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Going Cloud-Native: DevOps Benefits and Pitfalls

Cloud-native is a software development approach that designs and builds applications that take advantage of public, private, and hybrid clouds. While many SaaS applications use cloud technologies, they are not all cloud-native. According to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, the official, more extended definition of “cloud-native” is:
Cloud native technologies empower organizations to build and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments such as public, private, and hybrid clouds. Containers, service meshes, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative APIs exemplify this approach. These techniques enable loosely coupled systems that are resilient, manageable, and observable. Combined with robust automation, they allow engineers to make high-impact changes frequently and predictably with minimal toil.
You don’t have to be cloud-native to have a DevOps practice, but you do need DevOps to become cloud-native. Let’s look at how a cloud-native approach can benefit DevOps teams.

Benefits of Cloud-Native DevOps

Organizations that take a cloud-native approach realize several benefits. They can build highly scalable and available applications, improve efficiencies and productivity, and reduce expenses associated with data centers.

Both DevOps and cloud-native software development encourage the automation of repetitive tasks. Automation improves productivity and availability by reducing errors and freeing developer time to focus on more complex problems.

Cloud-Native Technologies

Technologies needed for a successful cloud-native approach

Microservices

Move from monolithic applications to microservices architecture patterns. These loosely coupled services work together. Each microservice provides a single functionality, and you can update or scale one service without the need to rebuild or scale the entire application. Because of this, microservices architectures make CI/CD easier to achieve.

Containers

Containers contain the microservices code, resource files, and other dependencies. Containerizing the microservices allow developers to focus on code and worry less about the underlying operating system and hardware. Containerized applications can be deployed in public clouds, private clouds, and on-premises.

Declarative APIs

APIs are necessary for the different microservices to work together.

Immutable Infrastructure

In an immutable infrastructure, the cloud-native application does not change the server it runs on. If a change is required, a new server image with the right changes is created, validated, and replaces the old one. Immutable infrastructures reduce configuration drift, improve reliability, and increase deployment predictability.

Cloud-native pitfalls to avoid

No DevOps Culture

As mentioned earlier, DevOps adoption is necessary before becoming cloud-native. Organizations that do not take the time to establish a solid DevOps culture struggle and ultimately fail to manage a cloud-native transformation.

Too many tools

There are tools on the market for every step of the software development life cycle. However, adopting too many without a clear strategy can lead to confusion, conflicts, and escalating costs. Instead of purchasing and adopting many tools at once, focus on improving one area of your value stream before taking on the next blocker.

Taking security shortcuts

Cloud providers provide a shared responsibility model for security, and it’s essential to take the time to understand what security components your team owns and then ensure that the correct monitoring and security options are incorporated as part of the development process.

The Next Steps for Cloud-Native DevOps

ReleaseTEAM provides DevOps consulting services and tool evaluations to help you build the right culture, optimize your toolchain, and reach cloud-native status faster.

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