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What Is "Cloud Native"?

More websites and apps are using cloud native development. But what is cloud native? Here's everything to know and the benefits of cloud native.

6 min read
What Is

Did you know that Cloud native development is leading the way for building modern applications?

A recent survey by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNFC) saw that 50% of their projects reach production. Their findings mirror the enormous growth in Cloud adoption as Cloud computing continues to go mainstream.

But what is Cloud native?

What's unique about this form of app development? And how can Cloud native apps benefit your business?

This article offers a simple yet informative guide on the subject.

You'll learn terms like DevOps and Containers and see how they fit into the Cloud native framework, and how Amazon's AWS is helping to build an industry on its firm foundation. Then discover how moving from traditional app development will save you time and money.

Read on to gain the best insight into Cloud native and how it can benefit your company.

What Is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing delivers a range of technical services over the Internet or 'the Cloud'.

Servers, databases, networking, analytics, even software is hosted on a Cloud platform. Modern providers like Amazon's AWS offer lightning-fast resources at a low cost due to economies of scale. With the Cloud, you typically pay for the services you use, and they scale as your business grows.

It's estimated that by the end of 2020, 82% of enterprise workloads will reside on the Cloud.

What Is Cloud Native?

Cloud native describes a style of app development that harnesses the power of Cloud computing.

Traditional app creation concentrated on the device and not the infrastructure on which it was built. The database, for example, got bolted on at the end with little thought put into how apps were distributed.

Cloud native turns the focus on its surroundings and strengths.

Cloud Native Development

Developing these apps requires a different approach to reap the benefits of Cloud computing.

Because Cloud architecture design is distributed and scalable, apps can't be hard-wired to any one component. Flexibility is the key, and the Cloud offers scalability as demand increases.

To help, we've broken down some of the key phrases associated with Cloud native apps and development.

IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS

Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS revolutionizes how businesses manage and run their IT networks.

It provides a ready-to-go computing infrastructure that IT managers can employ as they require. Instead of purchasing physical servers, virtualization offers everything 'out of the box'.

Platform as a Service or PaaS includes the servers, storage, and networks of IaaS and adds an operating system. PaaS also includes online development tools and business analytics software, including AI.

Cloud native taps into any IaaS and PaaS.

It's termed Software-as-a-Service or SaaS and apps can run on different configurations. Users access applications through a web browser yet experience a high-end product.

DevOps and Agile Development

DevOps brings together developers and operations as a way to approach native design.

It's a set of principles that enhance software development and deployment. Instead of coders and IT managers working separately, they combine to produce results quickly.

To make the process work, we use agile development techniques.

Agile relies on communication and constant testing as the app lifecycle moves on. It depends on people working together and talking with each other. With Cloud technology, that's easy to do.

Microservices and Containers

A microservice is a small piece of functionality that works in tandem with other microservices to form a system. Think cogs in a machine.

Microservices tend to focus on business goals and not actual code. With that in mind, many create APIs or gateways to access and manipulate data without overwhelming with complex code.

Tied with microservices are containers.

Containers are powerful because they enable you to package your application with its entire runtime environment. In other words, everything the app needs to work.

The Cloud offers the ideal platform to self-host containers as systems get switched on as required. Security is also maintained as it's built-in to the underlying codebase.

Traditional Development Versus Cloud Native App Development

Cloud native apps offer much of the same functionality as traditional apps. However, because development has its basis in the Cloud, the process is quite different.

Web-Centric Languages

While many computer applications in the past focused on one platform, Cloud apps tend to be web-centric.

Instead of writing code in Java or C++, native developers use JavaScript, Node.js, Go, and PHP. These web-centric solutions are portable so you can develop Cloud native applications on any computer.


A significant benefit of the Cloud is its ability to handle spikes in demand for resources.

The term "elastic" means the system can grow or shrink to accommodate usage. That's perfect for online native web apps during busy periods like Black Friday. A sudden surge doesn't affect performance as resources get issued automatically.

