September 15, 2022 Software Development

Cloud Application Development: Is it Right for You?

Businesses continue to migrate workloads to the cloud for a wide range of benefits including scalability, infrastructure management, security, remote connectivity, and disaster recovery to name a few. With the move showing no signs of slowing down, it’s natural to see increased interest and demand for cloud native application development.

So, what are the benefits of developing applications in the cloud and is it the right solution for your business? Let’s dive in.

Benefits of Cloud Native App Development

Cloud native applications are developed using cloud-based technologies that are hosted and managed in the cloud. The advantages most often highlighted include:

  • Agility
  • Scalability
  • Resilience
  • Portability – you’re not locked into one vendor
  • Speed of development and deployment
  • Management

The ability to build, deploy and modify apps faster makes cloud native application development very attractive to most businesses. In recent years, we’ve all learned the importance of adaptability and meeting customers and employees quickly changing expectations.

75% of companies are focusing on cloud native app development. Tigera

The Pillars of Cloud Native Applications

Here’s a look at some of the elements that make up cloud native applications:

  • Cloud Infrastructure – A private, public or hybrid cloud, or a Platform as a Service serve as the foundation of a cloud native application.
  • Microservices – Cloud native apps are built as several, autonomous, independently managed, services. Each microservice controls a single aspect of the application such as customer database, payment services, shipping services, etc. Each microservice maintains its own data and resides in its own container. This means you can make changes to one microservice without impacting other aspects of the solution or require application downtime.
  • Containers – Cloud native apps are containerized. The microservices run in containers which are packages of software that bundle up code and all its dependencies required for an app to run. They virtualize the operating system making it easy to share CPU, memory, storage, and network systems, while simplifying development and delivery of distributed applications. Docker and Kubernetes are platforms commonly used to house and orchestrate multiple containers and make sure they’re all working together as intended.

Monolithic vs Microservices Architecture – The Pros and the Cons

Until recently, applications were most commonly developed as one large code base, in a single technology, with one database. These applications are called “monoliths.” Here are some of the differences to consider when choosing between a monolithic and a microservices architecture for your application.

Architecture Type Pros Cons

Monolithic

 

Single entity

Centralized operating systems and databases

Simpler to develop

Developers are focused on one application

Stability

Updates require redeployment of the application

Can become large and unwieldy over time

Scaling is more challenging

Microservices

 

Each service is autonomous

Highly scalable as businesses grow and needs change

Updates can be made to individual services without requiring application downtime

Very flexible and easy to add new services and functionality

Smaller teams can work on each part of the application

Can use different technologies or tools for different functions

More complex because of the number of smaller services that create the larger application

Database and transaction management can be more challenging

More services can demand more resources

Testing is more difficult

 

There’s also a security advantage to containerization and microservices. Since each microservice runs in its own container, the attack surface is reduced, and you can more quickly scan individual containers for intrusions and threats.

85% of companies are modernizing with microservices. Solo.io

Perfect for Every Application Development Project?

While there are many advantages to cloud native application development, it’s not right for every project.  A critical first step for any custom software development project is understanding the scale and long-term goals for your application.

We’ve found that when developing a smaller application with very specific requirements, a monolithic application can be deployed more cost effectively and faster than a solution architected using microservices. Sometimes, customizing a platform, like Microsoft Power Platform or Dynamics CRM, could even be the better solution.

Demand for cloud-native capabilities by end-users accounts for PaaS growing to $109.6 billion in spending. Gartner

 

But a microservices architecture starts to make more sense for larger apps or apps that you intend to expand over time.

A lot of what we do at Whitecap is application modernization. Legacy apps tend to be large, bloated monoliths and trying to break them up into microservices can get difficult. In some cases, it may be best to rebuild the application from the ground up as a cloud native app.

Conducting a detailed requirements and design analysis (eRAD as we call it) can help ensure you make the best possible decision.

Microservices In Action

We built Easylease’s custom application to run its financing business nearly 20 years ago. It was originally built as a monolithic custom application but after years of adding features and functionality, it was time to modernize the application for the future and microservices were the right fit. We could enable new features and functions seamlessly and without downtime. Additionally, we know that deploying enhancements won’t impact the mission critical aspects of the application.

Another good example is Woodbine Entertainment’s Dark Horse mobile application. In this situation, Woodbine needed dynamic scalability, to handle the spikes in traffic during key race days like the Queen’s Plate. Microservices are used for this cloud-native application and Kubernetes allows Woodbine to automatically scale up to meet race enthusiasts’ demands.

Ready for Cloud Development?

Using cloud services to build, deploy, host, and manage your applications offers a new level of agility, scalability, and security for your business. Ready to see if a cloud native app is right for you? Let’s chat.

 

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