Over the last several years, various changes have led to the delayed popularization of cloud development, which has existed for over ten years but has yet to cement itself as the software development standard until lately.
Cloud development and in-cloud development are two ways of saying the same thing. The latter is less typical, but it avoids confusion between creating cloud software and constructing cloud infrastructure, which is very different.
What Is a Cloud-Based App?
A cloud application is software that divides its client- and server-side data storage and processing logic across the two platforms. Processing might happen locally on a desktop or mobile device of an end user, or it can happen on a distant server.
Typically, one advantage of cloud apps is that the majority of the data is stored on a distant server. Users can leverage Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) or browsers to interact with cloud apps.
These are the basic building blocks of a cloud application development, although how client and server-side interactions are handled and how they affect user experience vary, with the three main formats being:
A common type of cloud computing is software-as-a-service (SaaS), which provides customers access to a web application with all its supporting platforms and IT infrastructure.
By bypassing the need to buy the software outright or invest in a substantial on-premise IT infrastructure, SaaS lowers customers' upfront expenses. It is worth noting that users should buy fast network gear because service performance is based on internet speeds.
Using a public or private cloud, a provider controls your infrastructure—the physical servers, network, virtualization, and storage—for you. This is known as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). The infrastructure is outsourced, with access via API or dashboard.
While a provider manages the hardware, networking, servers, storage, and drives—and handles outages, maintenance, and physical issues—you can control things like the operating system, applications, and middleware.
Platform-as-a-service providers allow you to create, execute, and administer your apps without creating and maintaining the environment or infrastructure required for their operation. This is so that customers of PaaS may get hardware and a platform for running applications from a third-party service provider.
This makes PaaS the perfect choice for developers and programmers since you can control the real programs and data stored on the platform. A developer may, for instance, utilize PaaS as the basis for building a new app that interfaces with a database your business is already leveraging.
So, what makes cloud-native development so different?
The Identifying Elements of Cloud Native Development
As we mentioned, there are some key features of each development strategy. Let’s talk about them a little more.
The typical modular components that characterize contemporary software are what we call containers. These small, standardized software packages may be executed independently of the host environment and contain the application code and any necessary dependencies.
Code is packaged and isolated for deployment using these containers, which scale up or down rapidly using cloud environments' elasticity and scalability capabilities.
An architectural method for developing cloud applications is called microservices. Each app comprises several services, each of which executes in a separate process and interacts with the others via APIs.
Microservices have found their niche in the modern world of agile development, where programs are delivered as rapidly as possible before being changed and expanded as new functionality and features are tested in real-world settings.
Serverless cloud-native development approaches enable developers to build and run apps without needing to manage servers.
In serverless, servers exist but are separated from the app development process. The regular tasks of setting up, running, and scaling the server infrastructure are handled by a cloud provider. To deploy, developers only need to bundle their code in containers.
Serverless applications adapt to demand and dynamically scale up and down to match demand after launch.
Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD
CI/CD is an approach to delivering apps to users by adding automation into app development phases. The main concepts of the approach include continuous integration, delivery, and deployment.
CI/CD is a way for developers to avoid integration hell, where integrating new code becomes a cause for concern for the development and operations (DevOps) units.
DevOps teams collaborate in an agile manner using either a site reliability engineering (SRE) methodology or DevOps, and these interconnected processes are collectively referred to as a "CI/CD pipeline."
DevOps is an aggregation of schools of thought, tools, and practices geared toward helping organizations and businesses deliver apps and services faster while updating apps faster than organizations leveraging traditional infrastructure management approaches.
Organizations can swiftly respond to market demands and keep a competitive edge thanks to the agility and versatility of the DevOps architecture.
In addition to these features, cloud development also relies on the following:
- The use of multiple languages and frameworks to suit specific functionalities or services.
- Using the same underlying host operating system with shared system kernels and dependencies.
- Using lightweight REST APIs (Representational State Transfer Application Programming Interfaces) allows tech-agnostic HTTP communication.
- Architectures and platforms with stateful and stateless services.
- High automation, which enables high scalability.
These aren’t all the features you will find in cloud development, but they represent the core/fundamentals of what the approach is all about.
The Benefits Of Cloud Development
Because of all these features, cloud development has some benefits not provided by traditional development methods. Some of the often-cited ones include:
- Scalability - The cloud can scale up or down quickly compared to traditional development methods. You can even develop your app in dynamic containers that have automatic scaling.
