Recent years have seen businesses facing an unprecedented number of challenges from inflation to economic slowdowns, geopolitical tensions, supply chain disruptions, skill shortages, and more. In the wake of these challenges, one thing has become increasingly clear: businesses need technology that can evolve as quickly as their needs.
Once simply a means of streamlining IT infrastructures in the face of business fluctuations, cloud technology has quickly evolved to become a necessity for organisations looking to remain competitive within a rapidly developing business landscape. Cloud native technology, in particular, has emerged as a critical enabler of digital transformation – one that savvy businesses are already utilising to create new, resilient business models that are aligned with the demands of the modern world.
In fact, Gartner predicts that 95% of new digital initiatives will be built on cloud native platforms by 2025.
As this technology continues to disrupt and transform industries across the board, and businesses become increasingly interconnected, cloud native is fast becoming a key component of profitable and sustainable transformation. In this article, we will discuss an overview of cloud native technology, its impact across three strategic business areas, and key factors that organisations need to consider in order to stay ahead of the curve in this exciting new era.
What is Cloud Native?
“Cloud native” refers to services and applications specifically created for an environment that leverages cloud technologies using a combination of cloud computing technologies (such as containers, service meshes, microservice architectures, declarative APIs, etc.), methodology, and organisational approaches. In this way, cloud native is distinguished from cloud enabled applications – legacy enterprise applications that have been modified to run on the cloud.
In particular, cloud native technology aims to enhance development cycle speed, flexibility, and innovation to deliver enhanced digital user experiences. By contrast, cloud enabled applications generally lack the flexibility, resiliency, or scalability of their cloud native counterparts, because they retain their monolithic structure even though they have moved to the cloud. For these reasons, implementing cloud native technology is not simply beneficial to organisations, but necessary in order to stay agile, adaptable, and competitive.
How can Cloud Native Applications Fortify Data Ecosystems?
In just a year, cloud native data solutions have become the new norm, enabling businesses to build enterprise-wide data platforms with not only technology but also vision and strategic ecosystems.
One of the most significant advantages of cloud native data solutions is that they are more tightly integrated, forming ecosystems that encompass data loading, transformation, quality & observability, processing, AI, and analytics solutions, collectively known as modern data stacks. Generally available in cloud marketplaces, these solutions are increasingly able to manage a large variety of use cases and technologies (such as spark, SQL, AI/ML, apps, sharing, etc.). Moreover, because these services are provided by nearly all hyperscalers, businesses are more easily able to access greater development power and accelerate the adoption of new data technologies.
An additional benefit of implementing cloud native data solutions is that businesses will no longer require infra competencies i.e., there is no need to manage virtual machines (VMs) and low-level IaaS services. As a result, businesses can concentrate on their core competencies rather than managing infrastructure. In a similar vein, the use of the serverless pattern, which has become the core design for data solutions, makes them more efficient and sustainable. By eliminating the need to provision and manage servers, the serverless pattern not only allows for increased scalability but also frees up resources that can be directed toward innovation and other high-value activities.
How can Businesses Safeguard Cybersecurity within the Cloud Native Landscape?
As organisations become increasingly data-driven, ensuring the protection and recoverability of their data is crucial. That’s why businesses must prioritise technologies that are purpose-built for cloud native applications (such as Kubernetes) – this can be done by implementing a number of practices and technologies.
For instance, implementing Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) tools enable organisations to guarantee consistency and repeatability across infrastructure and applications, as well as prevent configuration drift and other security issues that can arise when infrastructure and applications are deployed manually. In terms of controlling accessibility, Cloud-based Identity and Access Management (IAM) provides strong security controls including multi-factor authentication and identity federation, and role- or context-based access to prevent unauthorized access to cloud services and applications. Additionally, Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs) provide an extra layer of security through granular, risk-based policies, monitoring, and compliance reporting.
Another practice that can enhance cybersecurity is Security by Design, which integrates security into the software development process, including automated testing and continuous integrations to identify and resolve security issues early. On the other hand, Policy-as-code helps organisations enforce security policies and compliance standards, such as data access controls, network security policies, and encryption requirements.
In regards to data recoverability, cloud-based Resiliency services provide additional protection against data loss (though businesses should use these backup services in a multi-cloud setup to minimize dependencies from one single cloud provider). With these practices and technologies in place, businesses can assure the security and integrity of their data, enabling them to continue making data-driven decisions with confidence.
Can Cloud Native Architecture Streamline Sustainability?
As the focus on climate change and environmental awareness continues to increase, the impact of organisations’ IT infrastructure on the environment – and the steps they’re taking to mitigate it – will come under ever greater scrutiny. In alignment with this, we can expect a growing number of organisations to begin challenging the environmental impact of their IT department and looking towards cloud native technology as an effective means of creating a more sustainable future for IT.
One of the main benefits of cloud native is the elastic architecture that prevents overprovisioning and underutilisation of capacity, which in turn reduces overall energy consumption and carbon footprint. Additionally, by leveraging auto-scaling features to match real-time demand, organisations can ensure that resources are optimally used without wasting energy on unnecessary infrastructure, thereby maximising the potential for a cost-effective and low-impact IT.
When implemented and monitored properly, cloud native technology is a critical tool for reducing carbon footprint and enhancing overall business efficiency and performance. In order to achieve this, cloud native organisations will need to implement GreenOps strategies that ensure continuous improvement and alignment between IT operations and sustainability targets throughout the complete life cycle.
How can Businesses Get Ahead of the Cloud Native Curve?
As we move further into the Cloud Native Era, it’s clear that legacy applications will not be able to compete against the efficiency, scalability, and sustainability that cloud solutions offer. However, the businesses that will be able to unlock the full potential of the cloud, are the ones who move beyond “lift and shift” to integrate cloud native technology that will enable them to begin building and modernising their systems in a more stable and sustainable environment from the start.
To discover how to get your business on track to embrace cloud native, join us on April 18th for the Devoteam TechRadar Roundtable. During the event, our experts will lead an interactive discussion where they will share the exact steps to take to bring business value through Cloud Native, and provide an exclusive preview of some of the most exciting cloud native technologies featured in the upcoming TechRadar 2023 before its public release. Register now to secure your spot.