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What are some values of cloud-native architecture?

Q:

What are some values of cloud-native architecture?

A:

Working at building cloud-native architectures can help a business to redesign and improve how it sets up and uses its IT systems.

The most fundamental value of cloud-native architecture is that these systems are built for the cloud, built in the cloud age, and designed specifically to be used via cloud platforms. That on its own is a compelling reason for some companies to build cloud-native architectures, but there are also concrete benefits related to how these systems work in the average enterprise IT environment.

One argument for cloud-native architecture is that it promotes the use of Kubernetes and other open technologies. Container virtualization is a technology that's very compatible with cloud services, so that is one aspect of the sea change toward cloud-native systems, as opposed to legacy systems that were made to be used on one specific hardware platform.

Another corresponding point, mentioned by experts like Eric Wright at Turbonomic, is that cloud-native systems assume a “looser” IT structure with more independent and free-form components. In other words, the rigidity of a legacy system can be a restriction, and even though the looser build may involve less precision, engineers are building cloud-native systems to deal with the relative chaos of more distributed environments.

In addition, building cloud-native platforms helps to wean companies away from the idea that applications are tightly bound to certain physical resources. The process of network virtualization has introduced the dynamic allocation of things like CPU and memory, and a cloud-native design makes use of this philosophy, so in a sense, it makes systems inherently more modern. There are obvious benefits to next-generation systems that dynamically allocate resources, including efficiencies and scalability and in general, lower costs. Companies pay for the resources that they use, and shrink operational costs for different cost centers.

Many experts admit that there is a learning curve to cloud-native systems that may represent a barrier for some companies, and a challenge for others. However, the eventual adoption of cloud-native systems and the philosophy that go along with it will help a business to build a system that can grow with the times, something that can be scaled and improved to better fit the needs of the business five or ten years in the future.

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Written by Justin Stoltzfus
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Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer for various Web and print publications. His work has appeared in online magazines including Preservation Online, a project of the National Historic Trust, and many other venues.
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