5 Key Benefits of a Cloud Native Approach to Infrastructure
June 9, 2023 | 13 min read
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A cloud native approach to infrastructure is becoming increasingly popular in today’s digital landscape. By leveraging cloud computing resources and services, organizations can benefit from improved scalability, security, and more!
In this article, I will outline five key benefits of adopting a cloud native approach to infrastructure and how it helps businesses stay ahead of the competition and respond quickly to changing market conditions.
What is cloud native infrastructure?
This is an approach to building and running software and applications that take full advantage of the capabilities of the cloud. It is a complete paradigm shift that includes a set of practices and technologies that enable organizations to build and run highly scalable, resilient, and cost-effective applications.
At its core, cloud native infrastructure is about decoupling applications from the underlying infrastructure to be deployed and run anywhere without being tied to a specific operating system or hardware. This is achieved through containerization, orchestration tools, and the microservice architecture.
Here are the 5 key benefits of Cloud Native infrastructure 👇
Scalability refers to the ability of a system to handle increased demand or traffic by adding or removing resources dynamically. In the context of adopting cloud native infrastructure, organizations can scale their resources up or down without worrying about physical limitations or hardware constraints.
Some benefits of scalability in cloud native infrastructure include:
- Flexibility: Organizations can scale their resources up or down quickly and easily without manual intervention or downtime. This flexibility allows them to adapt more effectively to changing business needs and market conditions.
- Cost saving: By using cloud native infrastructure, organizations can refrain from investing in expensive hardware or overprovisioning resources that may not be used. Instead, they can pay for what they need when they need it and scale up or down accordingly. This can help reduce costs and optimize their budget.
- Improved performance: Scalability enhances the performance of applications and services by handling sudden spikes in traffic or demand without becoming overloaded or unresponsive.
Resilience is the ability of a system to recover quickly and maintain operational functionality in the face of disruptions. In the context of cloud native infrastructure, resilience is the ability of applications and services to withstand and recover from potential outages or failures in the underlying infrastructure. Benefits of resilience include:
- Fault-tolerance: This, by design, ensures system availability and data integrity, even in the event of component failures.
- Automated failover: With this capability, the system can quickly switch to a backup resource or service in the event of a failure without any noticeable impact on the user experience.
- Reduced downtime and increased reliability: This can help businesses maintain customer satisfaction and avoid revenue loss.
- Improved disaster recovery and business continuity: With the ability to quickly restore operations in the event of a catastrophic event, business data and services can be recovered promptly to minimize the impact on business operations.
- Compliance with industry regulations and standards, which often requires organizations to maintain a certain level of resilience and data protection.
To achieve resilience, organizations can use techniques such as:
- Containerization isolates applications and services from one another, making it easier to identify and isolate issues.
- Microservices architecture which breaks down applications into smaller, more modular components that can be more easily managed and scaled.
- Redundancy and backup strategies that duplicate critical components and data across multiple systems to ensure high availability and data protection.
- Automated monitoring and remediation, which use AI and machine learning to detect and fix issues before they become critical.
This is the ability to quickly and efficiently deploy new applications and features, as well as update and patch existing ones without disrupting users or experiencing downtime. The benefits of agility are numerous, including:
- Faster time to market for new products and services
- Improved customer satisfaction through frequent updates and enhancements
- Reduced risk of errors and downtime during updates and patches
- Increased collaboration and productivity among development and operations teams due to shared tools and processes
- Ability to experiment and innovate with new ideas without disrupting existing systems
To further enhance agility, organizations can take measures such as:
- Investing in automation tools and processes to streamline development and deployment
- Implementing continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines to automate testing and deployment
- Leveraging cloud-based development platforms that provide built-in tools and services for agile development
Here are some organizations that have benefited from increased agility thanks to adopting the cloud native infrastructure:
- Netflix deploys thousands of changes to its infrastructure daily without downtime, continuously improving the user experience.
- Capital One can now build and deploy banking applications in just a few weeks, significantly reducing the time to market compared to its traditional approach.
- Adidas reduced release cycles from months to days, enabling them to respond to customer feedback and market trends quickly.
