Cloud-Native Architectures 101

Cloud-native architectures

What are cloud-native architectures?

According to The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), cloud natives is defined as “Cloud-native technologies empower organizations to build and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments such as public, private, and hybrid clouds.

Containers, service meshes, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative APIs exemplify this approach.

These techniques enable loosely coupled systems that are resilient, manageable, and observable. Combined with robust automation, they allow engineers to make high-impact changes frequently and predictably with minimal toil.”

Utilizing that definition, what are the key tenants of a cloud-native approach, and how does each tenant benefit you?

As stated above, cloud-native architectures center on speed and agility. That speed and agility are derived from 6 factors:

1. Cloud infrastructure

2. Modern design

3. Microservices

4. Containers

5. Backing services

6. Automation

Cloud infrastructure is the most important factor that contributes to the speed and agility of cloud-native architecture.

3 Key Factors

1. Cloud-native systems fully leverage the cloud service model using PaaS compute infrastructure and managed services.

2. Cloud-native systems continue to run as infrastructure scales in or out without worrying about the back end because the infra is fully managed.

3. Cloud-native systems have auto scaling, self-healing, and monitoring capabilities.

Modern Design is highly effective in part due to the Twelve-Factor Application method, which is a set of principles and practices that developers follow to construct applications optimized for modern cloud environments.

Most Critical Considerations for Modern Design

1. Communication — How front ends communication with back-end services, and how back-end services communicate with each other.

2. Resiliency — How services in your distributed architecture respond in less-than-ideal scenarios due to the in-process, out-process network communications of microservices architecture.

3. Distributed Data — How do you query data or implement a transaction across multiple services?

4. Identity — How does your service identify who is accessing it and their allotted permissions?

What are Microservices?

Microservices are built as a distributed set of small, independent services that interact through a shared fabric.

Improved Agility with Microservices

1. Each microservice has an autonomous lifecycle and can evolve independently and deploy frequently.

2. Each microservice can scale independently, enabling services to scale to meet demand.

Those microservices are then packaged a container image, those images are stored in container registry. When needed you transform the container into a running container instance, to utilize the stored microservices. How do containers benefit cloud native apps?

Benefits of Containers

1. Provide portability and guarantee consistency across environments.

2. Containers can isolate microservices and their dependencies from the underlying infrastructure.

3. Smaller footprints than full virtual machines (VMs). That smaller size increases density, the number of microservices, that a given host can run at a time.

Cloud native solutions also increase application speed and agility via backing services.

Benefits of Backing Services

1. Save time and labor

2. Treating backing services as attached resources enables the services to attach and detach as needed without code changes to the microservices that contain information, enabling greater dynamism.

Lastly, cloud-native solutions leverage automation. Using cloud-native architecture your infrastructure and deployment are automated, consistent, and reputable.

Benefits of Automation

1. Infrastructure as Code (IaC) avoids manual environment configuration and delivers stable environments rapidly at scale.

2. Automated deployment leverages CI/CD to speed up innovation and deployment, updating on-demand; saving money and time.


Learn more about cloud-native architectures on the Azure modern application development website.