The term cloud native refers to the concept of building and running applications to take advantage of the distributed computing offered by the cloud delivery model. Cloud native apps are designed and built to exploit the scale, elasticity, resiliency, and flexibility the cloud provides.
As defined by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), Cloud native technologies empower organizations to build and run scalable applications in public, private, and hybrid clouds. Features such as containers, service meshes, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative application programming interfaces (APIs) best illustrate this approach.
These features enable loosely coupled systems that are resilient, manageable, and observable. They allow engineers to make high-impact changes frequently and with minimal effort.
The modern landscape of complex applications—with users expecting continuous innovation coupled with unparalleled responsiveness—requires business systems to be more strategic and increasingly flexible. Cloud native is all about moving fast while also remaining agile.
Cloud native services empower modern application development using technologies such as Kubernetes, Docker, serverless functions, APIs, and Kafka. Industry-leading cloud providers enable cloud tooling and services so that developers can reduce operational tasks and build applications faster. Cloud native services give developers a comprehensive, standards-based platform for building, deploying, and managing cloud native applications such as microservices and serverless functions.
Discover how you can harness the full potential of cloud native to build resilient, manageable, and scalable modern cloud apps quickly and easily.
The move to cloud native technologies has permanently altered software development and business models by making it possible to maximize customer experiences across an organization’s platform. Not long ago, the IT infrastructure of many organizations was “cloud friendly”. IT teams that move to the cloud are putting themselves at a sharp competitive disadvantage if they don’t maximize their investment by also creating cloud native applications. For your company to survive while also differentiating itself from its competitors, adjusting and iterating quickly is a business necessity—and a cloud infrastructure has the elasticity and on-demand capabilities to transition any business to cloud native.
The CNCF was formed in 2015 in response to the abundance of organizations and services adopting cloud native systems. A project created by the Linux Foundation, the CNCF is an open source software foundation that promotes the adoption of cloud native technologies. CNCF has more than 400 members, including public cloud providers, enterprise software companies, and technology startups. Microsoft, Oracle, VMware, Intel are some of the Platinum members of CNCF.
The CNCF exists to ensure that cloud native technology is accessible, available, and reliable. It fosters a community that’s dedicated to projects such as Kubernetes, Prometheus, and CoreDNS, while supporting organizations that build sustainable environments that orchestrate containers within a microservice architecture.
An organization’s journey to cloud native can be daunting, but in the end, it can be a worthwhile one. This journey is about more than just re-architecting applications—it’s about changing your company’s structure and culture, and ultimately moving your company forward. Using the CNCF Trail Map, enterprises can adopt cloud native technologies incrementally. As expected, progression along the “trail” requires adoption of more-complex software to deliver microservices, serverless functions, event-based streams, and other types of cloud native apps.
Cloud native applications—or native cloud applications (NCAs)—are programs designed for a cloud computing architecture. They have many benefits.
Cloud native applications are independent services, packaged as self-contained, lightweight containers that are portable and can be scaled (in or out) rapidly based on the demand. By encapsulating everything into a container (such as a Docker container), you isolate the application and its dependencies from the underlying infrastructure. This allows you to deploy that containerized application in any environment that has the container runtime engine. What’s important about Kubernetes container orchestrations is that they manage the lifecycle of the containers. Cloud native apps are often delivered via a DevOps pipeline that includes continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) toolchains. CI/CD pipelines are important for automating the building, testing, and deployment of cloud native applications.
Cloud native architecture concerns the design of applications or services that were made specifically to exist in the cloud, rather than in a more traditional on-premises infrastructure. A successful cloud native architecture needs to be easy to maintain and supported by a next-generation cloud, while also being cost efficient and self-healing. Compared to legacy systems, cloud native architectures have a greater level of flexibility, without having to rely on physical servers.
This is where microservices and serverless functions can play a large and important role. Microservices are the core of cloud native application architecture, and they have become a key tool for companies that are making the move to the cloud. Microservices arrange an application into multiple, independent services, each of which serves a specific function. Many software companies take advantage of microservices because they support DevOps, enable flexibility, and improve scalability, while also reducing costs. Cloud native microservices communicate with each other via APIs and use event-driven architecture, which serves to enhance the overall performance of each application. Oracle Cloud Native services follow the CNCF trail map to help simplify the journey and make it easier for companies to start building, deploying, and managing modern cloud native applications.
