Signs of a potential economic downturn mean businesses have to carefully consider their IT spending. However, cutting back across the board can be damaging in the long term. Identifying which investments are key to remaining competitive in the near future is essential. This is why shrewd tech decision-makers don’t discount Cloud Native as the latest buzzword but see it as vital to increasing their ability to quickly adapt to customer needs and add value.
McKinsey research (June 2022) shows that ‘Nearly 70 per cent’ of the global ‘top economic performers’ have invested in creating their own software to ‘differentiate themselves from their competitors’.
These top companies realise that cloud-native app development is necessary if they are to counter the threat from digital-native entrants-to-market, who can offer customer experiences that companies using a traditional approach to software application development can’t compete with.
A lesser-known but significant benefit of taking a cloud-native approach is its potential for cost reductions, meaning it’s also a sound investment to make in challenging economic conditions.
In How the Pandemic Changed IT Investments, Tech Target recently explained how going cloud-native acts as a ‘powerful deflationary force’ for businesses, to ‘automate core business processes, improve employee productivity and reduce spending on labour expenses’ enabling enterprises ‘to become more cost-efficient.’
Decision-makers who take time to learn about the true benefits of cloud-native app development understand that it is the key to switching the focus of future IT spending from maintenance to innovation.
Our guide explains everything IT decision-makers need to know in order to make the right choice for their business.
What does cloud native mean?
Cloud-native means software applications which are designed and developed in the cloud. This differs from cloud-based apps which are developed using traditional methods and then moved to the cloud.
Cloud computing adoption has rapidly increased over the past few years and has already transformed how businesses operate, communicate, and collaborate. However, as McKinsey points out, a ‘lift and shift’ approach, of moving legacy applications to the cloud does ‘not automatically yield the benefits that cloud infrastructure and systems can provide.’
In contrast, developing applications in the cloud allows businesses to access maximum benefits from cloud computing. The main incentive being that a cloud-native approach vastly increases the speed and quality of app development whilst reducing costs.
Here are some of the main advantages of cloud-native app development over a traditional approach:
1. Cloud-native improves the user experience, helping businesses gain a competitive advantage
Traditionally, enterprise applications are time-consuming to build due to the ‘waterfall’ model. This is where developers write the application code working as a separate unit from IT operations, to whom it is then passed for deployment.
Using this ‘waterfall’ approach, an enterprise would typically only be able to produce a new version of an application twice a year. By the time a new version is released, app user expectations may have moved on and have been responded to faster by competitors.
In contrast, a cloud-native approach allows development and operations teams to work collaboratively. This practice, called DevOps, reduces friction between the creators and deployers of the code, making app development as much as 100% faster than using traditional methods.
Using a cloud-native approach also enables software teams to revolutionise app improvement by enabling small changes to be made often. Unlike in traditional development, this continuous improvement technique allows businesses to respond swiftly, vastly improving the quality of the customer app experience and enabling the business to remain competitive.
2. Cloud-native reduces complexity and lowers risk in app development
Traditional applications require manual updates and deployments. This makes them more difficult to maintain than automated cloud-native apps. It also increases risk as manual maintenance is by nature inconsistent.
In contrast, a cloud-native approach allows teams to fully automate the continuous deployment and delivery of applications.
Continuous delivery means that the source code is automatically tested. If it passes these tests, it can be automatically deployed. This automation reduces the risk associated with manual testing, making the usually complex task of updates safe and effortless.
Cloud-native applications also reduce complexity due to being packaged as containers. Many developers create application code ‘locally’ on a laptop. Differences between development and production environments often result in the code not working when moved which requires time-consuming issues to be resolved.
As every stage in the app development process takes place in containers, cloud-native development provides a solution to these problems. As the app gets everything it needs in the container and not on the host machine, this means that it can be seamlessly switched between any environment without complications.
3. Traditional monolithic apps are difficult to scale to meet customer demand
Application scalability refers to the ability of an app to handle growth in users. Traditional, ‘monolithic’ apps, created from one big piece of code, are large and complex. This makes it difficult to scale them to meet customer demand.
As the goal of an app is to be popular, difficulty to scale is a huge negative for traditional app development. If an app is not scalable and its popularity and users increase, users will experience slow load times and crashes as it struggles to cope with increased demand.
Unlike traditional apps, cloud-native applications work on a principle known as horizontal scaling. This means apps can be easily scaled to meet demand then reduced after a surge ends.
Most companies using cloud-native development also use a container orchestration system such as Kubernetes which offers auto-scaling. Autoscaling means that whenever an app sees a surge in or drop in users, the system reacts, guaranteeing a quality user-experience and saving resources.
What frameworks are needed for CND?
Red Hat’s proven track record in Linux, Java and Kubernetes has enabled them to develop a comprehensive portfolio of cloud-native capabilities. These capabilities enable your development, architecture and operations teams to work together efficiently using a cloud-native approach for faster, more stable and scalable app development.
With the foundation of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system and the application platform capabilities of Red Hat Open Shift, businesses can layer on container orchestration from Kubernetes, plus Red Hat data and Ansible automation services. This provides a complete stack for your business to manage applications on any cloud or infrastructure, or even as a hosted service.
If you have questions about how to access the benefits of cloud-native development for your business, contact us for expert advice from our consultants.
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