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William Thomas
William Thomas

3 Cloud Architecture Secrets Your Cloud Provide...

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.

3 cloud architecture secrets your cloud provide...

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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 conditions. They instantaneously update small areas of a live, complex application, without a full redeployment. They individually scale services as needed.

The speed and agility of cloud native derive from many factors. Foremost is cloud infrastructure. But there's more: Five other foundational pillars shown in Figure 1-3 also provide the bedrock for cloud-native systems.

How would you design a cloud-native app? What would your architecture look like? To what principles, patterns, and best practices would you adhere? What infrastructure and operational concerns would be important?

A widely accepted methodology for constructing cloud-based applications is the Twelve-Factor Application. It describes a set of principles and practices that developers follow to construct applications optimized for modern cloud environments. Special attention is given to portability across environments and declarative automation.

While applicable to any web-based application, many practitioners consider Twelve-Factor a solid foundation for building cloud-native apps. Systems built upon these principles can deploy and scale rapidly and add features to react quickly to market changes.

In the book, Beyond the Twelve-Factor App, author Kevin Hoffman details each of the original 12 factors (written in 2011). Additionally, he discusses three extra factors that reflect today's modern cloud application design.

Designing and deploying cloud-based workloads can be challenging, especially when implementing cloud-native architecture. Microsoft provides industry standard best practices to help you and your team deliver robust cloud solutions.

The Microsoft Well-Architected Framework provides a set of guiding tenets that can be used to improve the quality of a cloud-native workload. The framework consists of five pillars of architecture excellence:

A microservices architecture moves your system from in-process to out-of-process network communication. In a distributed architecture, what happens when Service B isn't responding to a network call from Service A? Or, what happens when Service C becomes temporarily unavailable and other services calling it become blocked?

Dapr is a distributed, open-source application runtime. Through an architecture of pluggable components, it dramatically simplifies the plumbing behind distributed applications. It provides a dynamic glue that binds your application with pre-built infrastructure capabilities and components from the Dapr runtime. Figure 1-5 shows Dapr from 20,000 feet.

It's natural to hear the term container mentioned in any cloud native conversation. In the book, Cloud Native Patterns, author Cornelia Davis observes that, "Containers are a great enabler of cloud-native software." The Cloud Native Computing Foundation places microservice containerization as the first step in their Cloud-Native Trail Map - guidance for enterprises beginning their cloud-native journey.

Containerizing a microservice is simple and straightforward. The code, its dependencies, and runtime are packaged into a binary called a container image. Images are stored in a container registry, which acts as a repository or library for images. A registry can be located on your development computer, in your data center, or in a public cloud. Docker itself maintains a public registry via Docker Hub. The Azure cloud features a private container registry to store container images close to the cloud applications that will run them.

While several container vendors exist, Docker has captured the lion's share of the market. The company has been driving the software container movement. It has become the de facto standard for packaging, deploying, and running cloud-native applications.

While several container orchestrators exist, Kubernetes has become the de facto standard for the cloud-native world. It's a portable, extensible, open-source platform for managing containerized workloads.

You could host your own instance of Kubernetes, but then you'd be responsible for provisioning and managing its resources - which can be complex. The Azure cloud features Kubernetes as a managed service. Both Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and Azure Red Hat OpenShift (ARO) enable you to fully leverage the features and power of Kubernetes as a managed service, without having to install and maintain it.

Cloud providers offer a rich assortment of managed backing services. Instead of owning the service, you simply consume it. The cloud provider operates the resource at scale and bears the responsibility for performance, security, and maintenance. Monitoring, redundancy, and availability are built into the service. Providers guarantee service level performance and fully support their managed services - open a ticket and they fix your issue.

Cloud-native systems favor managed backing services from cloud vendors. The savings in time and labor can be significant. The operational risk of hosting your own and experiencing trouble can get expensive fast.

Cloud vendors provide APIs for you to communicate with their proprietary backing services. These libraries encapsulate the proprietary plumbing and complexity. However, communicating directly with these APIs will tightly couple your code to that specific backing service. It's a widely accepted practice to insulate the implementation details of the vendor API. Introduce an intermediation layer, or intermediate API, exposing generic operations to your service code and wrap the vendor code inside it. This loose coupling enables you to swap out one backing service for another or move your code to a different cloud environment without having to make changes to the mainline service code. Dapr, discussed earlier, follows this model with its set of prebuilt building blocks.

As you've seen, cloud-native systems embrace microservices, containers, and modern system design to achieve speed and agility. But, that's only part of the story. How do you provision the cloud environments upon which these systems run? How do you rapidly deploy app features and updates? How do you round out the full picture?

Tools like Azure Resource Manager, Azure Bicep, Terraform from HashiCorp, and the Azure CLI, enable you to declaratively script the cloud infrastructure you require. Resource names, locations, capacities, and secrets are parameterized and dynamic. The script is versioned and checked into source control as an artifact of your project. You invoke the script to provision a consistent and repeatable infrastructure across system environments, such as QA, staging, and production.

Using AWS, you will gain the control and confidence you need to securely run your business with the most flexible and secure cloud computing environment available today. As an AWS customer, you will benefit from AWS data centers and a network architected to protect your information, identities, applications, and devices. With AWS, you can improve your ability to meet core security and compliance requirements, such as data locality, protection, and confidentiality with our comprehensive services and features.

AWS allows you to automate manual security tasks so you can shift your focus to scaling and innovating your business. Plus, you pay only for the services that you use. All customers benefit from AWS being the only commercial cloud that has had its service offerings and associated supply chain vetted and accepted as secure enough for top-secret workloads.

Extend the benefits of AWS by using security technology and consulting services from familiar solution providers you already know and trust. We have carefully selected providers with deep expertise and proven success securing every stage of cloud adoption, from initial migration through ongoing day to day management. Choose from our AWS Partner Network (APN), a global program of Technology and Consulting Partners many of whom specialize in delivering security-focused solutions and services for your specific workloads and use cases. APN Partner solutions enable automation and agility and scaling with your workloads. Easily find, buy, deploy, and manage these cloud-ready software solutions, including software as a service (SaaS) products, in a matter of minutes from AWS Marketplace. These solutions work together to help secure your data in ways not possible on-premises, with solutions available for a wide range of workloads and use cases.

Extend the benefits of AWS by using security technology and consulting services from familiar solution providers you already know and trust. We have carefully selected providers with deep expertise and proven success securing every stage of cloud adoption, from initial migration through ongoing day to day management.

APN Partners offer hundreds of industry-leading security solutions that help customers improve their security and compliance. The scalability, visibility, and affordability our partners inherit with the cloud enables them to create world-class offerings for customers. Learn about products and solutions pre-qualified by the AWS Partner Competency Program to support you in multiple areas, including: infrastructure security, policy management, identity management, security monitoring, vulnerability management, data protection, and consulting services.

These products complement existing AWS services to help you deploy a comprehensive security architecture and a more seamless experience across your cloud and on-premises environments. To learn more about the NIST framework and our Cybersecurity Partners, click here. In addition, refer to our Security Solutions in AWS Marketplace for a broad selection of security offerings from hundreds of independent software vendors. 041b061a72

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