The Important Questions About Cloud-Native Application Development
Today‚Äôs fast-paced business world deserves an accelerated solution delivery to address the evolving user needs. For a long time, enterprises have been using monolithic approaches to develop applications because of their solidity and stability and driven by entrenched practices. But enterprises now need methods that can help them build high-quality, responsive, and scalable applications faster.
For ISVs, this becomes an opportunity to leverage the power of the cloud and offer a way to modernize their product portfolio. By providing cloud-native applications, enterprises can gain a competitive advantage by introducing flexibility and speed into their product development process. There are many great reasons to choose cloud-native.¬†
One key advantage is offered on the cost front as there are no upfront costs. The pricing model shifts from CAPEX to OPEX for the ISV as only operational expenses need to be paid. The subscription model helps in planning expenses for software licenses, upgrades, daily backups, etc. on a monthly basis.¬†
Another key advantage is enhanced agility due to the possibility of quick deployment within hours or days. Cloud-native applications are easy to scale and modify and are portable, i.e. they can be deployed on any platform without changing the code.¬†
Access to specialized services also adds power and enhances flexibility. New elements like microservices architecture and APIs have also made cloud-native applications more agile. This enables ISVs to respond to market changes quickly. Third-party integrations also become easier with cloud-native applications.
For ISVs, this means acquiring the agility to develop innovative solutions for emerging customer needs at a pace that can disrupt existing paradigms. However, some questions persist about the strategy for ISVs to address before focusing their efforts on adopting cloud-native approaches.
Four Important Questions to Answer About Cloud-Native Applications
Q1. What is the goal of building a cloud-native application?¬†
Does cloud-native application development fit the business scenario the ISV operates in? Is it ‚Äúnecessary‚ÄĚ to make that shift?¬†
Sometimes the ISV might just need to modernize existing systems, workflows, and processes to enhance agility and scalability. However, modernizing legacy applications is not as easy as it looks.
Some business cases might demand building a new cloud-native application from scratch. They will also have to assess the enterprise‚Äôs readiness to adopt cloud-native technologies and their internal capacity for evolution to make an informed decision. This will call for changes to the product architecture and will demand the provisioning of different skills. Obviously, it may take some time to become cloud-native completely.
Through that time, ISVs will have to maintain and support the existing version of the application till it becomes fully cloud-native.¬†ISVs will have to weigh these factors and decide the most feasible option before committing to their revamp strategies.
Q2. What are the key criteria influencing the choice of a cloud platform?
To develop a cloud-native application, ISVs will have to evaluate the choice of platform based on the following criteria:
- Cloud Platform: ISVs need to check if the available cloud platforms can support their customer‚Äôs business needs. For instance, does a platform offer capabilities such as business intelligence and data analytics that may be necessary to draw the most benefit out of an upgraded application? Is it flexible enough to be re-configured based on the needs and challenges of the enterprise customer base?
- Development Model: The ISV should focus on picking the development and deployment model that can align with the business scenarios and requirements of their target enterprises. They must ensure that the model they choose supports all the current and future strategies of the enterprises they cater to.
- Containerization: The chosen approach should support containerization‚Äď whether it is the Docker container with Kubernetes orchestration or Docker Swarm clusters with bare metal capability. This helps the ISV build more flexibly and fast.
- Third-party Integration: ISVs must ensure that the chosen cloud platform interoperates and integrates seamlessly with the third-party service providers likely to be a part of the enterprise tech ecosystem.
- Culture Shift: The move to cloud-native services could change the existing business workflows and processes within the ISV. For instance, it might require a drastic cultural shift by making DevOps mainstream. ISVs need to assess if they are ready for such radical shifts.
Q3. Are there any compliance regulations to consider?
Although the benefits of cloud-native applications are well-known, traditional enterprises are sometimes reluctant to adopt them. This is because of the inherent concerns about security in the public cloud.
A Cloud Security Alliance survey revealed that 57% of IT professionals cited compliance as a roadblock to cloud-native adoption1. Lack of industry frameworks to achieve cloud-native compliance, increasing compliance costs due to frequent changes in regulations, and lingering fear of vulnerabilities act as a deterrent to cloud-native adoption.
Some sectors like healthcare and BFSI have to take additional precautions to comply with the stringent regulations. ISVs must ensure that the application aligns with the compliance strategies and security mandates of their target enterprise sectors. This will impact the features they bake into the product/application too. For instance, they must establish a monitoring mechanism to monitor the security logs for lapses, and the data must be encrypted to safeguard it from security breaches. ¬†¬†
Q4. How to move from monolithic app development to cloud-native app development?
Before ISVs decide to move their environment and applications to the cloud, they need to -- assess products for cloud readiness, formulate cloud migration strategy and choose the right cloud migration path for product transformation. ISVs could move from monolithic applications to a cloud-native environment in the following ways:
Rehosting: In rehosting, also known as lift and shift, ISVs can shift the existing monolithic platform to the cloud environment with minimal or no code changes. This can be implemented for applications that do not involve re-writing or had been previously architected with the cloud in mind. This is the easiest and the most cost-effective way to migrate the applications. However, it‚Äôs not always possible.¬†
Re-factoring: To achieve scalability of your applications, ISVs need minimal transformation to connect to cloud services. Re-factoring can be done partially or fully depending on the objective. This includes modifying the application code to ensure that it works well in the cloud environment.¬†
Rearchitecting: For any ISV, this can be a resource-intensive and time-consuming process since it involves rearchitecting and rewriting the applications from scratch in modern language and framework. ISVs must consider the time-cost-goal triage before investing in this process. One best practice can be incorporating cloud-native approaches ‚Äď autoscaling, elastic computing, and orchestration between services to improve the sustainability and scalability of your applications.
ISVs must evaluate their existing technical capabilities and cloud-readiness and how those would need to evolve to support their future growth. The goal should be to maximize the cloud benefits and minimize disruption for the enterprise customer.¬†
How Can Xoriant Help With Your Cloud Migration Opportunities?
This is the right time for ISVs to stay ahead of the competition as enterprises are adopting to cloud. Building cloud-native products and apps could help ISVs cement their place in the tech landscape of their enterprise customer base. We, at Xoriant, empower ISVs to implement their cloud-native strategy effectively with our 12-factor philosophy. We offer cloud enablement services to help ISVs in:
- Building cloud-native applications
- Migrating legacy applications across multiple cloud platforms and providers
- Leveraging containerization to build cloud-agnostic products in public and private clouds
Need help in developing cloud-native applications or migrating them?
Connect With Xoriant Cloud Experts