Cloud-native application development has become one of the fastest-growing technology trends today and is continuing to make gains in popularity. So much so that Gartner and IDC predict that 90-95% of apps will be cloud-native by 2025, and nearly two thirds of enterprises will become prolific software producers that deploy code daily. This comes as no surprise with some of the biggest names in business taking advantage of cloud-native infrastructures for the development and delivery of popular applications.
Cloud-native applications have many advantages over legacy software, such as availability and agility, scalability, elasticity, easy geographic distribution, and resilience. Businesses are able to react and respond to a changing market faster to provide better experiences for customers, all while delivering a competitive advantage.
However, cloud-native apps represent a fundamental change in software development. The complexities and risks of moving to cloud-native development are why few companies have fully embraced cloud-native computing to date. But what exactly are the obstacles that are holding businesses back and how can they overcome them?
Barriers in cloud-native development
First and foremost, transitioning to a cloud-native development approach is no easy feat. Containerization and Kubernetes are at the heart of switching to cloud-native development and this process is anything but simple. Although Kubernetes is the most popular container orchestration system in use today, it is difficult and complex, requiring skilled professionals, a resource that is increasingly scarce. Businesses must also commit large resources to configuring and running these processes effectively.
Kubernetes is not the first and only challenge that IT leaders must consider either. They must also retrain teams on microservices architecture and assemble and learn all the individual cloud-native services required for implementation, including but not limited to, security, networking, data, and secrets. They must also retool DevOps processes for the rapid cadence of cloud-native development.
These challenges add up, increasing complexity as well as the inevitable by-product – cost. A standard cloud-native app development system can take months to years and millions of dollars to install — before developers can even start constructing their first application.
Patrick Jean is CTO at OutSystems.
The cost of complexity
The cost of transitioning to a cloud-native development approach can vary, though from my experience enterprise companies can look to pay upwards of $5 million dollars. That price includes hiring and onboarding new employees, maintenance of infrastructure, training and reskilling existing developers, and rebuilding the traditional application. The latter being where costs tend to run up the most due to the timeframe it takes and the number of developers required to complete such a task.
What’s more, the risk of skyrocketing cloud costs is not uncommon. Organizations can be at risk of losing millions of dollars if they over-provision the required cloud services during the development and configuration of the infrastructure and environment phase. While there are several tools out there that can help companies keep track of their cloud costs through reporting and optimization, many companies have been burned by cloud adoption mistakes. Gartner has previously reported that they can result in companies overspending by up to 50%.
How high-performance low-code can help
The cost and complexity of building cloud-native development infrastructure from the ground up should make any IT leader pause for thought. We also know that many IT departments continue to struggle to embrace Kubernetes, microservices and cloud-native technologies once deployed. Businesses can tackle the challenges of cloud-native application development by implementing a low-code platform that removes the necessity of specialized expertise, taking away the excessive costs but still providing all the advantages.
Low-code platforms are becoming increasingly popular in today’s cloud-native world, thanks to the array of benefits they offer. Developers can build and deploy applications much faster than with a traditional cloud-native approach and with no need for extensive coding expertise or knowledge. This is because traditional cloud-native development requires endless writing of code in development languages, where specific syntax and structure is needed. This is where low-code platforms - and high-performance low-code platforms specifically - truly shine. These platforms not only make it easier to build applications, they help automate some of the more complex and tedious tasks involved with developing and deploying enterprise applications.
Speed is one of the greatest benefits that low-code platforms offer, with developers being able to do the same task between two to eight times faster. With traditional development, a web server, database server and code repository are needed before even getting started, whereas low code enables developers to get started immediately with just a few clicks.
Traditional development platforms also require every project to be started from scratch, differing widely from low-code platforms that enable developers to reuse existing work. When a module is present on the platform, for example, its publicly disclosed actions and data may be readily used in a new application.
Low-code development platforms are nothing more than a method of reducing insufficient development complexities and accelerating what matters most - from automating time-consuming processes to executing the same operations as traditional cloud-native development.
A winning solution: Low-code platforms
Despite the increasing popularity of cloud-native development, the transition to it remains a complex and costly process that requires specialized skills. This is where low-code platforms can play a great role in helping businesses to overcome this barrier. Using low-code platforms can enable businesses to build and deploy applications faster, without the need for extensive coding expertise or specialized knowledge. By reducing the complexities and accelerating the application development lifecycle, organizations are provided with the tools they need to successfully develop cloud-native applications.
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Patrick Jean is CTO at OutSystems. He is an engineering leader focused on building great engineering cultures where motivated people are free to unleash their passion doing meaningful work.