What does it take to make a full commitment to the cloud? Some might say it means moving all your applications to the cloud and eliminating your on-premises data center. But there’s another step to making a complete transition to the cloud: using cloud native applications.
Cloud Native Is Built to Leverage Cloud’s Advantages
It’s entirely possible to move one of your virtual machines off a physical server in your data center and drop it onto a physical server in the cloud. That’s the “lift and shift” model of cloud migration. It’s quick and simple, but applications designed to run in the data center can have limitations that don’t let them take advantage of cloud capabilities like automatic scaling.
Cloud native applications are designed and built in ways that let them get the maximum use of the cloud’s flexibility and availability. They’re typically built as containers, which allows them to be easily deployed on any available instance. That’s often combined with microservices, which allows them to easily scale. An agile, DevOps development approach makes it possible to rapidly deploy new builds.
Advantages of Going Cloud Native
Building applications using the cloud native approach offers several advantages. It’s agile, allowing businesses to rapidly respond to change. It can be heavily automated, allowing changes to be make quickly without the time and risk of manual intervention. Scaling can happen automatically. The microservices approach provides great flexibility and allows services to be used to meet needs the original developers didn’t foresee.
Those are beneficial characteristics on their own, but for smart companies, those benefits combine to create an even bigger benefit: competitive advantage. The ability to respond faster gives businesses a leg up against their competition. You can rapidly make major changes in technology to respond to new opportunities or changes in the business environment.
Disadvantages of Going Cloud Native
Given those benefits, why would you not go cloud native? The biggest reason is that it’s highly disruptive. Migrating to cloud is always a disruptive process, even if you lift-and-shift. If you choose to go cloud native, the disruption increases exponentially. Developers need to learn a new way of thinking about the applications they build, and operations needs to adapt to new ways of deploying, monitoring, and supporting them.
In addition, going cloud native means a slower transition to the cloud. Cloud migration planning always requires assessing whether workloads should be moved to the cloud at all; choosing to go cloud native requires a second level of analysis to decide whether each individual workload should be moved as is or rebuilt as a cloud native application. Once you decide to remake an application, you need additional analysis to identify the tools and design the technical architecture. Then executing the work of making an application cloud native can mean the cloud migration timeline stretches out much longer than the lift and shift approach.
Finally, if you have concerns about vendor lock-in, those issues are even more significant when you go cloud native. If you build a cloud by lifting and shifting virtual machines (VMs), it’s relatively straightforward to lift and shift those VMs over to another cloud provider. But when you go cloud native, you completely tie your application to your cloud provider’s available tools and API. Those won’t be the same over at another cloud provider, so moving to a different cloud is a bigger project.
There are many important decisions to make as you transition to cloud. CCS Technology Services can help you think through them to design and implement a cloud strategy that meets your business needs. Contact us to learn about our cloud services.