Indeed, there are two important categories of cloud services to know about: cloud-hosted and cloud-native. Whether you are building your own services or working with a third-party provider, no company should invest in any cloud solution without fully understanding what each type offers.
Cloud-hosted applications are built locally, behind a firewall, and then deployed in a cloud environment. The idea behind them is they could really be hosted in any facility. They're designed once and deployed where needed, saving companies and their developers time and effort.
Companies save money with cloud-hosted applications because they’re basically subscribing to services and only paying for the resources their employees consume. Finance departments increasingly love that approach because it shifts spending from capital expenditure (CapEx) models, where items are paid upfront without knowing how much they'll really be used, to operating expenditure (OpEx) models, where costs align more closely to actual service usage, allowing companies to conserve money and spread out expenses over time.
Cloud-hosted services are also seen as more convenient than companies' designing their own apps because the third-party provider handles any necessary refreshing of software. Similarly, managing and securing those applications is handled by outside experts, so organizations and their IT departments can focus on more business-critical matters, such as driving innovation to attract and retain customers. With all of these advantages, it’s little wonder the cloud-hosted approach has been popular in the market.
The essential difference between cloud-native and cloud-hosted is that cloud-hosted services harken back to the old ways of developing software, where applications are built with an on-premise mindset. They aren’t necessarily designed to leverage the full-benefits of being in the cloud. According to Accenture: “That is, cloud-native is much more than just a programming model or a new way of writing code. It changes the entire lifecycle of how requirements are collaboratively incepted, coded, tested and deployed.”
As a result, they often suffer from reliability, throughput, and integration challenges.
Cloud-native services, on the other hand, have all the benefits of cloud-hosted services plus the advantage of being developed entirely in the cloud and for the online world. In fact, the cloud-native model is thought to deliver a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than both on-premise or cloud-hosted.
Cloud-native services rely on “microservice” applications that run inside highly secured “containers.” As such, applications can operate in any environment. The containers, themselves, are lightweight and quick to deploy. They also tend to be easier to manage than traditional applications, and improvements can be made incrementally, automatically, and non-intrusively, minimizing downtime as well as disruption for the user.
According to the vendor-neutral Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), adopting cloud-native technology and practices gives companies the flexibility to essentially create software in-house, allowing businesspeople to closely partner with IT professionals, keep up with competitors, and deliver better services to customers. Uber, Airbnb, Netflix, Adidas, Spotify, Mastercard, and Morgan Stanley all use the cloud-native approach to differentiate and compete more effectively in their respective markets.
They are among the early adopters. Most of today’s applications still do not use containers to deliver cloud services. But that's changing, according to 451 Research, which predicts 78% of enterprises will turn to them within two years. The analyst firm also noted that cloud-native doesn’t necessarily mean apps will only run on private or public cloud infrastructure. In many cases, enterprises will also host them themselves–on-premise–as part of a hybrid cloud strategy.
“Enterprises can go faster with cloud and be more efficient with cloud-native microservices,” said William Fellows, founder and research vice president at 451. “Cloud is the infrastructure view. Cloud-native is the application view. The emergence of clouds, containers, and microservices promises to dramatically simplify the deployment of applications.”
'Digital Transformation Remains The Organizing Principle'
It’s important to keep in mind that, considering the wide range of goods and services we now see, successful deployment will depend on how well organizations combine and operationalize them, Fellows told CMO by Adobe. And since this is basically a shift or re-platforming from one model to another, it will take most organizations some time to get it right.
“Like the replatforming to the Internet and Web in the 1990s and 2000s, replatforming to cloud-native applications and services is going to take years, but it is a huge opportunity,” Fellows said. “The question is, which applications, in what sequencing, are going into which venues over what period of time? It’s worth underlining that all of this is serving a bigger purpose: Enterprise buyers tell us that digital transformation remains the organizing principle.”
For its part, Adobe has been doubling down on the cloud-native approach across its solution stack for several years now. From Adobe Experience Manager to Creative Cloud, Advertising Cloud, and Document Cloud, the company is constantly adding extensibility capabilities and delivering APIs to help customers evolve from the cloud-hosted model and customize their own microservices through a cloud-native approach.
“Brands have to be agile in order to keep up with the ever-evolving customer expectations and being cloud-native gives them the scale and agility to achieve that” says Gagan Mand, a product marketing manager at Adobe. “There is an ongoing big shift towards the cloud-native future since the total cost of ownership is lower, and the flexibility it offers is significantly higher. This is where the market is heading, and Adobe has been embracing this path since several years”