What is Cloud-Native?

The latest buzz word in the application and data world is cloud-native. It’s a new approach that changes everything. What is it and why is it so compelling?

Traditional Enterprise

Historically, applications are built on where they are deployed: on-premise, corporate data centers. They run on infrastructure designed with static resource sizing, and typically cannot scale on-demand. Deploying them to production can take anywhere from hours to days, often performed via manual error-prone processes.

These applications are not designed to natively run in the cloud. Typically, they are designed as monoliths, whereby all application components are tightly coupled together in a single application. Thus, they all must be developed, built, tested, and deployed together. This increases the time and risk it takes to deliver new features to production for businesses.

As a result, businesses often miss out on critical opportunities to yield the benefits of new features.


Cloud-native is an approach to building/running applications that take advantage of the cloud computing delivery model.

Cloud-native is about how applications are created and deployed, not where.

With cloud-native, the ability to offer nearly limitless computing resources, on-demand, and modern data and application services for developers is critical. As a result, when organizations build and operate applications as cloud-native, new features are brought to market faster, allowing businesses to respond sooner to customer demands.

With cloud-native, applications are designed with microservices, which are a collection of small services, each implementing business capabilities, run in their own process and containers, are decoupled from other services of the application, and can be deployed, upgraded, or restarted independent of other services without adversely affecting the application.

Cloud-Native Platform

Organizations require a platform for building/operating cloud-native applications and services that integrates and automates the concepts of:

  • DevOps
  • Continuous Delivery
  • Microservices
  • Containers

Cloud-native platforms provide capabilities that implement all these concepts allowing developers to focus on delivering high quality software. Coupled with an Agile development methodology, such as Lean Agile, and development practices, such as Extreme Programming (XP), Test-Driven Development (TDD), and Continuous Integration and Delivery (CI/CD), high quality software can be created and deployed rapidly, all the way to production, in a matter of minutes. In addition, cloud-native applications are designed to be highly resilient, and often leverage the capabilities and services provided by a cloud-native platform to implement resilience.

Cloud-Native Framework

Cloud-native applications conform to a framework or contract designed to maximize resilience through predictable behaviors.

12-Factor Apps

An example of a contract is illustrated in 12-Factor Apps.