The term serverless functions describes an architecture style that focuses on increasing developers’ productivity. A serverless application lets you write code on a platform that functions as a service (FaaS) using event-driven architectures and various backend-as-a-service (BaaS) models. This eliminates the need to worry about provisioning, patching, scaling, security, high availability, and so forth. With FaaS platforms, such as Oracle Functions, applications are broken up into small pieces of code (nanoservices), which are dynamically scheduled and run on demand when triggered by an event. The advantage of this approach is that code is called and executed only when needed, and you pay only for the resources used during the execution duration. This differs from a classic server approach, in which applications are loaded into a server and spend most of their time idle, waiting for requests. Thus, in serverless computing, you pay only for computing resources you actually use, rather than paying for idle resources.
Cloud-native services are at the core of digital innovations and are key to advanced analytics, mobile apps, and chatbots. DevOps practices remove most of the management tasks associated with building, operating, and maintaining a complex software platform. Software development, deployment, and testing activities reside in the cloud and can be expanded or contracted at will. Shifting applications, DevOps, and workloads to a cloud native architecture is integral to keeping your business competitive.
Oracle’s cloud native services drive modern cloud native application development by using standards-based technologies such as Kubernetes, Docker, serverless functions, APIs, and Kafka. Often described as the “operating system for the cloud,” Kubernetes is an open source platform for managing clusters of containerized applications and services. The key components of Kubernetes are clusters, nodes, and the control plane. Clusters contain nodes. Each node comprises a set of at least one worker machine. The nodes host pods that contain elements of the deployed application. The control plane manages nodes and pods in the cluster, often across many computers, for resiliency and high availability.
Oracle provides the cloud tooling and automation necessary for these services so that development teams can reduce operational tasks and quickly build applications. Cloud native services run on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), which offers a standards-based platform with higher performance and lower cost compared to other cloud providers. By taking advantage of services based on open source and open standards, OCI makes it possible for developers to run applications on any cloud or on-premises environment without refactoring—which gives them more freedom to focus on building and innovating.
OCI Container Registry is an open standards–based, Oracle-managed Docker registry service for securely storing and sharing container images. Engineers can easily push and pull Docker images with the familiar Docker command line interface (CLI) and API. To support container lifecycles, Container Registry works with Oracle’s Container Engine for Kubernetes, OCI Identity and Access Management, Oracle Visual Builder Studio, and third-party developer and DevOps tools.
OCI Notifications is a highly available, low-latency publish/subscribe (pub/sub) service that sends alerts and messages to Oracle Cloud Functions, email, SMS, and message delivery partners, including Slack, PagerDuty, and ServiceNow. The service integrates with OCI Identity and Access Management for secure access and delivers each message, even during traffic bursts. Notifications help you build cloud native applications that are scalable and reliable.
The OCI Streaming service is a real-time, serverless, Apache Kafka-compatible event streaming platform for developers and data scientists. This managed-event streaming service ingests, stores, and processes real-time streaming data at scale. It reduces lock-in via full compatibility with widely used and open source Kafka APIs.
Container Engine for Kubernetes (OKE) is an Oracle-managed container orchestration service that can reduce the time and cost to build modern cloud native applications. Unlike most other vendors, OCI provides Container Engine for Kubernetes as a free service that runs on higher-performance, lower-cost compute shapes. DevOps engineers can use unmodified, open source Kubernetes for application workload portability and to simplify operations with automatic updates and patching.
Oracle Cloud Functions is a serverless platform that lets developers create, run, and scale applications without managing any infrastructure—it also integrates with OCI, platform services and SaaS applications. Because Functions is based on the open source Fn Project, developers can create applications that can be easily ported to other cloud and on-premises environments. Code based on Functions typically runs for short durations, and customers pay only for the resources they use.
Does cloud native application development truly deliver apps that are that much better than traditionally developed apps? Yes. The benefits to cloud native apps are clear: cloud native apps can scale because their functions are broken into microservices and they allow for individual management. And since they are agnostic to their cloud infrastructure, cloud native apps can run in a highly distributed manner, maintaining independence and allocating resources based on the application needs. Cloud native applications have become a key way to increase business strategy and value, because they can provide a consistent experience across private, public, and hybrid clouds. They allow your organization to take full advantage of cloud computing by running responsive and reliable cloud native apps that are scalable and reduce risk.
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