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The Ultimate Guide to Cloud-Native Architecture

Cloud-native principles are reshaping the software development industry. Learn how it is important for your business.

BairesDev Editorial Team

By BairesDev Editorial Team

BairesDev is the leading nearshore technology solutions company with 4,000+ professionals in 50+ countries representing the top 1% of tech talent.

10 min read

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What does it mean to be cloud native? What is the significance of this term, and why does it matter for your business? If your business is a software company, these are questions you may be asking yourself now. I am sure you have heard, or will soon hear, buzzwords like Software as a Service (SaaS) and Internet of Things (IoT), as they are very popular right now among software companies and their investors. These words all refer to different concepts, but what do they have in common? Well, they are all elements of the new generation of cloud services known as cloud-native architecture.

The principles of cloud-native architecture are being used by a majority of software companies now. In fact, cloud-native platforms will host nearly 95% of all new digital workloads by 2025, according to Gartner. This article will cover cloud-native architecture, its core principles, and how it could be beneficial to your business. You will also learn about the current use cases and examples of companies already utilizing cloud-native architectures for their digital products and solutions. 

What Is Cloud-Native Architecture?

Cloud-native architecture is a distributed systems architecture that uses microservices and containers to run software systems at scale. It is a combination of design principles, tooling, and technology that allows businesses to deliver applications faster, more efficiently, and with greater scalability. It enables companies to keep pace with the changing needs of their customers without the need for significant downtime due to infrastructure changes.

The philosophy behind cloud-native architecture is to build applications using services that are designed to be autonomous, scalable, and modular. This means the application comprises smaller parts that can be easily scaled up and down as needed. An example of an autonomous service would be a cloud data warehouse that can be scaled up or down depending on the demand for data. Autonomous services can also be updated without impacting the rest of the system. 

What Is the Difference Between Cloud Computing and Cloud Native?

Cloud-native is an architectural approach that uses containers and microservices for scalability, portability, and automation. Cloud computing and cloud-native architecture are not the same. 

The difference lies in the degree of automation and abstraction between the application layer and the underlying infrastructure. Cloud-native applications are designed to be distributed and highly scalable. They are generally built with containers such as Docker and Kubernetes for distributed systems technologies and have shifted the industry to adopt new ways of architecting applications. These new ways of designing software have enabled companies to achieve greater agility and scalability across their software stack. They are also designed to be portable, so they can be moved between public clouds, private clouds, bare metal, or even IoT devices. 

Why Is Cloud-Native Architecture Important for Your Business?

Cloud-native architecture has the great benefit of scalability, which is one of the most important aspects of any business. When your company can scale resources, it can accommodate more users and produce more goods without having to make any changes in its internal processes. This approach means that your business can better utilize its resources, making it possible to deliver products and services at a lower cost while increasing operational efficiency. 

You can also make your business more agile with the right cloud-native architecture. This agility makes it easier to innovate and adapt to the changing needs of your customers. If your company is able to react quickly to market changes, it will have a competitive advantage over other businesses that have trouble responding to the needs of their customers. The cloud-native architecture enables businesses to achieve this by making operations more efficient and reliable. 

With cloud-native architecture, businesses can spend less time managing infrastructure and more time focusing on their customers. Whether you’re an e-commerce company, a travel agency, an insurance provider, or any other type of business, cloud-native technologies can help you take full advantage of the latest digital technologies to remain competitive.

Cloud-native technologies are especially important for companies that have transformed themselves into digital businesses offering products and services that people buy online and use through mobile apps. This can include financial services, retail, healthcare, automotive, travel and hospitality, education, media and entertainment, and more.

What Are the Advantages of Cloud-Native Architectures?

Cloud-native architecture offers several advantages that can help your organization avoid spending valuable time and money on duplicative infrastructure costs. For example, using a centralized cloud-based platform will allow businesses to avoid the expense of maintaining multiple physical data centers. This is especially important for smaller businesses that don’t have the resources or technical expertise to manage their own data centers. We created a summary of the advantages listed in the table below.

