Cloud-native computing has exploded onto the enterprise IT scene over the last few years.
Kubernetes, the popular open source container orchestration platform, may have been the tinder that set this conflagration into motion, but cloud-native goes well beyond Kubernetes, or any single technology.
Fundamentally, cloud-native means extending the goodness of the cloud to all of IT, including the benefits of massive scalability, resilience, configuration-driven infrastructure, self-service management and control, and all the various other advantages that we’ve come to appreciate in the cloud.
All of that goodness – to all of IT. Hybrid IT. Edge computing. Architecture and applications. Security. The whole kit and caboodle.
Complexity be damned.
To be sure, cloud-native computing is vastly complicated, but it doesn’t have to be, well, messy. To implement cloud-native well, organizations must take a cogent architectural approach to instituting comprehensive abstractions that mask the underlying complexity of the infrastructure, while providing a seamless, flexible ability to deploy and run applications across the entire IT landscape.
But it’s still not easy – especially at scale. The first of cloud-native’s biggest challenges, perhaps, is getting your head around the whole thing.
Cloud-native computing requires a rethink of every aspect of enterprise IT, a true paradigm shift in how businesses leverage technology to meet customer needs.
Intellyx is here to help.
Introducing the Intellyx Cloud-Native Computing Poster
To help address the challenges in understanding the scope and power of cloud-native computing, Intellyx is proud to announce the publication of its Cloud-Native Computing Poster (click here for a free download; registration required) – in steampunk!
Once you’re viewing the pdf, you’ll notice that there are hyperlinks scattered about the entire poster. If you’d like to learn more about our thinking on a topic, simply click.
On first glance, the poster appears to be packed with messy detail – but upon closer inspection, you’ll see that just as with cloud-native computing itself, there is a cogent organization to the poster. Let’s take a quick tour.
The scope of the poster comprises three areas of focus: cloud-native infrastructure, architecture, and applications.
In the upper left, cloud-native infrastructure centers on hybrid IT, but connects to cloud-native edge, container centricity, cloud-native operations, and cloud native storage – among other aspects of IT infrastructure we’re also rethinking along cloud-native lines.
Connecting many of these elements is a comprehensive software-defined abstraction, which the poster represents as a connecting pipe. This pipe links to fabric thinking and then to cloud architecture best practice and cloud-native application design.
Front and center in the cloud-native applications section in the upper right-hand corner of the poster is DevOps, which itself connects to the 12-factor SaaS methodology at the core of many cloud-based application infrastructures.
Between infrastructure and applications in the top center of the poster lies cloud-native data infrastructure, connecting to hybrid IT on the left and cloud-native computing itself on the right. Data, after all, are the lifeblood of all IT, cloud-native computing included.
At the center of cloud-native architecture (bottom of the poster) lies stateless, trustless, and codeless: the three ‘lesses’ of cloud computing. Statelessness informs cloud-native storage, while codelessness feeds cloud-native application design.
Trustlessness, in turn, is central to cloud-native security, which has the pride of place at the center of the poster. Close by are service meshes running from east to west and API management from north to south, connecting finally to cloud-native observability, a central feature of cloud-native operations.
This brief tour of the Intellyx Cloud-Native Computing Poster is circuitous on its own, but keep in mind that the poster has far more detail. Print it out and hang it on your wall so that you can spend hours mulling over its intricacies. (Printed versions of the poster will be available at conferences and from sponsors once events resume).
Getting Started with Cloud-Native Computing
Given the way everything seems to be connected to everything else on the poster, it’s not clear where an organization should get started with cloud-native computing. The reason: there are many possible starting points.
For many organizations, the obvious starting point is the cloud. From a cloud-first strategy (see the far upper left corner) to multicloud to hybrid cloud (on-prem plus cloud) to hybrid IT, the complexity of multiple environments quickly becomes overwhelming. Cloud-native computing brings a welcome layer of management and security to the mix.
In other cases, microservices are the starting point, leading to containers and then Kubernetes. For many people, Kubernetes is the central component of cloud-native infrastructure, but as the poster points out, cloud-native computing is independent of both products and open source projects.
Containers, however, aren’t the be-all and end-all of cloud-native, as traditional virtualization and serverless computing are also part of the puzzle. Scaled out cloud-native deployments generally feature a mix of all three.
Edge computing may also be the entry point for cloud-native computing. The problem with the edge is, well, that there are so many of them: the cloud edge (where CDNs live), the near edge (with IoT gateways, remote office server rooms, and telco points of presence, to name a few), as well as the far edge, where handheld devices reside, along with IoT sensors, actuators, and a wide range of other specialized endpoints.
Given the architectural complexity of the edge alone, it might be easy to try to separate it from cloud-native. Unfortunately, such a separation is ill-conceived, as cloud-native infrastructure is central to achieving business value at scale from the edge.
Perhaps the most strategic entry point to cloud-native computing, however, is digital transformation. Enterprises are reorganizing themselves to align with customer preferences and requirements, and that reorganization can impact the company’s entire technology landscape.
Organizational silos must collapse, and with them, technology silos as well. Cloud-native computing is essential for this rearchitecting of modern IT. No longer can technology silos stand alone. Instead, the cross-cutting organizational and architectural principles of cloud-native enable organizations to meet customer needs at scale.
The Intellyx Take
Cloud-native computing is still relatively new, and thus we can expect ongoing innovation and improvements across the board. This poster, therefore, is one perspective on the trend at one point in time.
Nevertheless, we hope that it will help you understand the scope of the cloud-native paradigm shift that is well underway at many enterprises, web-scale companies, and startups in all industries and geographies.
It is an inclusive vision that seeks to incorporate disparate trends by abstracting them, rather than providing a distinct alternative that will force a choice of approach.
We’d like to thank the sponsors of the Intellyx Cloud-Native Computing Poster. Our gold sponsors are OpenLegacy, Broadcom, and Cherwell. Unravel, Volterra, and MemSQL are our silver sponsors, and the Cloud-Native Computing Foundation is our special industry sponsor.
The sponsors supported the poster financially, but didn’t provide input into the content – for that, you’ll have to blame us here at Intellyx. Nevertheless, when you download the poster, we encourage you to allow us to give your contact information to them.
This is also a perfect opportunity to sign up for our biweekly Cortex and Brain Candy newsletters, and tell all of your colleagues and friends about our poster. However, please don’t share the file; instead, point them to http://www.intellyx.com/cncposter.
© Intellyx LLC. Intellyx publishes the weekly Cortex and Brain Candy newsletters and advises business leaders and technology vendors on their digital transformation strategies. Intellyx retains editorial control over the content of this document. At the time of writing, Broadcom, Cherwell, MemSQL, OpenLegacy, Unravel, and Volterra are Intellyx customers.