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Straight Talk Technology

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The key application development trends for 2018 are in cloud-native development. We use the term "cloud-native" to refer to a broad approach that combines agile, DevOps, microservices architecture (MSA), containerization of services, and use of the cloud. We also see it as a journey with the technologies representing milestone adoption points. As DevOps has become mainstream in the enterprise, albeit with DevOps culture still a struggle for many organizations, the move to microservices and away from monoliths is recognized as the way forward to build many internet-scale applications.

The need for a presence on the web and mobile devices is essential for most businesses today, and cloud-native development is a set of technologies invented by today’s hi-tech leaders for millions of customers using their services around the globe. It’s all about internet-scale applications. For many, the question is no longer whether a business should venture into cloud-native, but how. This change is being driven by competition from start-ups that can rapidly scale from zero to millions of customers using proven technology.

So how do many of the large enterprises with hundreds if not thousands of legacy, monolithic applications make the transformation to cloud-native computing? Ovum’s advice is for enterprises to start with culture, by ensuring the IT function and the broad organization is on board with agile and DevOps principles and values. Next, capabilities should be assessed, such as in-house skills availability, and if this is poor then adopting a PaaS approach should be considered. This will take many of the technical decisions away from staff so they can focus on delivering applications and value to the business. If the in-house development approach is taken, then the technology patterns emerging should be considered and used as a guide to which technologies to adopt.

A final word of caution into jumping into microservices: the use case must be clear. Microservices and containers create their own set of overheads and challenges, and there should be a well understood pain threshold for the monolith to justify a switch to microservices. Otherwise microservices will just introduce a different set of challenges.

Straight Talk is a weekly briefing from the desk of the Chief Research Officer. To receive this newsletter by email, please contact us.

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