- Cost - While using cloud resources, you can be provisioned the exact amount of power needed, ensuring that you only pay for what you use, which is more cost-effective. With the advent of as-a-service offerings like PaaS, SaaS, and IaaS, you can get started with no upfront investment and scale up as needed.
- Rapid Provisioning - Any resource you need is available quickly and can easily be spun up or decommissioned.
- Security - Security, like many things you would need to do traditionally, is outsourced to the cloud provider you use for the most part, including any compliance requirements.
- Service Model & Offerings Flexibility - The cloud allows developers to create environments that meet their specific needs.
- Easy Deployments - Because everything, including development, testing, or updating, is done in the cloud, you can turn around features and other productions quickly and have them ready to go live faster.
- Advanced Cloud Services - Cloud providers offer services like a service bus, Azure’s Service Fabric, Azure Functions, SendGrid, and more to improve the user experience.
- Enabling DevOps - DevOps, as we say, is an aggregation of practices and tools that can only be powered in the cloud, making development and operations much easier overall.
- Better Disaster Recovery - You can set up your recovery environment, configure it and have it ready to go quickly, with scaling as required.
- Improved Quality Control - Maintaining consistency, spotting errors, and making revisions/updates becomes much easier with everyone accessing the same information.
There are more benefits, depending on what projects you undertake, but also some challenges worth mentioning. They include:
- Culture changes - Switching to a DevOps process means changing team members' roles and structures to common and shared responsibility formats. There may be teething problems to contend with.
- Legacy apps and infrastructure - Organizations transitioning to cloud-native approaches after using legacy systems will find the migration complicated and time-consuming.
- Expertise gap - Teams that have never built cloud-native applications will need additional training to bridge the expertise gap before running their pipelines smoothly.
- New security risks- Cloud usage comes with its own set of risks that are nothing like what you may have had to deal with traditionally, which means you have to consider how much your security posture needs to change and how your organization or business will handle it.
Moving to cloud development approaches is undoubtedly a challenging process.
The Difference Between Cloud-Native Development And Cloud Development
Cloud-based development, cloud development, and cloud-native development are frequently used interchangeably. There are, nevertheless, significant differences between the two. Cloud development is the process of developing code in or on a local system directly linked to the cloud environment, from where it is transmitted for testing.
Only an online interface or browser linked to a cloud-based infrastructure is needed for cloud development. Cloud-native development focuses more on the content than the process of creating software.
The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and Kubernetes communities coined the phrase " container-based "dynamically orchestrated software development" using a microservices-based architecture.
If you want to split hairs, using the term "container-native development" may be a more precise descriptor than saying "cloud-native development."
Standard cloud development approaches rely on the high availability and scalability of the cloud infrastructure and don't require containers.
The Difference Between Traditional And Cloud Native Application Development
Managed cloud environments are mainly regarded in cloud development as a natural substitute for on-premise servers. This approach reduces the initial investment needed to set up on-premise server capacity.
It enables scaling of processing power and data storage capacity, lowering the chance of disruptions during periods of high demand. However, the fundamental app design is substantially the same as it would be for a conventional app.
By integrating cloud services and capabilities into the app's design and integrating the development, testing, and deployment environments to enable CI/CD pipelines, cloud-native development fully utilizes the cloud environment.
The Drivers Behind Cloud Development Adoption
The following macro trends have been the main changes in recent years that have pushed more organizations and businesses to develop in the cloud and use native cloud development as the standard.
- Cloud costs have decreased, and even when individual developers in a team require their own cloud environment, it is easy to get.
- Container technologies like Kubernetes and Docker allow the software to be autonomous of its run-time environment. Containerization also allows for creating a local cloud environment that duplicates the final production environment, removing the need for dev and testing to incur additional cloud platform fees.
- The popularity of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, which are cloud-native software applications, means that just about anyone can access powerful functionalities without having to bear the burden of running powerful computations on a local machine.
- More complicated software based on microservices and AI/ML (artificial intelligence/machine learning) is being developed increasingly faster. They require more computational power than conventional personal PCs, making cloud development a natural alternative.
- More organizations now run all software in the cloud as the default mode of operation.
With all of this power and accessibility at hand, there have been many benefits that have ensured that cloud development will only continue to grow.
Cloud Development is The Future
There has been a significant rise in demand for cloud-based apps throughout the globe. As a result, there is now more need for creating cloud applications. As a result, the market for cloud computing has been consolidating over the past few years.
Nearly everyone uses cloud apps and services, either directly or indirectly. Even if they are occasionally unaware, businesses have grown their use of Cloud-based apps and services.
The market is only poised to get bigger with time, and as more people adopt it, we will all be in the cloud.