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How to Build Scalable Cloud-native Applications in 2022?

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Evolutionary clour native capabilities and architectures have been pivotal in the paradigm shift of application development. This is the reason why organizations are looking to create cloud-native solutions for their business needs. It allows them to quickly create scalable solutions for operational excellence through decoupled architecture and enhanced Application Programming Interface(API)-based interactions.

Source: 26 Cloud Computing Statistics, Facts & Trends for 2021 (cloudwards.net)

The Cloud storage market has seen a massive surge over the years with a compound annual growth rate of 26.2%. It also offers high revenues for several cloud service giants like AWS or Microsoft Azure and is expected to reach $76 billion by the end of 2021. In addition, cloud-based application development has become easier with reusable components and models powered by scalable cloud storage. 

However, when it comes to scaling, predicting the future becomes impossible. You never know how much a platform will grow and existing infrastructure will cope with it. Here, we will discuss some of how you can develop scalable cloud-native apps. Let’s start with what are cloud-native applications?

What is a Cloud-Native Application? 

A cloud-native application is a software program designed with cloud architecture at its core. These applications are hosted in cloud environments and designed to capitalize on the inherent attributes of the cloud-based software delivery model. A native application is designed specifically to run in a solid platform or environment. As these software programs run in cloud environments, these applications are known as cloud-native apps.

The best part about a cloud-native application is the microservice architecture, where the entire app is divided into small services units. Each service is mutually independent and executes their respective functions. They interact with each other through the Application Programming Interface of APIs. 

Cloud-native applications can help improve the business agility for organizations dealing with the changes in customer behavior. Due to the microservice architecture at its core, you can quickly make changes in one service without disrupting the function of other services maintaining higher uptime for your systems. 

Now that we know what cloud-native applications are. Let’s discuss how to build a scalable application.

#1. Deciphering the Scalability

Predicting scalability needs is not easy. Take an example of Slack which began as a communication tool between developers at the parent company designing a game. However, according to an interview given by Carl Handerson to the GeekWire, Slack was never designed in the first place to handle more than 10 million users daily.  

So, the first step towards cloud-native app development will be to find a product-market fit. It is a process of assessing your existing capabilities and how much cloud-native applications will enhance the same. Once you find the right product-market fit for your products or services, you can develop the application as per these assessments.

The first step towards cloud-native development is to design architecture. It is the backbone of your application and defines how different functions will work.

#2. Architecture Design

Cloud-native applications are designed to leverage reusable components and decoupled architecture. Such a design is great for your business with lower downtime and higher availability. 

Let’s take an example of an educational application. If you are developing a cloud-native application for your educational purposes, you will need a reliable architecture to support the streaming of video lectures. Here, you can leverage a microservices architecture to update each service individually without affecting the application performance. 

For example, you can use microservices-based technologies for cloud integrations like SAP CPI (Cloud Platform Integration) or others. Microservices architecture offers a decentralized approach, with each service having individual functions. These services work together to create a response for the system towards user requests. With cloud microservice architecture,

  • You can update the code of individual services at any time without disturbing the entire system.
  • Users will not see the impact of changes on any function, making the entire experience seamless.
  • Development teams can work on complex features parallelly with every iteration.
  • Logical handling of errors through the architecture avoids several pitfalls. 
  • The code maintainability is high due to the granularity of the services
  • You can leverage a modular approach for cloud-native apps through microservice architecture.

Now that your design is ready, it’s time to strategize for the development of the application. When it comes to development strategy, you can take two different approaches- waterfall or agile. Let’s discuss them.

#3. Development Approach

A waterfall approach is all about defining the requirements before the development process commences. With this approach, everything follows in a definite sequence and makes changes. At the same time, the agile approach is more interactive and offers an incremental, iterative process. 

With agile, you can test each version of the application and add feedback to the newer iteration until you reach a point of the finished product. Thus, the waterfall approach is ideal for small businesses that have straightforward applications without complex integrations. On the other hand, for complex applications, you can use an iterative method based on agile methodologies.

Now that you have the development approach figured, you can develop cloud-native applications based on the same.

#4. Development Process

One primary difference between cloud-native app development and others is the cloud environments that have a specific set of requirements. This is why you will need a AWS cloud architect that can help you integrate cloud-based services and other aspects of cloud environments.

With reliable cloud architects, you can configure different cloud-native development tasks and allocate teams. Moreover, if you leverage agile methodology, you can have scrum meetings to have regular feedback on the development process. 

One of the essential factors that you need to counter while developing a cloud-native application is the cost. There are several different costs like cloud services costs, cost of hiring developers, storage costs, and others. While cloud-based services mainly offer a pay-per-use model, it is the cost of hiring developers which needs due consideration.

For example, the cost of hiring a software developer in the US is anywhere between $137k and $173k a year, which is way more than any other country. However, you can choose developers from the UK or Netherlands depending on the business-specific requirements.

Once you develop the cloud-native applications, the next step will be deployments. Here, you will need an efficient DevOps team for testing, enhanced QA, and cloud deployments.

#5. Deployments & Testing

When you deploy cloud-native applications, scalability is a significant factor that needs due consideration. It is essential to understand that cloud storage is nothing more than several different copies of your data hosted on many data centers worldwide. Due to several copies, the risk of losing data will be lower.

However, if you leverage cloud environments for deployments of applications, databases, and critical services, handling several client requests will be challenging. So, you need effective cloud load balancing to handle multiple requests at the same time. The best way to identify the need for load balancing will be to test your applications for peak loads. 

Another aspect that you need to test your cloud-native applications is cybersecurity. Not only testing, but you will also need a reliable tool to test database performance. Cloud-native applications leverage cloud databases for data exchange and providing responses to user requests. So, you need a reliable database monitoring system to avoid any downtime for your business. 

Conclusion

Cloud-native applications are the future of the digital age as they can help you offer a richer user experience. With enhanced cloud-native solutions you can also integrate innovations like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to make your applications smarter. 

However, you need to assess the entire cloud environment and services that you will use for developing the applications. Such an assessment will help you determine the exact need for different tools and cybersecurity measures.

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