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May 30, 2019By Sumo Logic

Clearing the Air: What Is Cloud Native?

If you have had any exposure to cloud computing or app development in recent years, you likely have heard the term “cloud native” thrown around. But you might be wondering what exactly that term means, and how it differs from concepts such as “cloud ready” or “cloud enabled.”

As a cloud-native service provider, Sumo Logic understands the architecture underpinning this development model. Let’s take a closer look at the cloud-native concept and what it means.

What Does Cloud Native Mean?

When we describe a platform or system as cloud native, we are referring to a method of building and deploying applications that takes advantage of cloud computing as a delivery model. Rather than indicating where applications are run, cloud native refers to the environment in which applications are built and implemented – they begin their life in the cloud and remain there.

Cloud-native also can be characterized, more specifically, by the use of the open-source software stack, with the parts of an app being separated in to containers and oriented around microservices.

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Cloud Native in Modern IT Settings

Cloud-native computing operates within an IT environment as a method for establishing complex, scalable systems. The method has had a significant influence on development teams, even where applications are not hosted on a cloud platform.

Container-based microservices have had a particularly strong impact because of the efficiencies they provide in software development. Containerizing parts of an application helps make those applications much easier to distribute. Development teams can easily share them among one another and get them running in several environments. And once the apps have been tested, they can be deployed to production in the same containers where they were developed.

The flexible nature of this approach is well-suited to the iterative and rapid development cycles by which contemporary DevOps teams operate.

Cloud-native models built on microservices architecture emphasize the design of each component in an application, making it easy to adapt them to new requirements as they come up.

Cloud Native Continuous Delivery

Cloud-native applications can improve agility by emphasizing automation. When tasks are automated, they can be done more rapidly, and at a greater frequency. Automation also frees up time to build further automations and efficiencies in to the DevOps process.

Teams working with a cloud native platform operate under a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) model. Building out standard, repeatable processes for iterative development, these teams can automate continuous code deployment to their users. Using APIs to connect services and configuration management tools allows for further automation within applications.

DevOps in Cloud Native Environments

Cloud-native development can only be as rapid and flexible as the team that supports it, and traditional development, which throws a finished application over the wall to the operations team, is not going to pass muster.

Operating in a cloud-native structure essentially requires a DevOps structure. Under this operating model, the same people responsible for building the application are those who continuously run it. This is a key to high-quality, agile app development, as well as to supporting cloud-native platforms.

Organizations that have not made the switch to a DevOps model likely will find that the switch is essential to solving problems with cloud-native development.

What Are Cloud-Native Applications?

Native apps are defined as applications that run in the environment where they were developed. Accordingly, a cloud-native application is an application that is specifically designed and deployed within a cloud-computing architecture. These applications are made to leverage cloud frameworks, built on coupled services. This structure enables developers to design applications as a collection of connected services, running on distributed servers.

This method of app development is cost-effective because supporting resources can be scaled up or down without the need for overprovisioning.

What Is Cloud-Native Architecture?

Like a cloud-native application, a cloud-native architecture is built in the cloud, specifically to run in the cloud. These structures offer a significant advantage in their ability to run across platforms because they do not rely on the resources of a specific operating system.

Cloud-native architectures also distribute resources across both internal and external resources. As such, they rely on the latest technologies supporting distributed systems. They are designed to actually take advantage of the cloud and the benefits it makes possible.

Cloud Native vs Cloud Based

Cloud-based apps, resources, and services are made available to users on demand through the servers of a cloud-based computing provider. Companies use these resources to add functionality or enhance on-demand access without the need to add expensive infrastructure components.

This cloud-based computing model differs significantly from cloud-native applications as it only refers to the access method, where applications or resources are hosted on the cloud.

Cloud Native vs Cloud Ready

The term “cloud-ready” differs from both cloud-based and cloud-native. While both of the latter concepts rely on the cloud for connection to services and resources, cloud-ready refers to connectivity capabilities of a device, resource, or software program. This means that resource is capable of connecting over the internet. A cloud-based printer, for instance, can accept print jobs sent to an internet platform from another internet-connected device.

Clearly, this has little to do with applications or platforms that originate in the cloud.

Cloud Native vs Cloud Enabled

When an application is built in the cloud, to be delivered in the cloud, it is said to be cloud native. Cloud-enabled apps, in contrast, were not developed within a cloud environment, specifically to be deployed in the cloud. Instead, they likely were developed on legacy systems, then adapted for a cloud deployment. They therefore differ in architecture from the microservices-based apps typical of cloud-native systems.

Sumo Logic as a Cloud Native Service

Sumo Logic is a cloud-native service provider committed to delivering continuous value to our customers. Our multi-tenant architecture scales on demand to support rapid growth without the need for manual intervention. The platform can be implemented within a matter of minutes, without any need for expensive upgrades.

Sumo Logic has an expanding list of open-source, cloud native projects including:

  • Sumoshell, a collection of CLI utilities that developers can use to for analyzing log files.
  • Sumo Logic Python SDK, which provides a Python interface to the Sumo Logic REST API to make it easier to hit the API in Python code.

Interested in giving them a test drive? Try Sumo Logic for free to help your organization make the cloud its home.

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