Cloud Native Computing


Cloud-native refers to the concept of building applications and executing them in a dynamic containerized cloud-based architecture. Cloud-native broadens the scope for building scalable applications, as the possibilities for developing and testing an application are in a more dynamic environment. Developers working on building a new product have access to the public, private and hybrid clouds, which can be integrated with containers, service meshes, microservices, APIs, and more.

There is a continuous need to upgrade and deliver software that is sustainable and meets more than expectations. With this cutting-edge technology rivalry, it becomes imperative to be a smart decision-maker. Cloud-native thus claims to meet the demands with a wide range of private, public, and hybrid environments available today, with its robust and scalable architecture.

Brief Note: The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) is an entity that hosts a range of critical components of the global technology infrastructure. It facilitates the assimilation of developers, end-users, and vendors, and runs the largest network of open-source developer conferences. 

Purpose of Cloud Native

Cloud-native applications are a great way for organizations to overcome infrastructural limitations and can keep pace with advancements in technology. In the age of DevOps processes, with a continuous delivery model, the cloud-native environment serves the right purpose by providing a customized set of services, so that organizations efficiently meet the goals.

Cloud-native environment abstracts the underlying computing capabilities, storage, network, and other components required to run any software. 

Attributes of Cloud Native

  • Lightweight containers: Cloud services run within containers that are quite lightweight. Therefore, performance within containers is much more efficient and faster in comparison to Virtual Machines. Containers are scalable as per the volume of operations it receives.
  • A cross-platform approach: Cloud services have been written in languages that can support the various types of functionalities it is meant to support. The services in cloud-native applications use a variety of languages, runtime, and frameworks. For example, building a real-time streaming service based on WebSockets, developed in Node Js, and choosing Python for the API. A cloud service is thus very highly customizable. 
  • Loosely coupled microservices: Microservices within a cloud infrastructure are loosely coupled. That is, each service is independent of one another, which gives more flexibility to choose a microservice as per a given set of requirements. Every microservice thus has an existence that facilitates far better application lifecycle management. 
  • API-centric framework: Cloud services come with lightweight APIs that are based on protocols, such as Representational State Transfer (REST) and Google’s Open Source Remote Procedure Call (GRPC). REST and GRPC are used over HTTP and internal communication among services, respectively. 
  • Differentiation between stateless and stateful services: Stateless services are independent in nature in contrast to stateful services. Container storage becomes a key deciding factor when considering such services because stateful services require storing of session and state information for every server session, whereas stateless has no such requirements. Therefore a cloud-based service is designed to scale up according to such differentiating factors. 
  • Elimination of dependencies: Cloud eliminates the boundaries between the operating system and the application to be run on it. A cloud environment supports the execution of any application irrespective of its operating system, as the cloud provides the necessary support for such services. Some capabilities that are system-specific are required by the microservices to run efficiently, may differ in performance. Such could be solid-state drives and graphics, which are unique for each machine.
  • Self-service infrastructure: A cloud-native application is deployed on virtual or shared infrastructure, which is required to be aligned with the underlying infrastructure to operate. Therefore, a cloud is most often an environment that supports the flexibility to operate on it the way an application is required to run.
  • Policy-driven resource allocation: A set of policies are defined for the cloud-native applications as well, which govern its overall operation. The policies vary across a wide range of factors such as central processing unit (CPU) and storage mechanisms, network policies among a host of few others, required for allocation of resources to service. In every organization, there are a set of policies defined for IT operations. 

Cloud-Native – Monolithic to Microservices Architecture 

The traditional methodology for building and testing applications in a monolithic framework relied closely on the components needed to run it, that is, the architecture was tightly coupled. The application was developed as a single unit, which required all components in one place, that is database, network, business logic, and so on. Therefore, it required a composite infrastructure to execute any application. All was fine until a small change was made in a module and the whole application had to be tested, which was cumbersome, as well as, an unnecessary task. As far as scalability is concerned, monolithic architecture takes a backseat.

The limitations of monolithic architecture are addressed by microservices architecture, which offers greater scalability and has loosely coupled services. These are small services that run independently of each other and have greater ease of building and testing individual modules. Once tested, the changes are automatically integrated with the main application without affecting other untouched modules.


Cloud-native computing has eliminated barriers that existed with legacy systems. Cloud has offered the ease of building and deploying irrespective of geographical or infrastructural boundaries. Cloud-native thus leverages the concept of containerization and microservices with an intent to carry on continuous integration and deployment efforts to meet the DevOps culture requirements. Thus, with cloud-native, we are moving towards faster and efficient releases in small but successful cycles.