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Community Blog A Deep Understanding of Cloud Native Technology and Application

A Deep Understanding of Cloud Native Technology and Application

This article discusses the basic knowledge and usage of cloud native technology and application to effectively empower your business with cloud native.

A Deep Dive into Cloud Native: From Basics to Applications

In this article, we will review the concepts and definition of cloud native in detail, and discuss its potential applications and impacts.

The cloud native concept emerges as cloud computing enjoys rapid development. Cloud-native has become extremely popular. You will be considered outdated if you do not understand Cloud-native as of this year.

Although many people are talking about cloud native, few have told you exactly what cloud native is. Even after finding and reading some cloud-native materials, most of you may still feel confused and lack a complete understanding of cloud native. At this point, you might start to doubt your own intelligence. In my case, I always tend to blame the authors' stupidity for my incomprehensibility of certain articles, though this is not necessarily true. However, this way of thinking prevents me from being held back by my own self-doubt and I can try to remain positive.

The reason why cloud native cannot be explicitly described is the lack of a clear definition. Since cloud native is undergoing constant development and changes, no individuals or organizations have the absolute right to define cloud native.

Technical changes are always heralded by certain ideologies, just as the invincible Marxism leads to the prosperity of proletarian revolutions.

What Is Cloud Native?

Cloud native is an approach to building and running applications. It is a set of systematized techniques and methodologies. Cloud native is a compound word made up of "cloud" and "native". The word "cloud" represents applications residing in the cloud instead of in traditional data centers. The word "native" represents applications that are designed to run on the cloud and fully utilize the elasticity and the "distributed" advantage at the very beginning of application design.

The cloud native concept was first put forward by Matt Stine at Pivotal in 2013. In 2015 when cloud native was just becoming popular, Matt Stine defined several characteristics of cloud-native architectures in the book Migrating to Cloud Native Application Architectures: 12-factor applications, microservices, self-service agile infrastructure, API-based collaboration, and anti-fragility. At an InfoQ interview in 2017, Matt Stine made some changes and indicated six characteristics of cloud-native architectures: modularity, observability, deployability, testability, replaceability, and handleability. The latest description about cloud-native architectures on the official Pivotal website shows four key characteristics: DevOps, continuous delivery, microservices, and containers.

In 2015, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) was founded. CNCF originally defined four characteristics of cloud-native architectures: containerized encapsulation, automated management, and microservices. In 2018, CNCF updated the definition of cloud-native architectures with two new features: service meshes and declarative APIs.

As we can see, different individuals and organizations have different definitions for cloud-native architectures, and even the same individual or organization has different definitions for cloud-native architectures at different points in time. This complexity makes it hard for me to clearly understand cloud-native architectures. After a while, I came up with a simple solution: to choose only one definition that is easy to remember and understand (in my case, DevOps, continuous delivery, microservices, and containers).

In a word, cloud-native applications are required to meet the following: Implement containerization by using open-source stacks like K8s and Docker, improve flexibility and maintainability based on microservices architectures, adopt agile methods, allow DevOps to support continuous iteration and automated O&M, and implement elastic scaling, dynamic scheduling, and efficient resource usage optimization by using cloud platform facilities.

Cloud native supports simple and fast application building, easy deployment, and allows applications to be scaled as needed. Cloud-native architectures bring many advantages over traditional web frameworks and IT models, and have almost no disadvantages. Cloud-native architectures are definitely a powerful secret weapon in this industry.

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Insight into the Future of Cloud Native: CNCF x Alibaba Cloud Native Technology Course

The CNCF and Alibaba Cloud have jointly launched a new technology course to provide developers with insights into the future of cloud native.

As the cloud native technology stack represented by Kubernetes is becoming increasingly mature and the CNCF ecosystem is growing gradually, "Cloud Native" has become a keyword in the future cloud computing era. However, what exactly is "Cloud Native"? What is the relationship between cloud native, CNCF, and Kubernetes? Since the technology wave of cloud native has already arrived, how can we, as cloud computing developers and practitioners, implement cloud native technologies within our own organizations and gain a foothold in the cloud native technological revolution?

As witnesses and practitioners of the "cloud native" technical community for many years, we know that it is not easy to have every developer understand and adopt a new technology. For this reason, we have jointly developed the CNCF x Alibaba Cloud Native Technology Open Course with Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). We aim to answer every technical question about "cloud native" for each developer and reveal the thinking and essence behind the cloud computing revolution.

Over the years, CNCF has been dedicated to making cloud native computing universal and sustainable to global developers. The launch of the CNCF x Alibaba Cloud Native Technology Open Course is the first cloud native course tailored by CNCF exclusively for Chinese developers. You can learn from world-class technical experts to fully understand cloud native technologies. We firmly believe that the solution to making cloud native available to everyone relies only on a deep understanding of every design and thinking behind "cloud native".

