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A Comprehensive Introduction to Cloud-Native DevOps

DevOps, the method of automating processes between development and operations, is one of the essential factors of successfully implementing a cloud-native approach. Since cloud-native has a purpose to reduce go-to-market time and bring more efficiency to companies, DevOps is what streamlines individuals, tools, and systems, contributing to the overall success of the enterprise. This is what makes cloud-native DevOps a logical step towards improved productivity. 

Both cloud-native and DevOps movements are on the rise. Reports and Data predict that the global DevOps market will grow from $4.49 billion in 2019 to $17.27 billion in 2027

What is more, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly influenced cloud adoption. Predictions say that by the end of 2021, 80% of companies will double the adoption of cloud-centric infrastructure and apps. This is mainly due to the shift to a remote-first workforce.  

A cloud-native DevOps approach maximizes agility with continuous deployment. Moreover, it scales up systems and applications without the need for drastic changes.

Let’s dive in and see what this approach really means. 

What is the cloud-native approach to software development? 

Adopting the cloud-native approach means embracing many new options for leveraging innovations. The primary tools cloud-native teams use are offered by the cloud instead of on-premise infrastructure. 

Cloud-native applications are agile, adaptable, robust, and easy to monitor. This means that teams build them with frequent and quick deployments and iterations. Instead of preventing failure, they embrace it and have the ability to improve in real-time.

Furthermore, they don’t rely on external factors when it comes to monitoring. Instead, the application can be controlled from the inside. 

The cloud-native beginnings date from around ten years ago, when a group of tech leaders introduced it to the public. This blog post by Paul Fremantle, VP of Technical Product Strategy at Weaveworks, is among the first related articles. In the post, he claims that applications should be written FOR the cloud to behave well ON the cloud. 

Then, in 2015, Matt Stine, Executive Director at JPMorgan Chase, cleared the cloud-native concept in his book Migrating to Cloud-Native Application Architectures

Now, the cloud-native umbrella covers many tools and methods, including microservices, containers, CI/CD, multi-cloud, etc. The CNCF Cloud Native Interactive Landscape provides a great overview of most of the tools used in the cloud-native approach.  To help and provide development communities with good alternatives for building cloud-native applications, the CNCF cultivates this landscape of open source tools.

What is cloud-native DevOps? 

If we combine the two definitions, cloud-native DevOps turns into a set of practices that consists of constant development, automated actions, and cross-functional teams, which result in improving the entire experience of the end-user. Cloud-native DevOps is all about making your company more flexible. You achieve this through technologies like Kubernetes and containers, which can automate processes and make applications more scalable. 

All these practices apply to almost every aspect of the company. This means changing the entire culture which involves tools, people, and processes. When it comes to culture, you need to adopt a DevOps-oriented approach. This will foster better alignment between people and tools.

You have to motivate your employees to collaborate more effectively, encouraging a faster feedback circle. Faster feedback will enable quick iterations and real-time improvements.

You’ll also have to make some technical changes. This refers to adopting technologies that are in the center of cloud-native DevOps, such as containerization and microservices. 

cloud-native devops components
The main technologies in Cloud-Native DevOps

How to get started with cloud-native DevOps? 

These are the options to get started with a cloud-native strategy: 

  1. Implementing a cloud-first strategy by choosing a cloud provider instead of an on-premises one
  2. Adopting a multi-cloud strategy if it meets business needs more closely
  3. Embracing DevOps, which is obviously what we’re going to focus on further in this post. 

When companies realize that agile development requires both automation and culture transformation to produce quality applications faster, DevOps becomes a priority. Handling multiple hybrid environments or streamlining infrastructure stuff can get very complicated. That’s why the popularity of tools that align cloud-native and DevOps processes is rising rapidly. 

To make the implementation of cloud-native DevOps easier, these are some things you should pay attention to: 

  • Containerization enables the creation of environment-agnostic software. It also eliminates implementation conflicts between developers and operation departments, enabling developers and testers to communicate easier.
  • Going from monolith to microservices also makes the company more agile. This establishes a set of tools, terms, and processes for both development and operation teams. With microservices, you get sophisticated process automation and an easier transition towards agile product development, which is what continuous delivery requires.
  • Using a container orchestration platform. The most popular is Kubernetes because it solves the challenges related to underlying computing, storage, and networking.
  • Automating CI/CD pipelines in order to reduce complexity and the chances of errors. This automation can save a lot of headaches for developers. Moreover, it allows them to focus on the actual product instead of fixing issues. 
  • Writing code according to the 12 factors also makes things more transparent.

Most common mistakes in adopting cloud-native DevOps

Using too many tools

Once you switch to cloud-native DevOps, you’ll try automating as many processes as possible. However, you don’t do this by just adding and adding tools. You have to pick the right tools and make the best combination that’s right for your application. Overusing tools will also cost you a lot of time and money. 

Another mistake here is that developers often get too reliable of a certain tool. The essence of DevOps, however, lies in the team spirit and the implementation of correct practices that contribute to increased productivity and enhanced processes.

Avoiding continuous monitoring

While testing inside the implementation pipelines makes the things more straightforward and flowing, it also makes them limited  and incomplete. Continuous monitoring, on the other hand, can optimize the entire process by highlighting each malfunction that happens even after the testing.   

Not paying enough attention to security

Security checks can be quite time-consuming and costly. Teams often think of that security checking capabilities as something that is put to use within the CI/CD workflows. The implementation of a separate tool that takes care of security is a critical move for DevOps to turn and avoid any vulnerabilities in the process.

Making the transition too fast

Adopting cloud-native DevOps should be a slow process with a lot of learning on the way. Expecting a company that has been using on-premise applications to immediately align all their structures and platforms into a single cloud-native architecture is simply impossible. Maybe you can quickly make new cloud-native applications, but transitioning existing applications will take a while. 

The best solutions would be to go step-by-step. Start by migrating applications to the cloud and continue with transitioning from monolith to microservices. Then, you can set up containers and container orchestration platforms. However, none of this will be successful unless you undergo the culture shift we talk about so much. 

To wrap things up

Effective implementation of cloud-native DevOps helps businesses to market fresh technologies more rapidly, speeding up their digital transformation. Through cutting enormous cloud costs and rising efficiency and performance, the cloud-native approach has become a blessing to companies with software products. Completely relying on the potential of cloud-native DevOps, unlocks on-demand, unlimited software development powers.