Originally published by New Context.
A driving motivation of cloud native philosophy is to get away from the stagnant ideas of the past that tied companies to specific processes and strategies. It’s a program that can transcend industries. Regardless of whether a company is in finance, retail, utilities, or another field, overarching cloud native principles remain the same.
Of course, DevOps is a strong central component of cloud native as it encourages equal amounts of flexibility and speed. However, other strategies help to enhance these results as well. By adopting philosophies based on observability, immutability, distributed systems, single-responsibility, and lifecycle conformance, companies can better manage a cloud native environment.
What are the Fundamental Cloud Native Principles?
Strong cloud policies and procedures help lay the groundwork for flexible, scalable applications that run independently of any platform or program. Some of these strategies come from the DIE (distributed, immutable, ephemeral) philosophy. This prioritizes creating infrastructures which are ephemeral, so they can be replaced in the event of problems. Immutability eliminates the need to reconfigure systems, instead encouraging their disposal. Distribution allows problems to be siloed into segmented systems that can be removed without damaging overall performance. Other fundamentals of cloud native principles are more intricately linked to the management of applications. Here are a few of the more popular cloud native principles.
Single responsibility is a component of the SOLID concept used to design flexible, manageable software and applications. Other components of the SOLID principle include:
- Open-closed: Software can be extended but not modified
- Liskov substitution principle: Objects in a superclass can be replaced with objects in a subclass.
- Interface segregation principle: Interfaces should cater to the specific client.
- Dependency inversion principle: Software modules are loosely coupled. Higher levels are not dependent on lower levels.
Of all the concepts in the SOLID concept, single responsibility is the most vital in cloud native as every part has a singular goal. This provides control and expertise over its one area of focus. Single responsibility can also apply to workers, as the culture of cloud native focuses on developing small teams with equally small responsibilities.
As there are so many disparate systems and processes at play in a cloud native environment, observability must be built-in across the program. Monitors can quickly determine appropriate system behavior and function in real-time and respond to abnormal actions.
Immutability can apply to different facets of a cloud native environment. It may concern the logs that track system behaviors—they should be immutable for error tracing. It may also relate to the configuration of particular containers and infrastructures, which should be immutable to prevent changes that make it difficult to update and resolve issues.
Ephemerality ties right into immutability. As these programs don’t change, they require disposal when broken. Infrastructure as code is essential here, as it allows administrators to redeploy replacements easily.
Distributed systems that combine infrastructure as a service, microservices, and containers ensure that no single aspect of a program is responsible for its entire operation. Any issues within these distributed systems can be quarantined or removed to ensure continuous function.
One of the most significant risks to any system is human error. Automation eliminates this risk by allowing machines to complete tasks and manage processes when possible. On top of this, automation is necessary for a scalable environment where processes and applications will need to change during high and low demand periods.
Defense in Depth
In this strategy, security is a fundamental part of the program. This strategy focuses on three segments: physical, technical, and administrative. These security layers are independent of each other, so if one area fails, there’s another line of defense to pick up the slack. Physical defense centers on preventing access to systems. Technical is the hardware or software that protects programs. Administrative controls are the company’s policies to ensure a proper cybersecurity mindset.
Adopting a Cloud Native Culture
In a cloud native culture, the behavior of workers is just as flexible as the philosophy itself. Decision-making is decentralized as all engineers are encouraged to seek out solutions and share them. This is a shift from waterfall or even agile development methods. Cloud native centers on empowerment. Organizations have the ability to create scalable applications in ever-changing environments.
For many reasons, bad and antiquated culture is likely the first thing that will cause cloud native to fail. Management may see increased expenses within the development teams without recognizing the savings from reduced facility costs for server management and maintenance. They may have become dependent on cloud-specific services without understanding the alternatives available. They may not have simple, easy to follow standards in place to manage the change. All these issues act as barriers, so it’s important to anticipate them before the implementation.
Micromanagement is the enemy of cloud native culture. Engineers must be allowed to work without excessive processes and oversight. Leadership should not have to worry about granular level management because all strategies are thoroughly tested, documented and communicated at every stage.
Adopting cloud native principles is a significant change for organizations, so a supportive culture is essential. It’s also important to lay out a clear plan, especially with the aid of a company that can provide a complete review and has already been through these growing pains. Through this, companies make the most of their resources and build sustainable, scalable programs.