Cloud Native Infrastructure: Benefits Beyond the Misconceptions

So far we have had a detailed discussion about infrastructures and the principles that form the basis for Cloud Native. We saw in the last article that these principles are in compliance with new-age business needs and are necessary to support modern-day technologies. However, there have been a few misconceptions about the Cloud Native Infrastructure that don’t let the companies take informed decisions about this infrastructure. In this article we will be debunking these fallacies and talking about the actual benefits of this infrastructure. Let us begin.

Misconceptions about the Clouds Native :

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service will automatically make an application Cloud Native: IaaS abstracts away many low-level components so developers can focus on business logic. Cloud native infrastructure is about creating reliability out of complex systems and useful abstractions for applications.
  • Cloud native infrastructure is something that you can buy : Cloud native infrastructure is not something that you can spend money and get it done. Many parts of Cloud Native are an evolution of DevOps practices and processes that require a new way of learning culture to get benefit from it. One can’t buy cloud native infrastructure, but have to pay for it.
  • Servers will run forever: Although organizations use Cloud providers in their full application lifecycle yet it does imply that the cloud native infrastructure should work effectively in their absence. Cloud native applications should be developed to deal with underlying hardware, reboots and critical security upgrades. Cloud servers should be considered as compute resources that may be created and terminated on demand. 

Breaking these misconceptions goes on to prove that the Cloud Native infrastructure is crafted to provide business autonomy. It allows the companies to evolve in their own time. But that is not the only benefit that it offers. It is time for us to dive into the list of advantages that organizations can enjoy by employing the native infrastructure.

Benefits of the Clouds

  • Auto-Provisioning: Being cloud native, there are many options to make cloud infrastructure management effortless. There are options like self-serve, on-demand, programmatic provisioning of resources and disposal of the same when not needed. This helps businesses to run critical applications smoothly with on-demand resources allocation. There is an option to go Serverless, where you can focus on business logic and deploy your functions in the cloud and you don’t need to worry about provisioning of cloud instances as well. 
  • Auto-scalability: Cloud Native applications are enabled with elasticity features, to deal with complex scaling up and down processes with pay what you use model. We can add and subtract resources and add and subtract anything that we need to support our application. This in turns allows businesses to handle their scaling needs on the fly.
  • Auto redundancy: Cloud Native applications are resilient to failures. In traditional approaches downtime used to normal and achieving the fault tolerance application was too complex and hard. But with Cloud Native approaches like Microservices and Kubernetes, you can easily build applications that are more resilient with self-healing built-in. With micro services we can failover just a portion of our application, as we do patches or release code not affecting the other modules. This allows applications to handle outages and enable the corrective actions. This helps to minimize failures drastically for most of the businesses. 
  • Agile and Cost Effective: The two things that the whole market is eagerly seeking. The cloud infrastructure allows the teams to consume only the part of the cloud resources that they need for product development, testing a delivery. This saves time, ensures agility and, of course, reduces the cost substantially. Cloud-native capabilities like Serverless let you handle on demand workloads and pay-per-use compute time in milliseconds, this helps to reduce the cost
  • Faster Release Pace: Cloud native enables DevOps Process, which helps streamlining processes like build, test, deployment automation. This speeds up the whole software delivery process.  

World has just begun to realize the full potential of Cloud Native. Understanding the principles and looking beyond the common misconceptions has helped organizations to enjoy the merits of this infrastructure. In a time when companies are desperate to find a way to maximize their productivity and reach larger, more complex customer bases, this infrastructure can prove to be a game changer. In the final article of this series we will talk about how this infrastructure can be effectively implemented in your organization and what are the different phases in this process. Stay tuned.

Cloud Native Principles: Reading Through the Clouds

In the last article we discussed the evolutionary process that led the infrastructure process to  Cloud Native Infrastructure. With the change in client needs and market relevance, the organizations learned to not only accommodate this evolution but also benefit from it.  The technology agnostic Native Infrastructure is currently helping organizations to ensure maximum productivity even through remote work. However, there might be some who are still skeptical about this infrastructure, and rightfully so. One should be at liberty of choosing one’s own infrastructure. That is why, the next article in this series will talk about the principles that form the core of this infrastructure. This will help throw light on its benefits and will put forth strong arguments in its favor. Let us begin.

The Core Principles
The Native Infrastructure was introduced to serve both infrastructure and platform as a service so that any organization can run business without worrying about the overheads of server operation and maintenance. Therefore, the principles of this architecture are woven around the same idea.

  • Agnosticity: Of course the first principle had to be the ability to work with a cloud agnostic environment. The cloud should support concurrently running nodes that can be logged for their session and configuration and can operate from different systems. This was necessary to ensure that clouds don’t fall back to the patterns Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). In other words, clouds should be able to work as an abstract layer of infrastructure that just supplies all the necessary resources to the organization and the organization just has to worry about its internal business processes.
  • Decomposed Software: This is one of the important principles, to have the true cloud native application. Software needs to be loosely coupled services (Microservices). These services are built around business capabilities and are independently deployable by a fully automated deployment pipeline. Independant lifecycle management per microservice is the key for adopting this principle. 
  • Resiliency: According to Murphy’s law — “Anything that can fail will fail”. When we apply this to software systems, In a distributed system, failures will happen. Hardware can fail. The network can have transient failures. The goal of resiliency is to return the application to a fully functioning state following a failure. One of the main ways to offer resiliency through High availability (HA) and Disaster Recovery(DR).  HA and DR can be  achieved through multi-node cluster, multi-region deployments. 
  • Flexibility: Next logical thought about such infrastructure should be its flexibility. Undoubtedly, one would expect it to be scalable. Clouds need to be flexible enough to scale up or down based on the load they are expecting to face. Having IaaS as one of the underlying infra, they can curate policies for scaling purposes. APIs can be used to control the machine images as per requirement.
  • Externalized Configuration: Decoupling the configuration in the application and considering it as an artifact in versioned manner helps to eliminate the operational errors. Clouds are primarily meant to make way for automation. This means that they should be able to serve with minimal (or negligible for that matter) human intervention. The management and configuration of the services should not be an overhead for the organization being served, rather the cloud itself. That itself essentially justifies Infrastructure, Platform and even Software as a Service.

The principles that Cloud Native stands on are fabricated keeping in mind the necessities of new-age applications and businesses. Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things etc. are all to be facilitated by this infrastructure (or newer versions of it). It only makes sense for organizations to incorporate and enjoy it if they already haven’t. In the next leg of this article series, we will talk about the benefits of this infrastructure and also try to debunk some common misconceptions that are present about it. Stay tuned.