To become a cloud-native company, your team needs planning and commitment. This isn’t a simple lift-and-shift exercise. It requires state-of-the-art rebuilding of the cloud’s infrastructure from the ground up.
Cloud-native is on a rapid adoption curve. Gartner forecasts that cloud-native platforms will be the foundation for more than 95% of new digital initiatives by 2025, up from less than 40% in 2021.
Thinking beyond the move to cloud
By building a solid foundation using a DevOps methodology and a high degree of automation, cloud-native is the next step in an enterprise’s cloud maturity. The technology provides a modern opex-based infrastructure, supports a faster release pace and reduces operational costs. It also removes technical debt and enhances the user experience.
Unlike the traditional concept of lift and shift, cloud-native applications – typically created using microservices and containers – are made in the cloud and can be easily scaled, maintained and delivered to distributed users. This allows enterprises to respond rapidly to digital change.
Becoming cloud native is more complex than it sounds. Adopting new technologies and processes is only part of it. Cloud native also requires a significant shift in mindset.
Cloud migration and modernization is an enabler of innovation and provides global accessibility, business scalability and market flexibility without the upfront costs of IT systems. Cloud native goes one step further by accelerating the time-to-market for new applications and services. It offers excellent opportunities for data matching, processing, automation and business intelligence. Aligning business with IT to exploit this isn’t easy, but it can be done with the right expertise. Orange can help you to identify the opportunities that will satisfy the needs of both business and IT.
The first step to being cloud native
Going cloud native requires cross-team collaboration and a detailed and continuously revised strategy. The first step is to assess the state of an enterprise’s current architecture, tools and any microservices being used. This is alongside security, monitoring and logging processes. Also, it is crucial to set the objectives and desirable benefits for choosing a cloud-native model. It is important to note that not all applications are ideal candidates for cloud native.
Embrace a culture of agile, continuous development
An agile approach is centered on delivering value to customers via regular and continuous software delivery. There is no cookie-cutter answer. Different enterprises have different needs and must tailor agile to their specific business goals.
This agile way of thinking requires developers to create new applications in the cloud or split legacy applications into microservices that work more efficiently in a cloud environment. To achieve this, developers must be prepared to adopt new principles such as advanced automation and minimum viable product development. This involves releasing an application with enough features to attract early adopters and collecting feedback to make further enhancements.
Adopting cloud-native DevOps and site reliability engineering (SRE) roles enable enterprises to take full advantage of the scalability of cloud by utilizing technologies such as Kubernetes and containers. This creates robust, adaptable, easy-to-scale applications. Automation allows for continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) and monitoring of the application throughout its lifecycle. A CI/CD pipeline helps reduce risk by fixing issues in the development stage, for example. Features can be built, tested and released almost automatically, speeding up delivery and reducing manual effort.
Build a cloud-native skills strategy
Cloud-native requires expertise in microservices, automating testing, provisioning, deployment and applications. Orange can help scale your DevOps company wide by pairing it with SRE practices or increasing product development time throughput with AI/ML services. By introducing FinOps and observability, we can also increase the bottom line and innovation.
Moving from building applications in traditional siloed environments to cloud native is a big leap –native engineers must be able to design, code and deploy in flexible cloud-native environments.
Skills assessment is essential when planning a move to cloud native. Upskilling in-house takes time. With the current cloud skills shortage, many enterprises are turning to experienced, trusted partners to help them deploy a cloud-native strategy and provide expertise and training. Orange, for example, provides extensive skills assessment workshops to its customers.
Most enterprises want to be self-sufficient in cloud native, but having a trusted co-creative cloud partner will accelerate transformation and aid knowledge transfer and critical cloud skills development.
Understand the fail-fast principle
Finally, it is important to understand the fail-fast principle, which is the core of agile practice in a cloud-native environment. Be prepared to fail early, pick up the pieces and move on. In essence, the faster you can stabilize software, the less it will cost to fix bugs and slow down launch dates. It is all about experimenting and learning while achieving goals.
At the same time, a business must be composable to support cloud native. A composable business is one made up of transposable building blocks. This modular structure enables collaboration and continuous improvement in a non-bureaucratic way.
Recycled and reusable code, algorithm training and modular software design principles are the future, born of a composable enterprise. These are fully deliverable by our experts here at Orange. As the pace of application development increases, enterprises that don’t adopt these principles will be trailing in the slow lane.
Find out more about Orange Business expertise in the cloud-native environment.
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Matthijs Stevens is Head of Cloud for Europe for Orange Business and is also Managing Director for Orange Business Benelux on an ad interim basis. Prior to taking this role in 2019, Matthijs was head of Sales and Solutions in The Netherlands. Matthijs earned his master in Business Administration at the University of Maastricht.