What does “Cloud Native” mean?
When moving to the cloud, the best course of action is to re-align your Infrastructure to a manner that can best take advantage of the unique features of the Cloud, as explained in our previous blog. The three main things to look out for are Scaling, Redundancy, and Ease of Provisioning.
The most obvious benefit - and perhaps the greatest challenge - of being cloud-native is the ability to scale Infrastructure in and out with ease. Planning around the scale of on-prem Infrastructure is often simply “what do we need to handle our peak traffic”. However, handling the Cloud in the same manner will resort to exorbitant costs. Therefore, we take advantages of services such as Amazon Autoscaling to enable us to scale out application servers on demand in response to increase in traffic, while also scaling back in when the traffic falls, in order to maximize our savings.
The second great benefit of being a Cloud-Native thinker is taking advantage of the Redundancy inherent to the system. AWS, GCP, and Azure are all global services, and have datacenter available for deployment on nearly every continent. By utilizing their services, you are able to have geographically distinct deployments of applications and their supporting infrastructure through configuration changes. However, simply enabling this feature will not be sufficient - if the application isn’t designed in such a way where it can withstand the inherent latency between servers in differing locations, you will end up with worse performance.
Ease of Provisioning
The third great benefit of thinking Cloud-Native is utilizing the provisioning tools available from each cloud provider. As mentioned in the previous sections, the creation of Infrastructure in a Cloud-Native model is created through configuration changes. This applies not only to scaling out new servers and regions of coverage, but every aspect of the Cloud-Native application - from users to storage to entire virtual data-centers. By ensuring that all of your Infrastructure is easily provisioned, you can enable rapid expansion in the case of your business experiencing rapid growth. By standardizing the rollout of infrastructure through the application of Infrastructure-as-Code, you can also reduce the rate of human error, thereby increasing the resilience and reliability of your applications.
As one can see, moving to the Cloud offers a great many benefits. However, to get the most out of using a Cloud provider, the way one approaches the build out of their applications and the underlying Infrastructure should be adapted to take advantage of the unique opportunities provided by the platform. The engineering skillset required to best take advantage of the Cloud is not 1:1 with traditional engineering skills and can become overwhelming for the unexperienced. Fortunately, there are many options available for assistance in planning, deploying, and maintaining Infrastructure in the Cloud. Reach out to a Cloud specialist when you are ready to make the transition.