As enterprises move towards cloud adoption, they often get caught up in a common yet entangling debate on cloud architecture: should they opt for cloud native or cloud agnostic?
If we were to consider their applicability, it is obvious that they are not competing but complementing architectures. Multiple use cases are, in fact, based upon getting the best out of both. While cloud native helps in scalability, cloud agnostic eliminates dependency on one single provider. Based on varying requirements, applications/workloads can be divided between the two to attain maximum agility from the cloud service provider, especially in multi- or hybrid cloud environments.
Before we dive in to discuss the advantages and setbacks of these cloud architectures, let us understand these approach better.
Cloud Native is similar to adopting a new culture, which is a paradigm shift from the traditional way of architecting and developing applications. The architecture usually relies on services and components tied to a cloud service provider, for example CloudWatch is used for monitoring with AWS, whereas GCP and Azure have their separate monitoring services.
Organizations looking to adopt a cloud native approach focus on speed-to-market and may need more agile, on-demand compute- and API-based development, continuous integration and delivery approaches that are supported in a DevOps culture.
The basic tenets of cloud native architecture are outlined below:
- Service-based architecture
- API-based design and communication
- DevOps principles
A cloud agnostic architecture is best suited for a multi cloud strategy as it leverages flexible architecture with a wide array of options, such as open source and proprietary tools, making it an added advantage for customization and flexibility. Unlike cloud native, the systems don’t rely on one single cloud provider. This isn’t a cost-effective solution but is a subcategory of cloud native, where applications transcend multiple platforms.
One of the most popular reasons for the rapid adoption of cloud agnostic strategy is the insurance against vendor lock-in. In case of discontinuation of services or sudden changes in the pricing structure of a particular provider, cloud agnostic enables the enterprise to make an easy switch that is favorable as per the evolving business landscape.
Different approaches. One Goal: Optimizing Cloud Architecture with a Mix and Match Approach
If organizations are to maximize benefits, their architects would have to choose an architecture depending upon factors such as workload/applicate state, system limitations, complexity of implementation, tech stack and cost effectiveness. For some, a good option would be to adopt a hybrid approach where some principles of cloud native can be leveraged within a cloud agnostic implementation, like using containerization and DevOps principles while keeping the deployment cloud agnostic.
Here is a quick comparison between the two:
Sometimes, even the best of intentions may go awry, especially if the options are confusing or compared in an either/or scenario. Rather, enterprises should assess the approaches depending upon applications, complexity and the approach best suited to their IT landscape.
Cloud-native and cloud-agnostic architectures should be seen as complementary to each other, balancing the other’s limitations. Before zeroing in on a cloud-native or cloud-agnostic approach, ensure your architects have weighed the advantages and setbacks that align with your long-term goals and cloud adoption roadmap.
At GS Lab, we enable our clients to define a cloud strategy best suited for their business requirements. With our 18+years of product engineering expertise and world class experience in over 130+ tools and technologies and a dedicated team of 1,600+ technocrats we are uniquely positioned to help you assess your IT architecture, cloud requirements and the best approach to enabling you on your cloud journey.
Read more about our cloud expertise here: https://www.gslab.com/case-studies
Co author/ contributor of the blog: Amandeep Litt | Senior Marketing Executive
Juzar Roopawala | Director of Engineering
He serves as Director of Engineering at GS Lab. With more than two decades of software services, product & solution development experience, Juzar heads a business vertical and leads a distributed team of product engineers. He has worked with multiple organizations in Identifying and Mapping technology to real-life use cases and is an active advocate of digital transformation practices