For some years now, the cloud has been one of the dominant forces in the technology sector. As it should be. The cloud has transformed business, fostering unforeseen levels of scalability and adaptability, accelerating innovation, streamlining operations and lowering costs.
The topic has even infiltrated society at large, with everyday people casually talking about storing their data in the cloud.
And just when “the cloud” seemed to have become ubiquitous, we now have a spin-off of sorts: Cloud-native applications. Actually, cloud-native applications aren’t really so new, with Gartner and IDC predicting that by 2025, up to 95% of applications will be cloud-native. Yet interestingly, nearly half of IT leaders are unable to clearly define the term “cloud native”.
At a high level, cloud-native computing is an application development methodology that leverages existing cloud solutions. As such, you can improve organizational speed and get products and services to the market much faster. The applications are termed “cloud-native” because they’re built with the key advantages of the cloud: flexible architectures, scalability, and resiliency.
All of this may sound compelling, but if so many IT leaders don’t know how to define cloud-native, one has to ask, “Should it really be important to them?”
The clear answer is yes, and here’s why: With cloud-native architectures, you can scale at an enormous rate at lightening speed, which symbolically breaks the chains of rigid legacy systems. And that freedom not only provides flexibility for product development, you also have the ability to quickly adapt to competitive forces.
Beyond the terminology, cloud-native computing is simply a strategy for businesses to compete in the ever-shifting, sometimes chaotic digital landscape. All companies these days must turn on a dime to adapt to new trends, demands, and opportunities, and cloud-native applications provide a powerful tool for making those quick shifts.
Yet when you go cloud-native, you get more than a smart business tool. This new approach to building applications improves reliability and security. That’s because, by definition, you’ll be covered by the built-in security of the cloud.
Some may wonder if there’s a difference between moving to the public cloud and taking on a cloud-native strategy. There actually is a significant difference.
With the former, you’re just shifting existing applications from on-site to the cloud. This has nothing to do with gaining any cloud-native benefits. All you’re doing is moving older applications to a new environment – the cloud.
With the latter, cloud-native applications are built with cloud-native processes. So at the core, you’re developing software literally with a new approach.
Speaking of new, to shift to a cloud-native approach, you need special IT expertise. This is a breed of cloud architect with mastery in cloud-native technologies. The harsh reality, however, is that most organizations don’t have people in the ranks who fit that description. That said, one or two or three of these cloud architects wouldn’t be enough to supply what you need. You have to get the whole IT culture on board, especially the IT leaders who have barely given cloud-native strategies a look.
Change never happens as fast as we anticipate – or as fast as we’d like it. As with all major initiatives, you have to be patient and allow for the natural ebb of flow of the business tides. But the cloud-native approach is not only a way to adapt for today and tomorrow. By getting up to speed now, you’re better prepared for the future.
There’s no way around it – digital will only become more sophisticated, so it’s critical to have applications that are as scalable and reliable as possible, and which boost efficiency throughout the organization.
Being cloud-native will play a huge role in the success of your organization. Don’t wait for the future because the future is already here.