Cloud-native architecture is a unique approach to developing, designing, constructing, and running applications in an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) architecture. It integrates new operational tools with orchestrators, continuous integration, and container engines, among other services.

What is Cloud-Native Architecture?

Cloud-native architecture is an architecture or system that has been built specifically to run in the cloud2. It takes full advantage of the cloud computing model. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation provides the official definition:

“Cloud-native technologies empower organizations to build and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments such as public, private, and hybrid clouds. Containers, service meshes, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative APIs exemplify this approach. These techniques enable loosely coupled systems that are resilient, manageable, and observable. Combined with robust automation, they allow engineers to make high-impact changes frequently and predictably with minimal toil.”

Cloud-native architectures have the benefit of more flexibility over legacy systems that were built to run on a particular hardware infrastructure. These legacy systems may be difficult to migrate to the cloud later.

Principles of Cloud-Native Architecture

At Google Cloud, they often throw around the term ‘cloud-native architecture’ as the desired end goal for applications that you migrate or build on (GCP). Here are five principles of cloud-native architecture that will help to ensure your designs take full advantage of the cloud while avoiding the pitfalls of shoe-horning old approaches into a new platform:

Design for automation: Automate the creation of the infrastructure, together with updates to it.Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD): Automate the build, testing, and deployment of the packages that make up the system.Automate processes: Strive to automate processes like canary testing and rollback.The Pillars of Cloud Native

The speed and agility of cloud native derive from many factors. Foremost is cloud infrastructure. But there’s more: Five other foundational pillars also provide the bedrock for cloud-native systems.

Benefits of Cloud-Native Architecture

A well-architected cloud native system should be largely self-healing, cost efficient, and easily updated and maintained through Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD). For instance, provisioning a replacement server can take weeks in traditional environments, whereas in the cloud, it takes seconds—your application architecture needs to take that into account.


Cloud-native is about speed and agility. Business systems are evolving from enabling business capabilities to weapons of strategic transformation that accelerate business velocity and growth. It’s imperative to get new ideas to market immediately. At the same time, business systems have also become increasingly complex with users demanding more. They expect rapid responsiveness, innovative features, and zero downtime. Performance problems, recurring errors, and the inability to move fast are no longer acceptable. Your users will visit your competitor.Cloud-native systems are designed to embrace rapid change, large scale, and resilience3. Here are some companies who have implemented cloud-native techniques. Think about the speed, agility, and scalability they’ve achieved:

Netflix: Has 600+ services in production. Deploys 100 times per day3.

Uber: Has 1,000+ services in production. Deploys several thousand times each week3.

WeChat: Has 3,000+ services in production. Deploys 1,000 times a day3.

As you can see, Netflix, Uber, and WeChat expose cloud-native systems that consist of many independent services. This architectural style enables them to rapidly respond to market conditionsThey instantaneously update small areas of a live complex application without a full redeployment

They individually scale services as needed.

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