Sunday, 24th January 2021

Anything but cloud native is digital suicide

By Martin Buhr, CEO and Founder at Tyk.

Every business needs to be a tech brand today. It’s the only way to truly adapt to digital transformation. And the ability to build technology – and own it – is core to that.

So what is the best approach to becoming a tech company?

Simple – it avoids the impending doom of datacentres and taking a cloud native approach.

Defining cloud native

Cloud native is the approach to building applications and services specifically for a cloud environment, but it’s also the inherent characteristics of those apps and services.

Cloud native applications are a collection of independent and autonomous services that are packaged into container-based environments. Cloud native technologies are used to develop applications built with services packaged in containers, deployed as microservices and managed on elastic infrastructure through agile DevOps processes and continuous delivery workflows.

Adopting a cloud native approach is crucial in today’s digital age and provides many benefits; from minimising the impact of downtime, to increased security and distributed risk. This means that architecture can be “lifted and shifted” without platform dependency, resulting in the best possible service and the ability for organisations to innovate and adapt quickly.

Developing apps in a cloud environment takes significantly less time, with a decreased lag time between testing and deployment compared to more traditional on-premise software. As a result businesses and developers can be more responsive to customer needs as they arise.

The reduction in downtime also increases security. Cloud- native applications are inherently more secure as the threats that often affect them are short-term with shorter lifespans thanks to faster software development lifecycles.

Another reason cloud native is the only approach businesses should take is the additional control it provides organisations. Expensive vendor lock-in is a real issue for businesses who want and need control over their data and IP, but a multi-cloud approach can help liberate organisations from these shackles.

A ground-up cloud-native approach takes control from a single cloud vendor and keeps it where it belongs – with the brands and talent that’re building new technology services.

The fundamental role of APIs

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are key to a cloud-native approach. They help developers create innovative solutions for customers at speed.

They can also save time by building on previous work to unlock new functionality, revenue streams, and customer bases.

But what makes APIs truly valuable to software development is the accessibility they give developers to cherry-pick technology and their specific functions. Taking different pieces of software and amalgamating them into a solution unique to customers’ needs.

Although APIs can enable innovation, simplicity is key when it comes to developing a good API design. It’s about thinking strategically and considering best practice rather than following the latest trends.

This quality is the common thread throughout API management. Effective API programmes will be based on the three key components: API portfolio ownership for stakeholder management, coaching and governance to maintain consistency, and easy API adoption for efficiency and speed.

Keeping pace with challengers

Essentially, a cloud-native approach allows businesses to build something more relevant than a single vendor solution could ever provide. And ultimately, a single vendor solution will never be the path to becoming a true tech company – and neither will a single cloud provider.

Sectors like banking and financial services are facing increased pressure to innovate in the face of new challengers and customer experiences. And the importance of having the right API approach in place can make the difference in the ability to innovate quickly, or be left behind by the competition.

For brands that are serious about adopting a digital strategy, there’s no choice but to be cloud native.

Without it, brands are incapable of adapting to the pace of change in today’s digital economy.

In the long run, to be anything other than cloud native is digital suicide.

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