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What is Cloud Native?

Cloud native is a software development approach that involves building, deploying and managing modern applications in cloud computing environments. Using the practices and technologies of cloud native, you can develop and run scalable, highly available and resilient applications in the cloud. Applications built using cloud native are able to take full advantage of cloud computing resources, such as containers, microservices and orchestration, to optimize resource utilization and improve performance.

Understanding cloud native is essential if your organization wants to leverage the full potential of the cloud and stay competitive in today's fast-paced digital landscape. By adopting cloud-native practices, your company can accelerate its software delivery, reduce its downtime and improve its customer experience.

Cloud-Native Architecture

Cloud native involves a few key concepts that we'll define below.


Microservices are separate components that work together to perform as a single cloud-native software solution. Each service focuses on a specific problem, usually something small. They communicate with each other via APIs.

Containers and Container Orchestration

Containers are a lightweight and portable way to package and deploy software applications. Container orchestration is the automated management of containerized applications, including deployment, scaling and networking, to ensure they run efficiently and reliably in production environments.

DevOps Practices

DevOps practices in cloud native involve leveraging containerization, automation and orchestration tools to build, test and deploy applications in a continuous integration and continuous delivery pipeline.

Immutable Infrastructure

Immutable infrastructure refers to computer infrastructure, such as virtual machines, containers and network appliances, that cannot be changed once deployed. This immutability is self-governing, not allowing changes to be made.

Scalability and Elasticity

Scalability in cloud native is the ability of a system to handle an increasing amount of work by adding resources. Elasticity refers to the ability of a system to automatically adjust its resources to meet changing demands in real time.

Service Mesh

A service mesh is an infrastructure layer that manages service-to-service communication within a microservices architecture, providing features such as traffic management, service discovery and security.

Serverless Computing

Serverless computing is a cloud computing model where you can run apps without the need to manage the actual infrastructure.

Cloud-Native Applications

Cloud-native applications are software applications that are designed, developed and deployed in the cloud using technologies and services that are also based in the cloud.

Benefits of Embracing Cloud Native

You may want to consider cloud native for your organization because it offers a host of benefits. Here are five major ones.

Agility and Faster Time to Market

Embracing cloud native allows for a more agile development environment, meaning your company can bring its technology to market faster. Because cloud-native technology optimizes the cloud's capabilities, your organization can more easily build application portfolios that keep up with the changing demands of the market.

Cloud-native development supported by DevOps processes and automation results in accelerated software delivery, as opposed to local or server-based development and the limitations that come with that. This faster marketing time helps your company respond to rapidly changing demands and market conditions.

Cost Efficiency

Cloud-native architectures reduce operational complexity, simplify configuration changes and are extremely reliable. When your organization adopts the cloud-native approach, it doesn't have to invest in costly physical infrastructure. This results in major savings in operating costs in the long run.

Improved Scalability and Resilience

Cloud-native architecture allows your developers to build, run and update software through multiple independent microservices. This makes it easier to scale up or down as needed and results in faster release cycles, reduced development costs and automated recovery and backup.

Enhanced Collaboration and Developer Productivity

Embracing cloud native can make your developers more productive and help them collaborate seamlessly, by enabling them to communicate more closely and come together around a shared purpose. This helps create an environment where applications can be built, tested and released faster.

Cloud-native tools and services are designed for the unique demands of cloud-based environments, helping developers build, deploy and manage their applications more efficiently, ultimately improving productivity.

Security and Compliance Advantages

Cloud-native security offers improved visibility and monitoring, and security is provided as a completely managed service, which means your organization doesn't need to dedicate its own resources. Cloud native also keeps your team compliant with laws and regulations that apply to the adoption of cloud infrastructures. With cloud native, there's no need for on-premise hardware, which saves you from having to dedicate space, power and other resources to secure your technology.

Challenges in Cloud-Native Adoption

While the benefits of adopting cloud native are significant, the process can also pose a few challenges that you and your team should be aware of.

Cultural Shifts

Cultural shifts can present a challenge when it comes to embracing cloud native. The shift toward a cloud-native mindset may require you to adjust your organizational culture into one that promotes collaboration, flexibility and scalability in both work processes and technology. This is because cloud-native computing is not always easy or straightforward to implement, especially if your company is used to working with legacy applications. The cloud-native landscape is vast, and it's easy to become overwhelmed by its growing number of competing and overlapping platforms and technologies.

Technical Complexity

Cloud-native applications are built using microservices, containers and orchestration tools. These tools can be complex to manage, and this might become overwhelming if your organization lacks the expertise and resources to manage them.

Security Concerns

Security concerns are another potential challenge when it comes to embracing cloud native. The cyber threats to cloud-based applications are diverse and often significant. The fact that your applications are no longer local and always visible might also pose a challenge. Traditional security measures often have difficulty matching the scale of today's cloud-native architectures. Rather than trying to upgrade your physical security, consider cloud-based solutions such as Backup as a Service.

