Becoming a Cloud Native Business
In this day and age you wouldn’t think having a web site would be a strategic factor for a business.
However as the Independent reports the primary reason for the soaring share price of Dunelm was their web site upgrade, defining Cloud Native to be the essential success factor:
“We now have a modern, flexible, cloud-native platform that will be used to accelerate the development of our customer proposition,” the group said.
Similarly Air Malta attributes their turn around to the same transformation.
A recent ZDNet article lamented that CIO’s are still struggling to define and achieve the use of technology as a tool for enabling competitive advantage, with the usual impediment of maintaining the existing legacy estate being the primary inhibitor.
‘Going Cloud Native’ represents a wholesale addressing of this challenge, a process of transforming that legacy estate to be entirely built for and operating in the Cloud, and with that, delivering the type of always on experience that customers expect in this digital age.
The uber poster child of migrating legacy applications and IT systems to a modular, high frequency agile Cloud Native approach is Netflix.
In a VentureBeat article the author envisions ‘the future of enterprise tech’.
They describe how pioneering organizations like Netflix are entirely embracing a Cloud paradigm for their business, moving away from the traditional approach of owning and operating your own data centre populated by the likes of EMC, Oracle and VMware.
Instead they are moving to ‘web scale IT’ via on demand rental of containers, commodity hardware and NoSQL databases, but critically it’s not just about swapping out the infrastructure components. By further embracing software architecture principles like Microservices and high frequency Continuous Deployment practices an organization can go fully Cloud Native.
Nirmata, one of the vendors that can enable this Cloud Native approach, describe in this blog an overview of how a Microservices architecture can be leveraged to drive better customer engagement.
Undertaking the Cloud Native Journey
Pivotal also reference the model in their presentation the Cloud Native Journey.
This sets the strategic context for the technologies, centred around the principle that the capabilities required for digital transformation can’t be bought, they must be developed in-house. As a consequence by 2020 75% of application development supporting digital business will be built not bought.
The core business benefit is the ability to deliver new digital products, much faster than was previously possible.
Cloud Native Transformation
In conclusion they define the primary characteristics of successfully adopting some or all of the Cloud Native practices, and how they bring about a number of transformative improvements:
- A wholesale embrace of containerized application infrastructure and microservices software architecture.
- Containerizing legacy applications can accelerate their Cloud migration and adoption into new development environments and lifecycle.
- These advances can power further advances, such as the adopt of a microservices software architecture.
- This enables faster rates of new software release deployment.
Netflix prioritizes ‘velocity of innovation‘ above all other IT factors, the primary contrasting difference between the more traditional IT organizations who struggle to not let security and reliability be their defining, and importantly limiting, modus operandi.
Being able to still successfully address these concerns while elevating a faster rate of software innovation to the top most priority, through a Cloud Native paradigm of microservices architecture and continuous delivery practices, is the formula for emulating the success stories of the global digital natives like Netflix et al, and from this, achieving a competitive advantage for any business in any sector.