How to Leverage Cloud-Native Environments for App Development
There are two different approaches when it comes to cloud-native app development; create an application from scratch, or migrate it from your monolithic infrastructure.
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The last decade has been all about the rise of cloud-based services, especially when you consider the advancement of streaming services like Netflix or Spotify. The demand for cloud-based services grew by 18% in 2017, with market revenue of $246.8 billion.
In 2020, a global pandemic pushed many brick-and-mortar businesses to go online. During this digital transformation, one service has been facilitating scalability in the cloud.
As the push for going digital is increasing, cloud-based services are gaining more traction. For example, the global cloud IT spending is set to reach $160 billion by the end of 2021. When it comes to mobile application development, cloud-native environments have been the point of discussion.
Generally, there are two different approaches when it comes to cloud-native app development. One is to create an application from scratch in the cloud-native environment, and the other is to migrate it from your monolithic infrastructure.
Many organizations migrate to the cloud, but assessing your existing application and checking its compatibility with the cloud-native environments become quintessential. Let’s look at some ways to leverage cloud-native environments for building applications.
Cloud-based services are of many types like IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), SaaS (Software as a Service), and PaaS (Platform as a Service). Application development according to the cloud service environment depends on the business needs.
For example, the Infrastructure-as-a-Service application is best for organizations looking to make the most of the entire suite of cloud-based tools. The whole complex infrastructure of Virtual Machines (VMs), data centers, servers, and other vital components lies in the cloud environment.
Some of the popular IaaS providers are:
- Google Compute Engine.
- Amazon Web Services.
- Microsoft Azure.
At the same time, PaaS applications are like a mother box in Snydercut’s Justice League. You get everything from the platform itself. For example, PaaS providers offer:
- Development software.
- Database and servers.
- API (middlewares).
SaaS-based applications are different from IaaS or PaaS apps, as they don’t run on the user’s device or even on phones. So, users don’t need to spend money buying a powerful machine or even updating the app. The entire application runs on third-party hardware. Some of the most popular SaaS-based apps are:
- Google Drive.
- Google Docs.
You can choose the type of application based on the cloud-based model like IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Apart from the service-based applications, there are different approaches for cloud-native app development.
Approach 1: Going Agile
The agile application development approach ensures that you can continuously make changes in the app and imbibe feedback on interactions. In this case, you can use sprints to develop the application. Each sprint will have a specific task allocated to teams that they need to complete, and there is a scrum meeting at the end.
The agile approach is an incremental, iterative method of developing apps in versions. MVP or Minimum Viable Product is a model that creates the beta version or first iteration. Leveraging MVP, you can create a shippable product with all the vital features ready for use while complex ones are still in production.
Similarly, even if you consider refactoring your application in the cloud-native environment, there is an approach called MVR or Minimum Viable Refactoring. When you are thinking of migrating your legacy apps to a cloud-native environment, refactoring can be the best strategy. In this case, you need to restructure a large chunk of the app’s codebase to make it compatible with the new environment.
However, you need to assess your existing infrastructure before migration. Assessment of data is one of the essential parts of preparing your apps for migration. If you have a massive database with structured and unstructured data, innovative technologies like Machine Learning can help analyze them.
While you use MVR, where refactoring is done in iterative phases, you need to secure a migration process to prevent sensitive data loss. There are many different cloud security issues that you may have to face while migrating. Assessing the cloud-native environment can you identify the threats and counter them with security measures.
Approach 2: Microservices
Microservices are a suite of individual services that offer business capabilities. Each service has separate functions, and together they form a response to user requests. The communication between services is facilitated through HTTP APIs (Application Programming Interface) or messaging. As each service is deployed, upgraded, and scaled independently, there is minimal disruption in the user experience.
Netflix was the first cloud-based microservices application led by Adrian Cockroft. The approach helps you with models like separation of concerns (SoC) and the single responsibility principle (SRP). These models allow modularization of the services into independent components that reduce the need for a coupling.
The redundancy of coupling enables services to be updated while others are still in operation. It helps to decrease one of the critical metrics of application engagement — churn rate. The metric represents the rate at which users are uninstalling or canceling your app due to disruption in UX (User Experience).
Approach 3: Containers
Containers offer better efficiency and speed for application development compared to VMs. Apart from the agility of development, you get operating-system-level virtualization. A single OS instance is divided dynamically among one or more containers that are isolated. Containers have a writable file system and resource quota for app development. You have low overhead on the resources by creating and destroying containers according to development needs.
Leveraging containers is excellent with an orchestration layer like Kubernetes. It allows your cloud-native app development to be deployed with a hybrid-cloud approach. So, you can use multiple cloud services for better efficiency and scalability.
Another aspect that you need to understand is database support. There are many different types of database systems that you can use for application development. A container is a great approach but, you need to figure the best database system that is compatible with it.
Cloud-native is not restricted to one approach anymore, and many enterprises are shifting their focus to Kubernetes-native development. There are several reasons businesses develop cloud-native apps like cost benefits, optimized resources, and scalability. However, what approach you choose for cloud-native development depends on the business needs.
So, whether to go agile or use containers for cloud-native development depends on the scale of the application. Another essential aspect is the type of cloud-based services that you need for application development. The best practice is to create a hybrid approach of different strategies for optimal results.
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