Vendor Lock-In

Vendor lock-in is a situation where you become dependent on a single cloud provider technology implementation and cannot easily move to a different vendor without substantial costs, legal constraints or technical incompatibilities. This can keep your apps from being portable and interoperable. Because cloud providers offer different operating systems, databases and security tools, it can be difficult to switch to another provider or solution.

Monitoring and Observability

Cloud-native applications are built using microservices, which create many interdependencies. This complexity might make it difficult to monitor and observe the system.

How to Implement Cloud-Native Practices

If you're ready to implement cloud-native practices into your organization's technology stack, here are the steps to follow.

Assessing Your Current State

Assessing your current state is the first step in implementing cloud-native practices. This involves evaluating your existing infrastructure, applications and processes to identify areas that can be improved by adopting cloud-native practices. By assessing your current state, you can identify the gaps between where you are now and where you want to be. This will help you develop a roadmap for implementing cloud-native practices.

Developing a Cloud-Native Strategy

Developing a cloud-native strategy is the next step. This allows you to define how you'll meet specific objectives within your organization by harnessing cloud infrastructure and tools such as containers. It's important to understand the tie between cloud-native and container-based applications and DevOps.

Tooling and Infrastructure

Next, you'll need to understand how to use the right tools and techniques that support application development on cloud infrastructure. This includes containerization, orchestration tools and microservice architecture.

Best Practices and Patterns

Here are a few best practices to keep in mind when implementing cloud native:

  • Take advantage of microservices.

  • Use lightweight containers whenever possible.

  • Use the right languages and frameworks.

  • Automate your release pipeline with continuous integration and continuous delivery.

  • Avoid vendor lock-in.

  • Integrate robust security from the start.

Case Studies and Success Stories

In 2023, a cloud-native case study was released via LinkedIn, detailing success stories from organizations that have implemented cloud native.

Cloud-Native FAQs

It's common to have questions when considering a major technological overhaul such as implementing cloud native. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions by people who are new to the process. 

What is Cloud Native vs. Cloud?

Cloud and cloud native sound similar, but they have some important differences. Cloud refers to the use of remote servers to store, manage and process data. Cloud native refers specifically to applications that are designed and built to be used in a cloud environment.

Cloud-based applications that aren't cloud-native can be deployed on the cloud, but they may not be optimized for the cloud environment. They might also require physical infrastructure to run.
Cloud-native applications are built and deployed in the cloud, and they take full advantage of the cloud's benefits when it comes to flexibility, scalability and security. They are designed only to run on the cloud and are thus optimized for cloud performance.

What is Cloud Native vs. Cloud Agnostic?

Cloud native and cloud agnostic both refer to applications built specifically to run on the cloud. Cloud-native applications, however, are built to run on a specific cloud platform that offers a specific toolkit. They're optimized for performance and scalability on that specific platform.
Cloud-agnostic applications, in contrast, are designed to run on any cloud platform, without being tied to any specific cloud provider. They offer more flexibility and portability but typically aren't optimized for specific cloud services. Cloud-agnostic applications can incorporate open-source tools and integrations that are constantly evolving to reflect emerging development trends.

What is Cloud Native vs. SaaS?

Cloud native and SaaS are two different approaches to running applications on the cloud. With cloud native, your organization runs its own applications that are specifically designed for use on the cloud. With SaaS, you pay a subscription for the use of third-party applications that exist on the cloud.

Exploring the Cloud-Native Ecosystem

The cloud-native ecosystem is vast, and the learning curve to understanding all its ins and outs can be steep. We recommend starting by knowing who some of the big providers are in the cloud-native space, as well as the popular cloud-native tools and frameworks.
There's also a large cloud-native community online that can help you along the way and point you to the best resources for any issue you're facing. 

Cloud Providers in the Cloud-Native Space

A few of the most well-known and reputable cloud providers in the cloud-native space include the following:

Popular Cloud-Native Tools and Frameworks

Some of the most-used tools and frameworks in the cloud-native sphere include:

  • Docker: A platform that allows you to build and run distributed applications in containers

  • Kubernetes: An open-source for deploying and managing containerized applications

  • Prometheus: A toolkit for monitoring cloud-native systems

  • Envoy: A proxy for load balancing, routing and observing microservices

You can also refer to Cloud Native Computing Foundation and The New Stack to learn more about cloud native.

Becoming Cloud Native With Veeam

Implementing cloud native offers an array of benefits, including agility, scalability, cost-efficiency and time to market, among other things. However, you should be aware of some potential challenges, such as security concerns, technical complexities and cultural compatibility. In the end, implementing cloud native will pay off for your organization as long as you're diligent about following the steps to a successful implementation.

The first step is to explore further by learning about Veeam's cloud solutions and contacting one of our cloud experts today. We can help your organization protect, control and manage your data anywhere.