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Ahmed Atef
Ahmed Atef

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Defining Cloud-Native Apps (And Why You Should Care)

We all know what Cloud Computing means, But what about “native”?

According to Merriam-Webster, “native” can be defined as “inborn, innate”. So, cloud-native apps can roughly be identified as software that was born in the cloud; applications that were designed from the very beginning to live on the cloud. But, this raises the expected question: what does a cloud-native application do differently to a traditional; non-cloud-native one? To answer this question, you need to be aware that running a traditional application on an infrastructure that you don’t own is a risky action.

Why Running Non-Cloud-Native Applications On The Cloud is Risky?
By not “owning” the infrastructure, we mean you don’t have access to the data-centers on which the machines are hosted, you cannot make decisions as to which hardware your application is physically using, whether or not there are hardware issues and how they are being managed, etc. The cloud provider does all the heavy lifting for you with a promise that your application will remain online even if an outage occurred on the provider's side. This promise is formally referred to as Service Level Agreement (SLA). With an SLA asserting a 99.95% availability, the provider guarantees that there’s only a 0.05% possibility that your application is down due to an outage on the cloud provider's side. Translating the percentage to an actual number reveals that you can expect your business to be offline for as much as 4 hours and 22 minutes per year.

If your application is mission-critical, then the above may entail thousands of dollars in losses, harmed company reputation and, in extreme cases, lawsuits raised against you. Seems that 99.95% is not so relieving a percentage after all. It’s all the cloud provider's responsibility; they should take more measures to give you higher availability levels. Experiencing an unplanned downtime while your application is running due to cloud infrastructure issues is not your fault, Or is it?

Let’s see how Netflix was able to survive a major outage that occurred on AWS (Amazon Web service), Netflix’s cloud provider.
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