Taking a Cloud-Native Approach to Software Development & Microservices
Time for hardware and on-premises infrastructure has disappeared. With the emergence of cloud computing, most of the businesses, small or big, have already adopted or are transitioning to cloud native architecture to keep innovating in a fast and efficient manner. This approach leverages the benefits of cloud by using open-source software stack to develop and deploy easily scalable and resilient applications.
Through this blog, we will understand a cloud native approach why it matters in the world of software development.
Cloud Native Defined
Cloud native is an approach to developing, running, and optimizing applications by using advantages of cloud computing delivery model. This method allows developers to fully use cloud resources and integrate new technologies like Kubernetes, DevOps, microservices for rapid development and deployment.
In simple terms, cloud native approach is all about creating applications without worrying about the servers and underlying infrastructure. And this flexibility is one of the major advantages of using cloud native approach over monolithic architecture.
In fact, IDC research states that 90% of new enterprises will adopt cloud native approach by 2022.
This is clear that the cloud native approach will completely take over legacy systems in the near future. The on-premise physical server that doesnt integrate with new systems and hinder innovations will be replaced by distributed servers.
Cloud Native Applications
Cloud native applications are created as a composition of small, independent, and loosely coupled micro services. They are built to deliver significant business value rapidly scale and incorporate feedback for continuous improvement. These microservices are packaged in Docker containers, containers are organized in Kubernetes and managed & deployed using DevOps workflows.
Docker containerization is a set of platform-as-a-service that packs all the software you need to run in one executable package known as container. These containers are OS independent and run in a virtualized environment. Kubernetes, on the other hand, is an open-source container orchestration service which is responsible for the management and scaling of containers. DevOps workflows enable software developers to release and update apps faster using agile processes and new automation tools.
The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) found that containers popularity has picked up the pace and increased to 92% in production environment. In the current times, 91% enterprises have been leveraging Kubernetes, 83% of which is solely used in production process.
Source: CNCF Survey Report
This simply means that organizations are increasingly adopting containerization or moving new workloads as they become more comfortable with containerization service.
Why Cloud Native Approach Matters in Software Development
Cloud native computing saves cloud resources and helps developers to build the right architecture while using best-of-the-breed technologies and tools. The architecture utilizes cloud services including EC2, S3, Lambda from AWS, etc. to support dynamic and agile development. Using this approach, a software application is divided into small microservices that centered around APIs for establishing connections. Buoyed by automatic capabilities, the architecture is isolated from the server and OS dependencies and managed through agile DevOps processes.
Here are some key reasons why cloud native is a modern approach to software development.
Flexibility and Scalability
The loosely coupled structure of microservices enables software developers to create applications on the cloud by choosing the best tools for the job depending on the specific business requirements. Put simply, software architects can choose appropriate data storage and programming languages that make most sense for the specific microservice.
Developers are no longer restricted to work on one technology. As advancements in technologies keep happening, software professionals can take advantage of them without worrying about how changes in one microservice affect the application as a whole. They can easily scale microservices independently, remove old ones, and add new ones, keeping the entire application code intact. They can make the non-functioning microservice temporarily unavailable while launching the latest version of the application.
API based Communication
Cloud-native microservices rely on representational state transfer (REST) APIs for interaction and collaboration among microservices. APIs are a set of tools and protocols that are responsible for communication between applications and services. Such protocol level designs make sure that there is no risk associated with direct linking, shared memory models, or direct database retrievals to applications. For example, binary protocols are the perfect fit for communication between internal services. Other examples of modern open-source protocols include gRPC, Protobuff, and Thrift.
And this perfectly aligns with what Icreon has offered to ASTM, worlds largest standards development organization, by integrating APIs to create a well-designed information system that connects all ASTM datapoints together in real-time and ensures right data gets to the right place. The platform is built atop Azure Cloud that facilitates the organization to scale up the system whenever the requirement shows up.
DevOps and Agile Frameworks
Microservices are best fit for agile frameworks that work on DevOps and CI (continuous integration) and CD (continuous delivery) models. Unlike monolithic approach, DevOps workflows create an environment wherein software development is an ongoing cycle. In cloud native development, multiple cross-functional teams follow these core principles of DevOps to simultaneously work on different features/modules of an application. CI/CD approach also allows developers to embrace feedback or changing requirements (ongoing automation) throughout the development lifecycle from testing to delivery and deployment.
Cloud native architecture brings software development to the next level, equipping developers with new tools and technologies to deliver more quality products and solutions faster. In addition, the development using appropriate methodologies and tools makes significant savings in computing resources in the clouds.
The transition from monolithic approach to cloud native development enables organizations to stay ahead of the competition. Containers make it easier to distribute an application amongst team members, run them in different environments and deploy the same container in production. Microservices have introduced a new way to structure your system, improve encapsulation, and create maintainable small units or services that can quickly adapt to new requirements.
About the Author
Paul Miser is the Chief Strategy Officer of Icreon, a digital solutions agency and Acceleration Studio. He is also the author of Digital Transformation: The Infinite Loop Building Experience Brands for the Journey Economy.