Delivering applications at breakneck speed is routine for new-age companies, including Amazon, which releases new code every 11.6 seconds. It is no surprise then that Google, Spotify, and Netflix are also matching the lightning pace the world's largest e-commerce giant brings to coding with comparable agility and innovation. What are these and other vanguard companies doing differently to move at that speed? They're going cloud-native.
In the race to the top, where the brand recall of new products is short-lived, many Fortune 500 companies, like Home Depot, are seeing that adopting cloud-native infrastructure is crucial for survival. To rise in the struggling retail sector, Home Depot developed over 2,000 apps for handling 2 billion service calls per month, bringing deployment times down from six weeks to six hours, by embracing the power of the cloud.
To reach the top, ride the cloud
Ninety-two percent of companies anticipate going cloud-native by 2021, according to a 2016 joint study by O'Reilly Media and Dynatrace. CIOs must consider the switch if they can answer “yes” to several crucial questions: Is their industry under threat from the likes of an Amazon or a Facebook? Is speed, personalization and scale their most important KPIs? Is budget a constraint to achieving these objectives?
Then, they need to look at the potential opportunities of going cloud-native. First, it provides enterprises with the ability to roll out flexible business models and rapidly mash up a revenue model in real-time. Second, it enables organizations to be tech-driven outliers, providing value for customers via hyper-personalization. Third, it offers businesses the opportunity to tap into unbounded economies of scale that ensure cost leadership in a company’s market segment.
If the prospect of these transformations clearly overlaps with a company’s goals, then the embrace of cloud as a systemic practice is likely to help achieve business objectives as compared to reliance on legacy IT alone.
Netflix, it has been suggested, may be the poster child of integrating legacy and cloud systems. It was established in 1997 but only fully migrated from the tethers of data centers in early 2016, stating they chose the cloud-native approach to rebuild virtually all of their technology and fundamentally change the way they operate. The company has now won over 130 million subscribers from 190 countries.
Adapt, or get left behind
In today’s fast-paced digital era, consumers demand speed as much as quality. When a business can’t offer both, the consumer moves on to someone who can. In 2015, Dell and EMC were linked to a group of tech giants WIRED named the “walking dead” behind Amazon and Google’s cloud dominance. But the two merged and are now offering their own cloud-based solutions in an effort to rise in a world of innovation on demand.
So how does cloud-native infrastructure power the ability to deliver instant, elegant solutions?
Boundless processing power, serverless architectures, and the ability to power up and plug in microservices enable lightning-quick conception and creation of new products. In this agile environment, organizations can meet ever-increasing customer demands and expectations. Companies can now grow a product, service, or idea and deploy all these things as quickly as business plans change.
Luckily, it is easier and quicker than ever to adopt a cloud-native infrastructure, thanks to the behemoths. Google took several years, and Netflix took about five to six years to migrate. The second movers can, therefore, count on a much shorter window since the industry now has a better sense of what to expect from going cloud-native.
Going the distance: implementing cloud-native
When organizations decide to move to cloud, they need to roll out a point framework and program foundation. This is because the cloud-native proprietary framework spans a broad range of accelerators that improve the speed and efficacy of deploying and managing cloud-native infrastructure and apps, bringing relevant aspects of cognitive into the fold to introduce automation.
There is a lot of investment already made on companies’ legacy infrastructure, and it is only wise in the near-term to think of how best to leverage it en-route to the target state. Fortunately, it is technically feasible to untether business applications from an enterprise’s current infrastructure and still reap other benefits of cloud-native in their private cloud.
I’d recommend taking a comprehensive approach, focusing on mapping out a state-of-the-art, multi-tier security model; fostering a culture of hackathons; investing in R&D and partnering with industry forums; and automating by building more cognitive into the cloud.
The cloud offers agility and unprecedentedly faster roll-outs of products and services that your competitors are certainly taking advantage of. Cloud-native is no longer the future. It is here. It is now.