So You Want to Go Cloud-Native? Here’s How To Gear Up

cloud native
Written by Gilad David Maayan

Going cloud-native makes infinite sense. But where do you start? Here’s GILAD DAVID MAAYAN with a roadmap for you …

Cloud computing clearly dominated the last decade. The explosive expansion of cloud computing services and tools shows that hosting workloads and data in the cloud is the new normal. Application development is a central part of this expansion, driving innovation. 

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More companies are choosing to move their application development to the cloud entirely, embracing cloud-native applications. This transition can be challenging though, especially if you’re not sure how or where to start. Here are some considerations and tips that can help ease your migration of applications to the cloud.

The State of the Cloud Services Market

According to Gartner, the market for cloud services is predicted to reach $331 billion by 2022. From this market, cloud application services are the fastest-growing sector, with a projected growth of 80%. The same report predicts that by 2020, more than a quarter of new software companies will choose to go cloud-native. 

The demand for cloud-based applications is clearly increasing, for a number of reasons. On-premises software is usually more expensive, requiring upfront investments and costly maintenance. It is also often difficult to integrate with cloud environments and other SaaS solutions. Cloud-native applications, on the other hand, integrate easily with cloud vendor environments, streamlining operations. 

What Is Cloud Native?

Cloud-native is a method for building and running applications that leverages cloud benefits, such as agility, scalability, and cost. Cloud-native technologies enable organizations to build applications in dynamic environments such as the cloud. Examples of cloud-native technologies are containers, microservices and service meshes. 

Considerations Before Moving to a Cloud-Native Strategy

A cloud-native strategy involves making an organizational commitment to prioritize cloud-based solutions. To achieve buy-in you should take into account the following considerations:

Prepare for an ongoing project

Switching to a cloud-native project means changing the operating model for the organization. It requires cross-team collaboration and a detailed plan. You should start by setting the objectives and benefits of choosing a cloud-native model. Almost half of the IT professionals surveyed by TechTarget mentioned their reason for digital transformation was to improve operations. 

Don’t forget about security

There are two myths people often have about moving to the cloud: that it compromises security and that the cloud provides 100% protection. Both are damaging. The reality is that a public cloud can reduce the risk of security incidents but does not eliminate all. Implementing security best practices and complementary tools can help improve the security of your applications. 

Train your staff well

To transition to the cloud you need cloud-savvy individuals. Among the skills required from them is knowledge of cloud architecture, deployment, and SaaS deployments. If you do not already have team members that are familiar with cloud environments, you should first ensure they develop these skills. Online tutorials and vendor documentation are a good place to start.

How to Successfully Migrate to the Cloud 

Developing a cloud migration strategy requires careful planning and several steps. In this section, you can find four tips for a winning cloud migration strategy.

1. Start by assessing the situation

Netflix was one of the first companies to migrate completely from on-premises to the cloud, and the process took eight years of planning. Although this may seem like a long time, it highlights the importance of thorough planning for a successful migration.

When planning a complete migration it is important to assess all applications, categorizing what you can migrate easily and what needs refactoring. Refactoring is the process of adapting code without changing its functionality. In the case of migration this often means altering applications for use in containers. 

2. Leverage containerization

Containers can often improve cloud operations, enabling teams to fully benefit from cloud scalability and flexibility. By decomposing applications into microservices running in containers, you can develop applications faster and more efficiently. 

Although it may take additional work at first, overall containers can make your shift towards cloud operations more effective. Additionally, containers can provide you a measure of protection against vendor lock-in. Since containers can be run in almost any environment, you can easily move them across platforms, including from cloud to cloud.

3. Apply DevOps methodology

Applying a DevOps methodology can give you the agility you need to adapt quickly to a cloud environment. DevOps is a methodology that involves close collaboration and shared processes between development and operations teams. 

Adopting a DevOps development approach can help you implement Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) processes. When you use DevOps to achieve CI/CD, you streamline the development pipeline, making it faster and more efficient. This allows you to better take advantage of cloud availability and scalability.

4. Increase visibility with end-to-end monitoring

When you migrate to the cloud it is important to have end-to-end visibility of your environment. This enables you to catch flaws and issues early in the migration process. While cloud providers usually provide monitoring tools with their offerings, sometimes the features are limited or there are additional costs. 

If your provider’s monitoring tools are insufficient, consider adding a third-party tool to monitor logs and events. The right third-party tool can help you centralize your monitoring and more efficiently visualize your systems. System Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions can be good tools for this purpose. SIEMs enable you to collect, filter, and correlate log and monitoring data across your systems.

The bottom line

Shifting to a cloud-native strategy can reduce the cost of running applications. In addition, it can improve the application development process. The cloud enables you to build and deploy applications faster, with scalability and flexibility. With the increasing popularity of cloud-native applications, the benefits are too big to be overlooked. Hopefully, this article provided you with a better idea of what a migration requires and some tips to help you migrate successfully.

For aNewDomain, I’m Gilad David Maayan.

Cover image: Architonic, Walking on Cloud/Dawn