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A strategic approach to adopting cloud-native application development

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Approximately three out of four non-cloud applications will move to the cloud within the next three years, according to a recent IBM report titled “The enterprise outlook on cloud-native development”. In today’s modern enterprise, optimizing the application cycle is critical: it can help companies keep up with consumer expectations, keep business operations agile, and speed the pace of innovation.

Cloud-native application development allows enterprises to capitalize on the full power of cloud by delivering faster time to market, increased scalability, improved flexibility and better consumer experiences — all while reducing cost.
With the cloud-native approach, developers can quickly augment applications without delaying delivery or disrupting functionality by using independent components called microservices, which break down large monolithic applications into smaller components. Getting started with cloud-native requires making a few strategic decisions.

Getting started with cloud-native application development: A strategic approach

To begin, the path to cloud-native application development requires a good, hard look at existing applications. Should the business modernize existing applications or build new?

When to build new:

In some cases, it makes more sense to develop new applications by utilizing cloud-native development practices instead of working with an existing monolith. Corporate culture, perceived risks and regulatory compliance are some constraints that can contribute to this decision. Building new applications allows teams to develop applications unencumbered by previous design architectures, providing more room for developers to experiment and deliver innovation to users.

When to modernize:

However, in some instances, businesses don’t need to start writing new applications from scratch. Modernizing existing applications can help companies use previous investments and existing workflows while capitalizing on the agility, flexibility and scalability of the cloud. Whether teams containerize, extend, decompose or refactor, traditional monolithic application can be updated into a cloud-native app.

3 principles for application development

Whether creating a new cloud-native application or modernizing an existing one, developers should keep to a consistent set of principles.

1. Follow the microservices architectural approach.

Break applications down to microservices, which allow the incremental, automated and continuous improvement of an application without causing downtime.

2. Rely on containers for maximum flexibility and scalability.

Containers package software with all its code and dependencies in one place, allowing the software to run anywhere. This allows maximum flexibility and portability in a hybrid-multicloud environment. Containers also allow fast scaling up or down with Kubernetes container software defined by the user.

3. Adopt agile methods.

Agile methods speed the creation and improvement process. Developers can quickly iterate updates based on user feedback, allowing the working application version to match as closely as possible to user expectations.

Building cloud-native applications unleashes business benefits

Cloud-native application development is crucial for digital transformation and innovation. Enterprises that adopt cloud-native application development see a marked increase in efficiency, scalability and productivity, as well as improved user experience.

Read the smart paper “Build cloud native: Build Once, deploy anywhere” to learn more about cloud-native application development and the unique approach, tools and solutions offered by IBM for application innovation.

Product Marketer, IBM

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