A cloud-native application can be defined as distinct, reusable parts called microservices. These have been specially created to fit into any cloud environment. Cloud computing offers many benefits, as will be shown below.
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Microservices are also commonly called microservice architecture. Microservices architecture is made up of a collection of small, autonomous services.
Examples of companies that provide microservices are Netflix, Uber, Amazon, and Etsy. The advantages of microservices to these companies are that by splitting an application (app) into segments is that they can achieve economies of scale, be more flexible, and generate greater profits.
Companies usually start with a ‘monolith’ (essentially a single giant service), or single-service app. By dividing this into microservices (or ‘smaller services’) that run independently and are service-specific, they can pay more attention to satisfying specific customer needs.
Microservices are simpler to test and maintain, loosely joined to the company’s other microservices, operate independently, managed by a smaller team, and organized around business capabilities.
Converting from a monolith to microservices entails determining which aspects could run independently and catering to a specific service need. For example, a monolith may be a single application that stores customer details, service provision, and payments.
The payments aspect can be run on its own enabling it to be upgraded to handle debtors’ and creditors’ information and tracking. In Amazon’s case, they separated the tax calculator function from the rest of their services.
This allows each microservice to be developed by different developers or teams who can focus on an individual microservice to provide superior customer services. The microservices then interface with the rest of the application so that they can communicate when necessary but largely operate independently.
In our example, the customer can book a service and pay at the same time. The booking will go to the customer microservice and the payment to the finance one. The service representative can perform both actions from the same desktop and each set of information goes to the appropriate place.
To picture this, an API gateway stands between the client (the business) and microservices. An API gateway offers a single API entry point and separates the client interface from the backend implementation.
Whenever an entry is made by the client (service representative) the API gateway divides it into several requests, routes them correctly, sends a response, and keeps track of the process.
The Advantages of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has become very popular with businesses with more than nine out of ten making use of the cloud. There are options to make use of public cloud or private cloud technology or even a mixture. Furthermore, over half of most companies’ IT environment is hosted in the cloud.
The primary advantage of a cloud server is that it exists as a physical data storage center so that users such as businesses need not have servers or software applications running on their PCS. With these trends, it is becoming essential for IT specialists and departments to upgrade their skills to handle this new feature.
Cloud-native applications are constantly being improved and this is supported by how flexible a microservice is and how several microservices contribute collectively. These changes and new features are brought out periodically so that improvements are ongoing.
Cloud service provisioning comes with encryption to ensure system security. Additionally, it provides firewalls, segregated storage, and data isolation.
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Virtasant’s guide provides expertise on stateful vs. stateless architecture, one of the decisions you will need to make. A stateful service can be a database or use an internet protocol requiring a tight state handling on a single host.
The Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
The core problem with cloud technology is integrating it with other IT infrastructure. Cloud integration can be a nightmare for an IT department. Apart from requiring other new competencies, it uses a web application programming interface (API).
With microservices, you have more than one application that has to be managed as opposed to only one with a monolith.
Additional tools are needed to handle cloud-native apps and deal with microservices architecture.
Regardless of the challenges to cloud computing, it is here to stay. This means that IT departments have to upskill their staff and increase expenditure on the management of cloud computing and microservices.
However, with the many advantages of cloud computing and microservices, and given that it has become the ‘new kid on the block’, it is worth making the time and cost investments to ensure that your company can compete with other companies that are using the new technology.