How Cloud-Native Environments Empower Service Management

  

In cloud-native computing, applications are developed, stored, and run on the cloud, meaning various applications are presented as microservices and packaged together in containers to be used across different servers.

This has become a thriving business model that has gained popularity over the last decade because it allows organizations to build applications that can flexibly scale on remote servers, leading to the ability to quickly give the end user what they want.

For example, Netflix has revolutionized the entertainment space by providing streaming services for popular TV shows and movies, which was previously only possible offline. Now, users can access their favorite streams online — anytime and anywhere.

Another excellent example is Amazon. While primarily an e-commerce retailer, they eventually diversified their offerings by adding on-demand services, like eBook shopping (Kindle) and streaming services (Prime Video). These changing business models are only possible because of cloud computing.

In addition to that, cloud services are essential to an enterprise’s growth. They allow employees to utilize microservices to collaborate on projects, consolidate their resources, and make their workflows more efficient.

With successful use cases in the market, it is difficult to refute the benefits of cloud-native environments. Yet, many businesses still hesitate to adopt this change.

Slow Shift to the Cloud-Native Mindset

The shift to the cloud takes more than just the adoption of technology. It requires the reframing of every stakeholder's mindset so that the entire organization benefits from the change. One of the main reasons businesses refuse to migrate to the cloud is that they believe that it is too difficult to manage or too complex to implement. We can prove otherwise.

Cloud-native environments are significantly more cost effective and easier to manage. Usually, companies host their data and applications on-premises, which can result in a long-term accumulation of overhead costs. Also, self-managed offerings demand a considerable amount of time and effort from your employees. This can be avoided with a cloud setup. Overall, the workflows, data, and operations are managed under a unified server, making it easier to operate.

Currently, 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies already have a cloud license and 90 percent of them have adopted a cloud-native approach, indicating that the future is already geared in this direction. Now more than ever, other businesses must begin to adopt the technology and the mindset necessary to do so.

 

Empowerment via the Cloud

The issue with traditional monolithic architecture is that while it is simple to develop, test, and deploy, it can be quite inflexible and lacks scalability. Using such a setup also makes it challenging to adopt new technologies because the entire application would need to be changed. This costs time and effort in contrast to cloud technologies.

Furthermore, monitoring and diagnosing issues is much harder on traditional servers. Here, the focus remains on identifying the root causes of problems when they happen. Monitoring is vital, but it only looks at the system from an external perspective (black-box approach).

But when a cloud-native approach is used, it incorporates the principles of monitoring and observability. As such, we not only monitor systems, but also dive in and observe the application’s individual components to see how they run.

In this case, we achieve a broader overview of what is happening within the server, giving us valuable insights into how different components interact. This, in turn, provides much-needed information on potential issues and areas for optimization. As a result, issues can be diagnosed early on in the process and tackled with ease.

Microservices Are the Foundation of the Cloud

Microservices are single-purpose programs that you can use with any application. Essentially, they are applications built as individual components that run each process as a separate service. These microservices can either be deployed independently or be brought together (like containers) to achieve a specific business goal. In the latter, they function together using lightweight APIs.

Microservices are not exclusive to the cloud but do form the core of cloud-native applications for the following reasons:

  • Centered around APIs
  • Free from server dependencies
  • Independent lifecycle
  • Adapts to the best-suited stack (specific to the job)
  • Better resource utilization
  • Reduced costs for deploying and scaling components

Integration Is Key

A key feature of the cloud-native architecture is that it enables consolidated logging. Using a centralized logging system, it becomes easier to access information about issues and resolve them more efficiently.

Logs are the hubs that help identify the root of any problem within the system. Therefore, since they have correlation IDs, it becomes simpler to track problems. This feature is handy for enterprises as their logs tend to be distributed across multiple servers and applications. Consolidated logging empowers them to monitor service delivery through cloud-based applications and diagnose issues more quickly.

Increase Organizational Resiliency

Resiliency refers to the ability of your system to respond to failure while remaining functional throughout. It's impossible to avoid failure. Therefore, when an issue occurs, the focus is on returning to a fully operational state as quickly as possible.

Application Resiliency

By embracing the inevitability of partial failures, we can prioritize creating resilient applications that can recover quickly. That said, cloud-native applications are inherently resilient because of how they are made. Due to constant monitoring and automated systems, they can detect and mitigate any issues with the infrastructure. The applications can automatically restart, scale out, or redistribute themselves to another node.

With the cloud, the assumption is that resiliency is in-built, and that is true. Moreover, you can further improve resiliency by continuously monitoring and testing the underlying system.

Not every cloud system will have the same threats, and more often than not, the threat vectors are highly dependent on the organization's business objectives. The better the planning and feedback monitoring, the better the cloud resilience. This makes cloud-native environments the preferred choice in today's market.

Easier Resolution of Problems

Issue resolution is a crucial part of service management because it directly impacts the user's experience. This is why problem resolution has a designated place in the ITIL framework, which forms the basis of enterprise service management (ESM). The process typically involves a combination of these steps:

  • Simplify the focus of the problem — Use a fallback now and identify the core issue later.
  • Decide what the result of a fix looks like — This provides clarity about what to expect.
  • Problem-solving in stages — Enables you to keep testing and iterating based on the feedback.
  • Know that your resolution process works — Choose the right indicators for success and document resolution processes.
  • Be open to trial and error — Try different things to fix the problem.

Cloud-native applications make this process easier because they use continuous monitoring systems, consolidated logging, and automated processes. Whenever the system encounters an issue, it can recover using approaches like asynchronous communication, implementing fallback options, and circuit breaker patterns. The goal is for the system to be up and running in the shortest time possible.

Creating Positive Business Impact

The decision to adopt cloud-native solutions for your business must be made from your end user's perspective. If deploying such architecture within your organization improves the service delivery process, the positive impact will be evident.

Consider the following ways by which businesses can observe this impact.

Scalability

Deploying and testing applications on the cloud is much easier than in an on-premise setup. This means that when new applications need to be tested or launched, the time to deployment is shorter. Moreover, its flexibility of usage allows companies to scale their applications when strategic changes occur.

User Experience

Any strategic change within the organization must keep the end user in mind. The change can be achieved by automating workflows to remove redundancies, which builds an end-to-end delivery system that promotes visibility and efficiency.

Service design is at the core of a seamless user experience, so adopting cloud technologies enables faster service delivery and improved user experience. It results in increased user satisfaction and trust in your business.

Cost Reduction

The costs of an on-premises setup are very high, sometimes totaling millions of dollars. Moreover, they are primarily self-managed and require additional resources to maintain them.

When organizations shift to the cloud, they only pay for what they provision, and they can scale as and when their business requires. In addition, costs for deployment and testing are lower in cloud-native environments, making them a desirable option for cost optimization.

Conclusion

Overall, the benefits of cloud-native environments for service management are multifold. They enable companies to use newer technologies like microservices and containers to optimize their server setup.

Optimizing and migrating their setup empowers them to increase the resiliency of their internal systems, which in turn creates a positive impact in the forms of scalability, improved user experience, and decreased operating costs.

If you’re looking to explore the possibilities of the cloud for your business, you can learn more on E7 Solutions.

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