Paving the Way in Cloud Native: Alibaba Provides Enterprises with Powerful Solutions

This article discusses how Alibaba Cloud is a leader in cloud native technology and applications and provides enterprises with powerful solutions.

In 2015, the first ever KubeCon + CloudNativeCon was held in San Francisco, with just over 200 attendees. But fast forward to the second KubeCon, this time held in China, over 3,000 attendees come from all over the globe - making KubeCon one of the biggest workshops of its kind. As predicted by Gartner, we are now entering the Cloud Native Era, where within the next three years, 75% of global enterprises will deploy containerized applications in production.

A forerunner in developing cloud native technologies and applications, Alibaba Cloud has shared 26 insightful presentations to the attendees of this year's KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, of whom many are representatives of various global enterprises and others prominent developers. Ding Yu, the director of Alibaba Cloud Container Platform, pointed out:

"Cloud native is reshaping the entire software lifecycle. Containers, Kubernetes, and cloud native have become three key standards in the age of cloud. Alibaba Cloud will double down on its development of cloud native technologies and products, while maintaining its role in giving back to the open-source community. We are also collaborating with ecosystem partners to set cloud native standards and implement cloud native applications."

New Thoughts on Cloud Native: Why Are Containers Everywhere?

This article is based on a speech given by Yi Li, Director of Alibaba Cloud Container Service, at the Cloud Native Industry Conference sponsored by CAICT.

Currently, most enterprises completely embrace cloud computing. The all-in-cloud era has witnessed three important changes: cloud-based infrastructure, Internet-based core technologies, and data-driven and intelligent services. In different fields and industries, many business applications were born in the cloud so that many enterprises are more and more similar to Internet companies. Therefore, technical capabilities are viewed as indispensable core competencies. At the 2019 Beijing Alibaba Cloud Summit, Zhang Jianfeng, President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, mentioned the significance of vigorous investments in the cloud native technology when talking about "Internet-based core technologies".

Why should we embrace cloud native technology? On the one hand, cloud computing has rebuilt the entire software lifecycle, from architecture design to development, construction, delivery, and O&M. On the other hand, the IT architectures of enterprises have changed significantly and services deeply depend on IT capabilities. These two aspects contribute to complexity and challenges.

As the development of human society is followed by technology revolutions and changing divisions of labor, complexity can be reduced by using cloud native technology, which reflects IT progress.

First, Docker decouples applications from the runtime environments: The loads of many business applications can be containerized, and containerization makes applications agile, migratable, and standardized. Second, Kubernetes decouples resource orchestration and scheduling from underlying infrastructure: Application and resource control is simplified, and container orchestration improves the efficiency of resource orchestration and scheduling. Third, the service grid technology represented by Istio decouples service implementation from service governance capabilities. In addition, Alibaba Cloud provides diverse development tools (such as APIs and SDKs) for integrating third-party software. This opens up extensive possibilities for cloud ecosystem partners. Such layered technology architecture has advanced the division of labor and significantly accelerated technical and business innovation.

Alibaba Cloud believes that cloud native technology can support Internet-scale applications, accelerate innovation, allow low-cost trial and error, and avoid differences and complexity of underlying infrastructure. In addition, new computing approaches, such as service grids and serverless computing, make the entire IT architecture extremely flexible so that applications can better serve business purposes. You can build domain-oriented cloud native frameworks based on Alibaba Cloud Container Service, for example, Kubeflow for machine learning and Knative for Serverless Runtime.

Quickly Build a Cloud Native E-commerce Platform

Building off discussions during the SOFAStack Workshop at KubeCon China 2019, this article details how you can quickly build a cloud native e-commerce platform.

This article is based on the content of the SOFAStack Cloud Native Workshop event in KubeCon China 2019. This article will first go into the details of how cloud native emerged as a new and powerful alternative to a traditional centralized architecture, and then we will discuss how Ant Financial switched to cloud native for their architecture solution, Last, we will look at how you can quickly build a cloud native e-commerce platform like the one demoed at the SOFAStack Cloud Native Workshop at KubeCon.

On June 25, 2019, at KubeCon China 2019, Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), a world-renowned open-source organization, announced that Alibaba's Ant Financial has now become an official CNCF gold member, being at the second top tier. On hearing the news, representatives from Ant Financial said that they would continue to increase support for open-source projects, including Kubernetes, Service Mesh, Serverless, and secure containers, and would exert their own strength.

At this conference, Ant Financial developers also worked to build a Cloud Native e-commerce platform with hundreds of Cloud Native enthusiasts in just five hours. So you may be wondering how did they do it so quickly anyway?

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