How Cloud-Native is Building the Future of Business
“Cloud-native” is a term that simply did not exist a decade ago. In fact, “cloud” was barely part of the lexicon—so the concept of a cloud-focused technology stack was not even a consideration. This is why, even today, we see only 15 percent of enterprise workloads running in cloud-native environments.
It’s been a slow journey, as a new technology ecosystem had first to be invented then mature to make a cloud-native approach viable for most organizations. Today, a cloud-native approach is finally capable of delivering powerful results for businesses of all types. CIOs are taking notice. So much so, in fact, that cloud-native workloads are expected to increase to 32 percent by 2020.
In leveraging cloud-native architectures, companies are now able to shape their futures while staying relevant in a quickly changing industry and meeting customers’ increasing expectations.
What it means to be cloud-native
Being cloud-native means architecting your applications to take full advantage of a cloud computing delivery model—elasticity, scale, resiliency, using continuous delivery methods. This type of architecture, also referred to as 12 Factor Apps, has been around for many years, but has only recently started to build momentum.
Most enterprises want to drastically speed up their ability to build, test and deploy software, and they look to cloud-native application architectures and continuous delivery practices to reduce that time from months to hours.
The ability to continually deploy and update applications without disrupting the user experience is at the core of a digitally transformed company. In fact, companies who can’t do this fast enough will be left behind. Those who stick to legacy development models will find that the market, and their customers’ expectations, have changed by the time they deploy their application, moving them and their product further behind the competition. Cloud-native solves this, keeping at pace with customer demand and the speed of technology.
What cloud-native looks like in real life
Home Depot, a brick-and-mortar company that literally sells brick and mortar, needed to figure out how to survive in the modern retail world. By leveraging cloud-native architectures and continuous delivery practices, Home Depot was able to develop 2000+ applications that handle over two billion service calls a month—and reduced deployment times from six weeks to six hours.
Gap, a major clothing retailer with 3,300 stores and more than $15 billion in annual revenue, used cloud-native application architectures for their price optimization, helping it stay competitive in a highly volatile retail market. It now handles 6,000 price adjustments every four hours to ensure its customers always get the best price.
It’s not just retail companies reaping the benefits of moving to cloud-native architectures. In 2014, the U.S. Air Force’s IT operations organization was spending 70 percent of its budget on infrastructure and only 30 percent on new capabilities. By implementing continuous delivery practices, and taking advantage of the flexibility that cloud-native application architectures provided, it dramatically increased the USAF’s application development efforts while slashing the time needed to implement new ideas by 70 percent. This change is expected to save $600 million.
A competitive differentiator
These are just a few examples of how organizations have shaped their futures with cloud-native architectures. This trend will continue and, as the ecosystem around cloud-native technologies grows, it will become the competitive differentiator that will keep your company relevant in the future.
Cloud Foundry Foundation