May 28, 2019 By Andrea Crawford 4 min read

An overview of cloud-native apps and how they can benefit you

Cloud-native applications are composed of reusable components known as microservices and are designed to integrate into any cloud environment. This flexible and scalable approach is ideal for enterprises who are tasks with improving existing applications, building new applications, and enhancing user experience.

In this quick overview video, I go through a cloud infrastructure architecture and explains how cloud-native apps can improve it and help drive innovation and speed within your enterprise. Don’t be afraid to leave a comment on the video if you’ve got any questions!

Learn more about cloud-native development

Video Transcript

What is cloud-native?

Hi, I’m Andrea Crawford, and I’m with IBM Cloud. So, today we’re going to talk about cloud-native apps.

Monolithic apps vs. microservices

In the heritage world, we have our lumpy monolithic apps, and in the new world, we have our microservices living on the cloud.

Cloud infrastructure architecture

If we take a look at this diagram here, we see we have cloud infrastructure.

This is your private, your public, and your enterprise infrastructure. Cloud-native apps apply to hybrid and multicloud situations.

We also have our scheduling and orchestration layer. This layer is all about control planes, like our Kubernetes.

We also have our application and data services layer. This layer is all about backing services and being able to integrate our application code with existing services that may be available on other clouds, or even on-premise.

We have our application runtimes—these are what were traditionally (or conventionally) known as middleware.

And over here, well that’s where we have our cloud-native apps. This is the sweet spot right up here. So, our application code is actually designed, built, and delivered very differently for cloud-native then it would be for conventional monolithic lumpy apps over here.

The benefits of cloud-native apps

So, let’s talk a little bit about why cloud-native apps can actually leverage benefits like enabling innovation, business agility, and most importantly—from a technology perspective—the commoditization of the solution stack over here.

So, as time has progressed and technologies have matured and emerged, a lot of the services are actually being re-factored lower down in this stack.

This means that core services are starting to have a lower center of gravity, freeing up innovation at this level over here.

Use cases: Cloud-native for everything

So, what are used cases for when to build a cloud-native app? Star everything.

Everything that lives in the cloud should have a cloud-native app design and approach. This means our application code needs to be instrumented with things like standardized logging, standardized events, and being able to match those logging and events to a standard catalog that multiple microservices and cloud-native apps can use. The last thing we want to do is have our development squads have to figure out what their login event messages should be. Let’s standardize that because we want to be able to commoditize that as well.

We also need to have things like distributed tracing. When we get over into the microservices world over here we have a lot of moving parts. This means we’re going to need to leverage services core to the system, like load balancing, service discovery, and routing. These are the kinds of things that are commoditized in this layer here with things like Istio and with the emergence of new projects, like Knative.

If you read the tea leaves, I think we’re going to find these types of technologies embedded into this control plane layer here.

But they’re still more innovation to come. There are other technologies like Tekton which actually address CI pipelines specifically for cloud-native apps that leverage Docker and Kubernetes.

Cloud-native is about enterprise and engineering at scale

And so, if we were to recognize the benefits for cloud-native apps and to sum it all up—we are all about enterprise and engineering at scale.

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