The cloud native infrastructure allows organizations to optimize operational costs by paying only for the needed resources. It enables a shift from upfront capital expenditure to variable operational costs based on usage. The value of cost-effectiveness:
- Paying only for the resources needed: Organizations only pay for the computing resources they use, which can lead to significant savings, especially for organizations with fluctuating workloads.
- Optimizing operational costs: Cloud infrastructure allows for efficient resource management, including automatic resource allocation and de-allocation. This optimizes operational costs, reduces waste, and provides cost savings.
Ways in which cloud native infrastructure has improved cost-effectiveness for organizations:
- Netflix: Netflix uses cloud native infrastructure to optimize its video streaming service. By leveraging cloud computing resources, they scale up or down their infrastructure based on the demand for the service. This allows them to reduce costs and maintain high levels of availability and reliability.
- Airbnb: Airbnb uses cloud native infrastructure to optimize its booking service. This enables them to optimize their service to handle high traffic volumes during peak periods, reduce costs and maintain a seamless booking experience for their users.
5. Improved Security
Security is an integral aspect of cloud infrastructure due to the decentralized structure and constant data sharing among different services and between the organization and the user. This creates potential security breach points that require robust security measures to safeguard cloud-based resources, applications, and data.
Cloud native security solutions provide advanced security features and capabilities such as encryption, access controls, identity and access management (IAM), and threat detection and response. These features work together seamlessly to provide end-to-end security for cloud-based resources and applications. Examples of security solutions include AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), Google Cloud IAM, Azure Active Directory, Cloud Security Command Center, and Azure Information Protection.
In addition to the security measures provided by the infrastructure vendor, organizations can also implement multi-factor authentication, restricted access, and data auditing to ensure that each unit is exposed only to relevant data and fields. This adds multiple layers of security and helps to protect against potential security breaches.
Several organizations have leveraged cloud infrastructure to enhance their security posture. For example:
- Capital One protects its financial services and ensures compliance with regulatory requirements.
- NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has improved the security of its mission-critical applications and data.
Maximizing the benefits of cloud native infrastructure for your organization
Cloud native infrastructure makes it easy to make changes to your applications so that you can respond quickly to new opportunities or market changes. However, simply adopting a cloud native infrastructure is not enough.
To maximize the benefits of a cloud native approach for your organization, apply the recommendations below 👇
It’s essential to evaluate your current infrastructure to identify any potential issues that could impact your migration. This includes assessing your hardware, software, and existing applications and services.
Once you have evaluated your current infrastructure, the next step is to develop a migration plan. This plan should outline the steps to move your applications and services to a cloud native solution. It should include timelines, milestones, and key stakeholders responsible for each step in the process.
Choosing the right cloud provider is essential for maximizing the benefits of cloud native solutions. Consider factors like the provider’s reputation, security measures, scalability options, and pricing. You may also want to consider the provider’s support for specific technologies, such as containerization and microservices architecture.
Invest in automation. Automation is critical for maximizing the benefits of cloud native solutions. By automating key processes such as deployment, scaling, and monitoring, you can free up your IT staff to focus on more strategic tasks. Additionally, automation can help ensure your applications and services are always available and responsive.
Cloud native solutions require close collaboration between development and operations teams. By fostering a culture of collaboration, you can ensure that your teams work together to develop, test, and deploy new applications and services. This can help improve agility and reduce the risk of errors and downtime during updates and patches.
Finally, it’s essential to continuously monitor and optimize your cloud infrastructure to ensure that it delivers the expected benefits. This includes monitoring performance, identifying and addressing issues, and optimizing resource utilization to reduce costs.
By following these key steps, you can maximize the benefits of a cloud-based approach for your organization. Whether you’re looking to improve scalability, resilience, agility, or cost-effectiveness, a cloud native approach can help you stay ahead of the competition and respond quickly to changing market conditions.
Telepresence: Rapid development & testing of Kubernetes services
Building and testing your microservice-based application becomes complex when you can no longer run everything locally due to resource requirements. Moving to the cloud for testing is a no-brainer, but how do you synchronize your local changes against your remote Kubernetes environment? By using Telepresence!
Telepresence redirects network traffic from a service in the cloud to a service or container on your local machine, merging the benefits of cloud and local test environments. This means you can run integration tests locally instead of waiting on a remote deployment.