The demand for cloud-native applications is growing rapidly due to the many benefits they offer, including scalability, agility, and resiliency. According to McKinsey, the cloud-native application (CNA) market was valued at $5.9B in 2023 and is expected to grow to $17B in 2028, with a CAGR of 23.7% from 2023 to 2028. However, developing CNAs may be a challenging process and require specific expertise. So, how to get the maximum value from cloud applications? Let's explore the cloud-native best practices to unlock new opportunities for your business growth.

The cloud-native applications market from 2023 to 2028

Key characteristics of the cloud-native approach

Cloud-native application development is a specialized methodology for building and operating applications specifically designed for cloud environments. It goes beyond simply moving existing apps to the cloud; instead, it involves creating applications from scratch to fully benefit from cloud computing.

Native cloud development uses a collaborative methodology that provides exceptional scalability and adaptability across platforms. Cloud teams utilize advanced software tools that completely automate cloud application building, testing, and deployment. These technologies enable rapid setup and replication of microservices that cannot be achieved with traditional enterprise developments.

Cloud-native applications are no longer limited only to the public cloud. They can also be developed for private or hybrid clouds. It helps optimize infrastructure, enhance application performance, and modernize the cloud environment, reducing the risk of vendor lock-in and avoiding high costs.

Benefits of cloud-native architecture

Cloud-native application development best practices

These cloud-native best practices will help you maximize the value of cloud solutions and leverage the latest technologies to drive innovation.

1. Implement microservices architecture

Microservices is an architecture approach that separates applications into discrete autonomous services for further development, deployment, and scaling. Independent components interact through APIs, most often REST APIs, and work together as a system. This methodology offers more adaptability, scalability, and flexibility than monolithic architectures, which is why it is one of the leading cloud-native best practices. It also makes the environment more resilient, so if one service goes down, others won't be affected. This makes development more efficient and maintenance much easier.


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2. Adopt the containerization

Containerization allows you to combine an application and its dependencies into a compact unit known as a container. These containers run independently of the host system and function consistently across various environments. The rapid startup and shutdown capabilities of containers make them ideal for applications that require dynamic scaling in response to changing workloads or traffic surges. Besides, they can be configured to meet defined CPU and memory limits, preventing any container from monopolizing all available resources on the host. This isolation means that the failure of one does not affect the performance of others. Therefore, it ensures continuity in business operations.

3. Automate through container orchestration

Effective handling of microservices, security, and network communication on a large scale presents significant challenges when attempted manually. Container orchestration allows users to automate these tasks. The right orchestration tool can continuously monitor the infrastructure and correct any deviations from the planned state, such as creating a new container in case of failure. A proficient cloud consultant can advise you on the best orchestration tools that will suit your application architecture. The provider can also configure automation processes to streamline operational tasks like provisioning, deployment, scaling (up and down), networking, load balancing, and other critical activities. For instance, cloud engineers at N-iX have much experience to assist you in setting up the orchestration and streamlining container monitoring.

4. Integrate CI/CD pipelines

Implementing continuous integration and continuous deployment/delivery (CI/CD) into cloud-native development simplifies the software release process and improves accessibility and communication between teams. DevOps engineers set up and maintain CI/CD pipelines, which streamline application development by automating testing and deployment processes. CI/CD includes monitoring code changes in the version control system, running tests, integrating code, provisioning staging environments, and other functionalities. Hence, integrating CI/CD accelerates time-to-market and enables quick releases of cloud-native apps. If you don't have in-house DevOps engineers, you can contact a software consultant to find the necessary expertise for integrating CI/CD practices. For instance, N-iX offers comprehensive DevOps services that can help you fully automate deployment cycles and improve the visibility of your project progress.

