summarize this would be “efficient budget use”.

Since cloud-native apps reduce downtime immensely, money that could have been spent on repairs won’t be incurred anymore. With time, this productivity would translate to more profits

According to this tech trends study done by Deloitte in 2019, (link: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/br/Documents/technology/DI_TechTrends2019.pdf), most businesses that has embraced IT are prioritizing revenue-generating AI apps compared to cost-saving ones.

Additionally, the study notes that cloud-native apps that incorporate AI and automation in a business, have the potential of reducing overall operating costs by more than 25%.