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6 recognisable attributes of a cloud native application

Gábor Tolnai

Cloud applications offer a range of benefits for users and organisations, giving them access to the apps they want or need anytime, anywhere. However, not all so-called ‘cloud’ applications are the same because they may have different technologies behind them. 

As technology evolves, so has the cloud offering and, the term ‘cloud native’ is now being increasingly used. It refers to applications that have been developed using several containers and microservices. The purpose is speed, flexibility and robustness. These are some of the key recognisable attributes of a cloud native application:-

Pay only for what you use and need

One of the many attributes that underpin ‘Cloud Technology’ is the idea of a pay as you go model, where monthly costs are often calculated based on the levels of users or the determined amount of resources required. But cloud native applications take this a step further because charges will be calculated based on what you have consumed in terms of resources within a set period.  

This model gives a higher level of freedom, as it permits the creation of new or scaling-up of applications without the worry or costs of infrastructure deployment or amendments.

Ability to scale up and down anytime 

‘Cloud elasticity’ refers to how resources are provisioned based on the needs of the application or process - this avoids over or under-provisioning of resources. Elasticity is at the core of cloud-native applications - built for virtual, shared and adaptable infrastructure means the app can dynamically increase or decrease in size based on the demand. Workflows and applications can run efficiently with just the right amount of computing power, even if there was a sudden surge in demand.

Automate deployment and operational tasks

Everything related to cloud native apps is linked to efficiency, accessibility and flexibility. One of the key attributes of these applications is defined, policy-driven resource allocation; using this, administrators can spend minimal time on the maintenance of the infrastructure. They can also save time by defining policies for user management and set automatic updates without impacting the availability nor performance of the app to its end-users. Without ongoing management to worry about, the team will be able to focus on the software itself.

Robust and always on 

Cloud native applications are built based on the idea of continuous integration and delivery. Due to its separation of containers, if one was to fail, it limits its effect on the other containers within the application, maintaining uptime, making it more reliable compared to other types of cloud applications. They can handle failures, are robust and adapt to disruptions to minimise the impact on the availability to users and ensure business continuity. 

Easy to experiment and add new features

With the software architecture based on microservices and containers, continuous development can happen simultaneously while the cloud native app is still in use without affecting performance. Whether it is to issue a fix or design a new functionality, developers can continue to work on specific containers without causing app downtime - this will also help speed up the upgrading process for the end-user.

Streamlined costs and operations 

Every attribute listed so far all leads to the streamlining of the operations and costs. Using cloud native applications, companies can have a balance between costs and performance, creating an appropriate cost-performance mix – to achieve a better total cost of ownership compared to having a non-cloud native or on-premise app. It will save monetary costs, time and resources in the management and development of application in the long term. 

The modular approach to building a cloud-native solution ultimately provides robustness, scalability and elasticity for businesses of all sizes.

If you would like to find out more about how cloud native solutions can benefit your business and about our Product Studio services contact our team of experts today.

Learn more about 'Cloud-Native: Practices, Platforms, Services & Architectures' on our on-demand webinar.