5. Utilize Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

Infrastructure as Code is one of the critical cloud-native best practices for defining and managing infrastructure resources using code rather than manually configuring servers and services. It helps to save a lot of time and costs, reducing the risk of human error. With IaC, configurations for servers, networks, and storage are outlined and versioned, similar to the practices applied to application code. It also makes the environment more unified, streamlines issue troubleshooting and ensures consistency. Thus, IaC provides numerous advantages, such as quicker and consistent deployment, improved scalability, and simplified maintenance.

6. Establish serverless architecture

Serverless computing significantly improves application development in the cloud. Using serverless architecture, developers can execute code without the need to manage servers, focusing solely on coding. It is also a cost-effective approach, as you only pay for the actual execution of functions. Serverless platforms autonomously adjust resource allocation to changing workloads, ensuring that applications can handle fluctuating traffic levels without human intervention. The serverless architecture enables the swift deployment of apps without the burden of infrastructure setup. Consequently, it speeds up time-to-market and ensures effortless scalability.

7. Ensure continuous monitoring and observability

Since cloud applications are complex distributed systems running on dynamic infrastructure, robust monitoring and logging are necessary to achieve full system observability. It involves gathering data from diverse sources such as system logs, application metrics, traces, and user interactions. It can be a difficult task, so you have the option to delegate the monitoring to the outsourcing vendor to provide expert maintenance of your cloud-native environment. For example, N-iX offers such services to support you during development and beyond. We also provide observation to diagnose performance issues, comprehend dependencies, detect anomalies, and analyze root causes of problems. Continuous monitoring allows organizations to refine observability strategies according to evolving needs, tools, and methods and swiftly identify and address security incidents and potential vulnerabilities.

8. Focus on cloud-native security and DevSecOps

To avoid numerous security risks in cloud-native environments, such as data breaches, vulnerabilities, or unauthorized access, you should implement effective security measures. A trusted partner can help you adopt the best security strategies on cloud application, network, and infrastructure levels. Top safeguarding methods include access control, network security, data encryption, intrusion detection, and monitoring. Security testing is also one of the cloud-native application development best practices for robust protection. An experienced vendor should integrate automated testing tools to continuously scan code, containers, and configurations for vulnerabilities and compliance concerns. You can also adopt the DevSecOps strategy to ensure continuous protection throughout the development lifecycle. This approach integrates top security practices into the DevOps workflow, safeguarding cloud-native applications at every stage with multi-layered security measures.

9. Choose the right tech stack for cloud-native development

The technology decisions you make when constructing cloud-native applications greatly impact their performance and scalability in the cloud environment. A proficient cloud consultant can help you choose the right tech stack for your development. For instance, specific tools may be more fitting for building microservices, while others may suit data processing or real-time applications. This adaptability enables teams to choose the most efficient tools tailored to specific microservices, increasing developer productivity. Cloud-based development includes continuous assessment of the technology stack to ensure its alignment with evolving requirements and industry trends.

Cloud-native tech stack

10. Install service meshes

Service meshes create an extra infrastructure layer to manage communication issues between microservices. They enable developers to focus on building applications rather than dealing with linking between services. Service meshes integrate features like load balancing and traffic distribution across multiple service instances, improving performance and fault tolerance. Additionally, they can adjust communication patterns when requirements evolve, providing flexibility without significant application code changes. Service meshes are among cloud-native best practices for application development as they maintain steady transmission between microservices, ensuring the resilience of the infrastructure.

Adopt a cloud-native strategy for your business

How can N-iX assist you in cloud-native application development?

If you are considering cloud-native application development, N-iX has the experience to assist you. With over 400 cloud experts on board, we have the necessary expertise to apply cloud-native best practices, delivering modern applications for your business. Since 2002, N-iX has accumulated a large portfolio of cloud projects in different industries, including banking, manufacturing, energy, healthcare, and more. We collaborate with the leading global cloud providers and have the status of the AWS Advanced Tier Services Partner, a Microsoft Solutions Partner, and a Google Cloud Platform Partner. N-iX can help you get the most out of your cloud applications.

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N-iX Staff
Andriy Varusha
Head of Cloud & Security

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