Cloud native computing allows teams to build and manage services using container architectures, stringing them into applications without worrying about servers. Containers connecting services, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative APIs exemplify this approach, all working together in a loosely-coupled approach for maximum flexibility and development agility.
Initially, architectures required tightly bound clients and servers. Virtual machines were an abstraction that allowed the operating system to be disconnected from the underlying server. This approach allowed hypervisors to emerge as platforms to run virtual machines on hosted environments.
The container runs as a process on a host, independent of the operating system. Virtualization technology is below the operating system and virtualizes the server, not the application. The operating system has to go wherever the virtual machine goes. Operators need to shut it down, boot it back up, and configure it to run with the database and the rest of the stack it depends on.
Container-based architectures for developers and operations teams have modified the previous approach. Containers are symbolic of the cloud native ecosystem and will be core to modern application architectures.
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Discover the 10 key attributes of cloud native applications
Cloud native technologies enable teams to build and run scalable applications in unique and dynamic environments. These environments may be hybrid, private, or public clouds.
“Cloud native technologies are used to develop applications built with services packaged in containers, deployed as microservices and managed on elastic infrastructure through agile DevOps processes and continuous delivery workflows,” writes Janakiram MSV, principal analyst at Janakiram & Associates and an adjunct faculty member at the International Institute of Information Technology.
Some of the benefits of cloud native technologies include:
Reliability. Through microservices and Kubernetes, developers can build flexible applications and quickly isolate the impact of a failure to prevent a total crash.
Scalability. One of the main features of cloud native technologies is the ability to scale automatically. Future needs are anticipated and handled by default, and payment is made only for used resources.
Faster releases. With DevOps, cloud native technologies allow teams to ideate, build, and ship applications faster, resulting in satisfied users and a successful organization.
Reduced cost. Kubernetes is an open-source platform used by many cloud native technologies for managing containers. Containers provide standardization of tools and infrastructure, ensuring the effective use of resources and minimizing costs.
No vendor lock-in. Cloud technologies allow hybrid and multi-cloud use. Enterprises can run applications on any platform, such as public or private clouds, without making lots of modifications. This way, enterprises do not need to choose one infrastructure and face legacy vendor issues.
Cloud native applications are architected to run entirely from and in the cloud. These solutions allow developers to update features quickly and easily. Cloud-based architectures are not created in the cloud but are migrated to the cloud and leverage cloud functions like higher availability and scalability. Cloud native apps are considered an improvement in architecture because of their capabilities.
Here are some significant differences between cloud native and cloud-based apps:
Price. Cloud native apps are cheaper than cloud-based applications because you pay for storage costs and licensing. With the latter, you must own the entire infrastructure and purchase hardware, cooling, and power before teams can deploy applications.
Maintenance. Cloud native apps run on a microservices architecture reducing interruptions, unlike cloud-based applications, which may experience frequent interruptions due to specialized software configurations and hardware migrations.
Ease of use. Cloud native apps are flexible. Developers can build to scale and carry out app upgrades without disturbance. However, cloud-based apps experience downtime as they are tightly integrated, and any enhancements may be required for the entire stack, resulting in downtime.
Implementation. Cloud native apps are faster to deploy since they require no hardware or software, unlike cloud-based applications requiring hardware provisioning and software setup.
In cloud native computing, the base computing unit is the service, which can communicate with other services via APIs. Ideally, each service should be encapsulated within a container and offer a single function — hence the name “microservice.” Containerizing the microservice makes it easy to develop. It can be moved along a single development and testing workflow to production through continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD).
Building on the Kubernetes open-source container orchestration engine, first developed by Google, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation ensures a stack of open-source software to run cloud native applications without being locked into a proprietary software vendor or commercial software.
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