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Cloud native approach set to transform the developer experience

Thu 21 Oct 2021

cloud adoption

For many companies that have embraced cutting-edge technologies over the past decade, a cloud-native approach has become almost second nature. Cloud-native computing is a term that encompasses a great deal of often diverse solutions, technologies and techniques. At its core, taking a cloud-native approach in practice means moving past conventional ways of building applications and works to leverage innovative cloud technologies to gain flexibility, scalability and resilience.

First widely adopted by so-called ‘born in the cloud’ companies such as Spotify, Netflix and Uber, many other firms are now looking to benefit from a digital advantage. Microservices, cloud platforms, containers, continuous delivery and Kubernetes are key markers of cloud-native applications development.

Future-focused approach

By building applications for cloud environments, rather than designing for traditional on-premise data centres, developers can achieve an array of advantages over conventional application building methods.

Unlike on-premise applications that may only receive updates a few times a year, cloud-native applications offer a much more available infrastructure that can be easily updatable. When new features are ready to be deployed, cloud-native developers can quickly add them to benefit users.

Well-know cloud advantages, namely scalability and elasticity, can bring cost savings too. As cloud platforms only charge for what companies use, cloud-native applications bypass the physical need for new infrastructure to cope with spikes in demand.

Downtime can be more effectively managed, with the comprehensive geographical spread of data centres giving enterprises the ability to redirect traffic to help reduce downtime.

Novel challenges

Developers can gain from embracing a cloud-native approach but transitioning from traditional on-premise infrastructure to being cloud-native is no small task. For example, instead of continuing to use a waterfall model of development, developers will likely need to incorporate agile development principles to make a real change.

The new normal of cloud-native will give developers far more ownership over the development life cycle and see collaboration becoming vitally important. Developers may need to take more responsibility for the deployment and maintenance of their own applications, but they aren’t solely responsible for this entire process.

Widespread changes

Entire organisations will need to support the increased role of developers, as well as work to ensure the software that is produced is safe and effective. Whereas on-premise applications typically use conventional coding languages, like C/C++ or enterprise Java, cloud-native applications are usually written in more modern languages such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript Python, and Ruby. This provides the opportunity for companies to either up-skill long-standing developers or hires new staff to write modern code.

While there are clear benefits of a cloud-native approach, it is not without its issues. No one-size-fits-all model exists that can be wholly embraced by developers to become cloud-native. Each enterprise will need to work out the exact support their developers require, so they can focus on innovation.

Enterprises should pay particular attention to the human element of cloud-native cloud-native approaches, as technological development is only one part of the puzzle. The always-on nature of cloud deployment means that a proactive and highly skilled developer workforce will be more essential than ever before.

The process of reaching a truly cloud-native approach won’t be overnight and there may be challenges during this migration, especially when it comes down to reshaping how organisations operate to best support developers. But it’s clear from the successes of firms with a cloud-native approach, like Airbnb and Netflix, this transition is worthwhile in the long term.

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Cloud DevOps
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