More than 35% of all apps will be cloud-native by 2022. Cloud-native working is therefore a trend in the field of software development that we can no longer ignore. In this blog, together with public cloud specialist CloudNation, we explain why cloud-native development is so important, what the advantages are and which steps you can take.
What is cloud-native?
Cloud-native software development is an approach to developing software that makes maximum use of services that can be delivered directly from the cloud. Compare it to the development of a newly designed office building. Certain parts of such an office building are very specific to this particular design and will have to be specially made, but things like lifts and air conditioning can be ordered ready-made. It works the same way with software. Tech giants such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft now offer frequently used functionalities in software programs as ready-to-use services within their cloud environment. This way you don't have to keep reinventing the wheel and can focus all your attention (and budget!) on the unique functionality of the application to be built.
Because the aforementioned tech giants can actually bring in an army of developers, the amount of cloud services you can take advantage of it increasing at a tremendous rate. Creating and managing accounts, sending messages, processing and streaming video, and smart search are classics among cloud services. However, even more complex cases can now be purchased 'off the shelf'. Real-time video calls, automatic processing of text and images through artificial intelligence, and capturing internet-of-things data streams… these are all things that are available as cloud services today.
What are the benefits?
Less customisation & management. Working cloud-native saves costs and time, both in developing the software and in managing and maintaining it. By using cloud services, less code is written, which means there is less code to maintain. The unique functionality that does require code to be written and differentiates you from the competition in a cloud-native approach is also done on special management-free cloud systems. Of course, there are still cables, servers and security updates behind the scenes, but the cloud provider makes sure we don't have to worry about that.
Extremely scalable. With a cloud-native application, you can serve 10 users just as easily as 10 million users. The capacity that cloud services and cloud systems can offer is virtually infinite and can be quickly and automatically adjusted to meet demand. Is your platform extremely busy during lunch and often quiet during the evening? With a cloud-native application, you pay according to consumption and the costs therefore move with you. This makes cloud-native applications ideal for platforms with varying loads, but also for growth companies and 'proof of concepts', for example. If a proof of concept doesn't work, then you can easily terminate it and stop paying for it.
Quick to set up. Because cloud-native development works with existing 'lego blocks' as much as possible, you can quickly add complex functionality to your application and realise concepts that were previously only available to organisations with a lot of patience and deep pockets. Such a shorter building period is not only beneficial for the costs, but also for the time-to-market. A good example is a platform for online knowledge sharing that Elastique and CloudNation recently realised for a client. Despite the fact that this platform uses complex functionalities such as artificial intelligence for matching supply and demand and real-time video calls, this cloud-native platform could be realised and launched within a few weeks.
What is the roadmap?
For cloud-native development, you of course need a cloud environment first. CloudNation helps organisations to set up such a cloud environment and to transfer existing workstations, servers and applications to the cloud. As we wrote in an earlier blog, this kind of migration comes with a lot of benefits. Elastique and CloudNation can then help to realise new applications within the cloud environment, of course according to the principles of cloud-native development. It is also possible to modernise older applications and make them (partly) cloud-native.
Our joint approach consists of five steps:
Inventory. What is the current situation and what are your wishes? Are you already working in the cloud or not at all? Do you have existing IT systems that need to be migrated or do you want to develop a new application? Together we make a good inventory, look at the possibilities and make the right choices. If the inventory shows that certain steps are not necessary or have already been taken, we naturally skip them and jump directly to the first relevant follow-up step.
Set up cloud environment. Within the clouds of one of the tech giants, your own cloud environment is set up. In this phase, 'the bed is made' in which your systems will land. Safeguards are built in to ensure that work is always done safely and that there is monitoring of the status of systems and costs.
Lift and shift. If desired, your existing IT systems can be picked up and migrated to the new cloud environment. This is known as "lift and shift".
App modernisation. Existing applications are (partly) made cloud-native to take full advantage of the benefits the cloud has to offer.
App development. This step is probably the most fun: we get to work designing and building the desired cloud-native applications. You can read more about our approach for realising digital products with an ultimate user experience in this blog.
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