Mary Johnston Turner, research vice president for the Future of Digital Infrastructure — Agenda at IDC says most organizations globally expect to rely on interconnected, hybrid, and multi-cloud strategies for digital infrastructure in the coming years.
In Asia, we are already observing the hosting of business applications and data in the cloud becoming the norm for many organisations. As the trend continues, these same organisations will have to decide whether they can continue to run applications originally designed to run on traditional on-premises infrastructure or to optimise these to run in the cloud.
Gartner defines cloud-native as something created to leverage or implement cloud characteristics optimally. Such applications share the same cloud characteristics including scalability and elasticity, shared, metered by use, service-based, and ubiquitous because they are built from the ground up as internet technologies.
Vishal Ghariwala, senior director and CTO for Asia Pacific at SUSE, explains why organisations pursue cloud-native initiatives and how they do so cost-effectively when the mandate is to continue operating in a hybrid environment.
“Cloud native initiatives are focusing on how customers design, build, and operate applications that can fully leverage the advantages of cloud computing,” the SUSE executive explains.
He says cloud native initiatives can include how customers can adopt microservices-based architecture for applications, or how to migrate traditional on-premises workloads to applications that can run on cloud environments.
It can also include managing the container application landscape by leveraging a container management platform and incorporating the best practices of development, security, and operations as part of the overall software development methodology.
“All cloud native is generally a hybrid cloud approach and cloud-native initiatives. They go very well hand in hand. The hybrid approach allows you to take advantage of the high availability, scalability, cost efficiency, and security of a public cloud,” he explains.
Ghariwala adds that the approach enables organisations to retain control over private, sensitive data and applications by keeping them on-premises.
“If you want to reap the benefits of the hybrid approach, you should shift how you build and deliver software. For example, for new and existing applications, you can use a microservices architecture combined with container technology to ensure that you can incorporate high availability, scalability, and security at a very granular level, compared to your traditional, monolithic architectures,” Ghariwala shares.
He adds that this will also help enterprises drive cost efficiencies on the cloud.
Boosting cloud interoperability and adaptability
Ghariwala says boosting interoperability and adaptability is achievable and shares three strategies.
“First and foremost, utilise open-source technologies backed by principle. When you have a principle, you can secure the assurance from a support angle for the technologies used. A principal vendor will also ensure good collaboration across a healthy cloud, native ecosystem,” he shares.
He also recommends avoiding vendor lock-in and selecting solutions from various vendors for better flexibility. Ghariwala also highlights avoiding software concentration by not heavily relying on a limited number of software solutions from vendors for different technology needs.
“For example, a company suddenly declares bankruptcy, goes out of business, or gets acquired by another vendor who has a completely different strategy for the company. Not being concentrated on a few companies will mitigate risks of potential issues or disruptions associated with a specific solution or vendor,” he explains.
“When it comes to security, it is never-ending in terms of what needs to be done, but I have observed two things that are becoming very popular and also addressed some of the security concerns that we see in the market today,” Ghariwala says.
He says it is crucial to keep an inventory of all the software components, including software libraries, application frameworks, and generated codes across the entire software supply chain within an organisation.
“Develop a comprehensive understanding of the software compass, composition, and all the different libraries, packages, and frameworks you are using so that you can quickly and accurately remediate potential vulnerabilities,” Ghariwala says.
The SUSE executive also suggests implementing runtime protection for cloud applications.
“Many companies may already be using vulnerability scanners throughout the container lifecycle. However, such scanners are only effective against known vulnerabilities. That means they will be exposed to the attacks,” he warns.
“Cloud native is here to stay for at least the next decade. The challenge here is not how successful you will be but how effective you will be in unlocking the value of cloud-native initiatives,” he says.
Ghariwala says organisations should be fostering a cultural shift that embraces DevOps principles such as collaboration, failing fast, and automation. Further, he says it is imperative to prioritise security concern considerations from the very beginning.
"Unlike the old days of developing applications, security should not be treated as an afterthought."Vishal Ghariwala
“Most important, in my opinion, ultimately, the success of any initiative lies in the people. Organisations should invest in developing people because that will ensure that you have team members with the right skills, expertise or experience and will also increase retention and drive overall loyalty towards the organisation.”
Click on the player to hear Ghariwala talk about C-Suite strategies to unlock the value of Cloud Native initiatives:
- Define for us what SUSE means by cloud-native initiatives.
- Given that the observable trend in APAC is to take the hybrid approach, why would an enterprise pursue cloud-native initiatives?
- What strategies can IT leaders employ to foster innovation amidst a highly distributed and heterogeneous cloud-native IT landscape?
- A Forrester-HashiCorp study revealed that in Asia Pacific organisations find a shortage of cloud skills, as a major barrier to pursuing multi-cloud strategies.
- Is this IT talent shortage real in Asia?
- Within mission-critical, end-to-end cloud-native architecture, what are the issues CIOs/HR leaders find as a struggle in identifying, recruiting, and retaining these particular talents?
- With technology evolving rapidly, how can IT leaders boost the interoperability and adaptability of their cloud-native solutions?
- In light of rising security breaches, what can IT leaders do to enhance the security of their cloud-native solutions?
- It's 2024, what are your top 3 recommendations for how C-Suite leaders can unlock the value of Cloud-Native initiatives?