Automatic Updates

Traditional software updates pushed patches or updates to overwrite existing installation files. Google Play and Apple's App Store use this sort of technique to upgrade existing apps.

The downside to this is that you need an ecosystem to push these updates. There's also no guarantee users will download them. That results in a fragmented experience where some have the latest version, and others don't.

Cloud native apps ensure everyone's using the latest version.

Virtualization and Connected Resources

Legacy apps are designed to be run in a specific environment. They don't work well if at all, in a virtualized environment that shares resources with other apps. Network configurations are often hardcoded, so a new system will cause the app to fail.

Cloud native apps are designed to work anywhere and everywhere.

Key Benefits of Cloud Native Apps

We've outlined some of the advantages that Cloud native development brings but here are the key benefits.

  1. Fast development
  2. Low cost
  3. Scalable to match demand
  4. Built on a resilient network
  5. Apps work together

A shorter development time is one of the core benefits that native development offers.

Businesses see results fast. They're also involved in the app lifecycle to ensure it matches their expectations. The finished product always fulfils the end goal.

Cloud computing offers a low-cost, scalable, and robust platform to build and consume applications. And one of the largest and most-used providers is Amazon Web Services.

What Is Cloud Native in AWS?

Amazon Web Services or AWS started in 2006 as a pioneer of Cloud computing.

It enabled anyone to use its massive infrastructure to host data, services, and apps. Prices were set against usage so businesses could better budget their IT spend and rely on a lower bill.

Amazon then developed its platform to enable developers to create Cloud native apps within AWS. As a result, cloud adoption continues to grow each year.

AWS offers a range of development tools and services to build and host native applications. It also delivers serverless architectures and containers services.

S3 Storage

Simple Storage Service or S3 is a type of database that can store any type of digital object.

E-commerce sites use S3 to hold their product photos and video files. IT departments save their backup files on the secure platform. And of course, apps are hosted on S3 too.

Every object has its unique ID and metadata that explains what's inside.

Developers access the object through a RESTful API. They can download it, overwrite it, update it and save data up to 5GB in size.

Containers Services

A container packages up code and dependencies so that they run on any computing environment.

AWS offers the Elastic Container Service (ECS), which manages containers. It works with AWS Fargate which removes the need to manage servers. Fargate powers Amazon's recommendation engine, so it's secure and reliable.

Kubernetes is open-source software designed to deploy containers at scale. Businesses can run any containerized app, both on-premises and on the Cloud.

The Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) manages Kubernetes applications.

It works alongside Fargate and integrates with services like AWS Identity and Access Management. Developers can also migrate to EKS without having to rewrite code.

Serverless Architectures

The AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM) lets developers build serverless applications quickly. With its shorthand functions, a few lines of code go a long way.

The open-source framework works with Amazon's API Gateway that can build secure and scalable interfaces. Native apps can 'talk' with these APIs to access data and business logic without having to know how they work.

AWS Lambda

Cloud native development tools like AWS Lambda let you write and run code online.

It supports many programming languages and also compiles code, using tools like Gradle for Java. There's no administration of servers, and you only pay for the compute time you use.

The system can also trigger other AWS services. And native apps built with Lambda and API Gateway can be called from any mobile or web app.

Migrating to AWS

Pilotcore is a strong advocate of AWS, and we encourage our customers to migrate their systems to Amazon's platform.

We build Cloud native apps using AWS's feature-rich tools. That includes migrating to Lambda and making the best use of S3.

And we ensure you get the best deal possible – up to 72% savings!

Cloud Native AWS Experts

This article has explored and answered the question of what is Cloud native?

You now understand the benefits of building apps on the Cloud. You can also see how AWS is paving the way for scalable and Agile applications. With all of the terrific advantages on offer isn't it time to contact the Cloud native experts?

Pilotcore offers complete services to help you take your applications cloud-native.

We use AWS to host and build our clients' apps. We help them migrate their existing data and services to Amazon's Cloud platform. We even analyze their expenses to achieve the lowest possible costs with the highest possible service.

From custom Cloud native app development to expert knowledge, Pilotcore can help your business soar into the Cloud.