Cloud-native applications are built from the ground up to run in a public cloud, like the AWS cloud. There are no set rules for developing them. Instead, the development approach is largely driven by the business problem to be solved and the software used.

However, there are some techniques and approaches that we’ve employed at ClearScale that have generated results superior to those achieved by other means. The following are 10 of these “best practices,” including a few derived from AWS’ seven best practices for modern application development.

1.   Empower Teams to Become Product Owners

Embrace AWS’ “Products Not Projects” concept. Give your teams complete ownership of the application lifecycle.

Autonomy facilitates creativity, drives motivation, and contributes to a risk-taking culture in an environment of trust.

2.   Leverage Microservices

Make applications more flexible by using microservices architecture to efficiently allocate resources to each service that the application uses.

Each service references its own data and supports a specific business goal. These modules communicate with one another via APIs.

3.   Package as Lightweight Containers

Unlike virtual machines, containers can rapidly scale in and out. Since the unit of scaling shifts to containers, infrastructure utilization is optimized.

Containers also keep microservices from interfering with one another and enable multiple instances of the same service.

4.   Use Appropriate Languages and Frameworks

Cloud-native applications are purpose-built to exist and run in the cloud. They take advantage of the cloud’s inherent qualities to increase speed, flexibility, and quality and to reduce deployment risks.

Cloud-native apps can employ a variety of languages, runtimes, and frameworks, so use the language and framework best suited for the functionality.

5.   Automate the Release Pipeline

Use continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) to release high-quality code faster and more often.

With CI, developers merge code changes into a central repository, after which automated builds and tests are run. With CD, code changes are automatically prepared for release to production.

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6.   Provision Resources with IaC

Employ Infrastructure as Code (IaC) to provision resources in a safe, repeatable manner, and build and rebuild infrastructure and applications without having to perform manual actions or write custom scripts.

Make changes in source control. Let the pipeline test and deploy the updates.

7.   Go Serverless

Use serverless technologies to run code, manage data, and integrate applications without having to provision and manage servers.

Serverless technologies feature automatic scaling, built-in high availability, and a pay-for-use billing model to increase agility and optimize costs.

8.   Increase Observability

Go beyond monitoring. Use the right tools and processes to set up good observability in your environment.

This will enable you to flexibly explore what’s going on and quickly figure out the root cause of issues you may not have been able to anticipate.

9.   Take a Modern, Multi-faceted Approach to Security

Align security with the dynamic nature of cloud-native apps.

Implement DevSecOps. Use a defense-in-depth strategy. Build security into cloud-native development workflows. Automate and orchestrate threat mitigation. Make testing intrinsic to the development lifecycle.

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10.    Employ Service Meshes

Service meshes extract the complicated logic governing how services communicate in the cloud to a separate layer of infrastructure. They decouple communication protocols from application code, abstracting them to an infrastructure layer on top of TCP/IP.

This enables developers to concentrate on building new features instead of managing communications.

There are many different ways to develop your cloud-native apps. But differences aside, what matters most about cloud-native apps compared to traditionally developed apps are the benefits, including better performance, lower costs, and increased scalability.

However, developing cloud-native applications also has its challenges. That’s why working with a company like ClearScale that specializes in cloud-native application development can be invaluable. We not only have extensive experience in cloud application modernization services, but we are also AWS cloud experts. That means we know how to leverage the AWS cloud to build customized solutions that meet your specific business goals.

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