Cloud-Native vs Cloud-Enabled – Are You Using the Right Term?

Cloud applications are the talk of the town. Many times, we come across terms like cloud-native applications and cloud-enabled applications. For starters, few people use both the terms interchangeably. But there lies a blurred line difference between the two. So, what exactly is the difference between cloud-native and cloud-enabled? Why it is so important? Let’s find out!

To start with, let’s have a look at what the analyst community is saying about the cloud applications. As per a research report by IDC, by 2022, 90% of all new apps will feature microservices architectures that improve the ability to design, debug, update, and leverage third-party code, 35% of all production apps will be cloud native.

Now the microservices architecture is the one which is used by cloud-native applications. In other words, these are the applications which are born in the cloud; made as microservices packaged in containers and are deployed in the cloud. So, surely the future belongs to cloud-native applications. So, what are cloud-enabled applications then?

Cloud-enabled is relatively an older term being used by the enterprises for a long time. These cloud-enabled applications are made in house in a static (on-premises) environment and are a typical legacy or traditional enterprise software enabled for the cloud functioning.

While cloud-native applications are made on a microservices architecture (known as micro-services) that are designed as an independent module to serve a particular purpose, cloud-enabled applications are made on legacy infrastructure systems where each module is dependent on each other. These are generally static and making upgrades to such an application means making changes to the whole of it.

The cloud-enabled applications were of great use in the older times when there was a limit on the data usage. Today, the enterprises are competing in the digital age. Every enterprise has heaps of data which needs to be analysed for concrete information for further decision making. Cloud-native applications are needed to cater to such requirements as they are dynamically orchestrated and supports full-scale virtualisation through harnessing the complete power of a cloud. In other words, the recent emergence of these cloud-native applications is the reason the enterprises are embracing digital transformation in their day to day operations.

To proceed further let’s see the main point of difference between cloud-native and cloud-enabled –

1. Origin –

Cloud-native applications are indigenous to the cloud. As described earlier, they are built in the cloud and deployed in the cloud, truly accessing the power of cloud infrastructure.

Cloud-Enabled applications are generally made in house using on legacy infrastructure and are tweaked to be made remotely available in the cloud.

2. Design –

Cloud-native applications are designed to be hosted as multi-tenant instances (microservices architecture)

Cloud-enabled applications are made on in house servers, hence they don’t have any multi-tenant instances.

3. Ease of Use –

Cloud-native applications are highly scalable, real-time changes can be made to the individual modules without causing disruptions to the whole application

Cloud-enabled applications require manual upgrades causing disruption and shutdown to the application

4. Pricing –

Cloud-native applications require no hardware or software investments as they are made on the cloud and are generally available on the licensee, thus relatively cheaper to use

Cloud-enabled applications are generally costlier as they require infra upgrades to accommodate the changing requirements.

5. Implementation –

Cloud-native applications are easily and quickly implemented as there is no need for hardware or software configurations.

Cloud-enabled applications need to be customised for the specific installation environment

The above points showcase the clear-cut edge cloud-native applications have over the cloud-enabled ones. This is mainly because the cloud-native applications prepare a strong foundation for the enterprise to operate in a fast-paced business environment. The changing business needs due to social-political or economic reasons can be quickly accommodated or implemented in the business applications build on cloud-native architecture.

One of the major applications of the cloud-native solution is in the integration platform. A typical small to mid-level enterprise deals with thousands and hundreds of applications across various departments such as procurement, logistics, transport, HR< finance, legal, sales, marketing etc. A seamless integration is required between these applications for propelling digital transformation.

Integration platform built on cloud-native architecture can connect many applications, systems and devices (either hosted on a cloud or on-premises) on a real-time basis. Such a hybrid integration platform is highly scalable and helps in business process automation.

Conclusion –

The digital disruption is here to stay. A cloud-native architecture prepares a strong foundation for the digital transformation journey of an enterprise as they inch closer to embrace digital technologies. The changing business needs are making a paradigm shift towards tailor-made cloud applications which are customised as per the desired business case. With a cloud-native architecture at their disposal, enterprises can surely focus more on their strategic needs, thus tapping the best of available business opportunities for further growth and prosperity.

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