Advantage Explanation
Scalable Software can easily handle an increase in demand without crashing. Cloud-native applications employ microservices, which are small pieces of code that do one thing. These pieces of code can be worked on independently and integrated with other microservices seamlessly. This makes it easy to scale the application as well as add or subtract functionality as needed. 
Highly Available The system remains online even if components fail. This means that if a piece of hardware fails, the application can simply shift the workload to another piece of hardware within the system. This makes it easy for companies to scale their software to meet the demand for their products and services.
Easy to Manage Quick and easy management makes it easy to deploy new software or changes in the system. This can help to improve the customer experience, which is one of the most important aspects of a business.
Improved Security With a single centralized platform for all critical systems, companies are able to implement tighter security measures, such as encryption and access controls, which can keep sensitive data safe from cyber attacks.
Minimize Downtime Cloud-native architecture helps reduce the risk of human error and IT failure. By implementing automated tools across all systems, organizations are able to reduce the chances of system errors that can lead to downtime and poor customer experience.

Principles of Cloud-Native Architecture

There are many different principles that go into cloud-native architecture. The most important ones for businesses to keep in mind are scalability, agility, distributed systems, portability, automation, and designing for failure. Let’s dive into the principles in more detail.


This is the ability to expand or shrink a system based on demand. Your application needs to be able to scale on demand. This means that when there is an increase in demand for your product, your application should be able to handle the additional workload. One example of this is an auto-scaling database that can detect if there are too many requests and should be scaled up to meet demand. This can be achieved through vertical and horizontal scaling. Vertical scaling is done by adding more resources to a single server, and horizontal scaling is done by adding more servers and distributing the workload across these servers.


This describes how easy it is to deploy new services or make changes to existing services. Ideally, systems should be so easy to change that it can be done by clicking a button in a UI, initiating a git push, or using a simple API call. For continuous optimization of your architecture, automated monitoring services are recommended to keep track of your system’s health, usage, and behavior.

Distributed systems 

These are systems where components are spread over multiple computers. In the context of software engineering, it refers to a computer system in which different parts are running on different computers. Cloud-native applications are distributed systems. This means that different microservices within the application are running on different servers. The goal of a distributed system is to break up functionality into smaller autonomous services in order to scale more effectively and become more fault-tolerant. Each service should be responsible for one specific task and have its own database. This also makes it easier to scale each individual service. 


Your application should be able to perform tasks automatically. This means that you should be able to configure your application to perform routine tasks without any human intervention, including automated deployment. Automated deployment is the process of automatically creating new instances of your application, bringing the new application online, and making the new application available to your users.

Design for failure

In order to prevent cascading failures, which would bring down an entire system, it’s important to design systems that can withstand failure. Businesses can do this by having redundant systems that can be easily scaled up when demand increases. Your application should be able to fail gracefully. This means that your application should be able to recover from failures without any manual intervention.

Cloud-Native Architecture Diagram

To understand how cloud-native applications work, it is important to have a basic understanding of how all the components work together. A cloud-native architecture is composed of three main layers: the application layer, the service layer, and the infrastructure layer. The application layer is where the business logic of the application resides. This layer also includes a user interface and a database. The service layer is where microservices are located. Microservices are small, discrete units of functionality that are written in a standard language. The infrastructure layer is where the cloud provider is located. This layer includes a container orchestrator that manages the placement of containers on the host machines.

Cloud-Native Architecture Use Cases and Examples

To fully understand cloud-native architecture, we can look at the example of Outlook.com, which is a cloud-native application. When Microsoft launched Outlook.com, it decided to use the SaaS model and deliver the service over the internet. In order to provide this service, Microsoft had to employ a number of new technologies and strategies.

First, it needed to use a scalable infrastructure that could handle large volumes of data, like the one that powers Bing. When building the application, Microsoft also decided to use modern programming languages and frameworks, like .NET Core and TypeScript. This helped the company to build a service that could easily scale up and down. Microsoft most likely utilized its Azure cloud services to create a cloud-native architecture to manage, design, and scale its Outlook application, making it easy to update when needed and to meet customer demands. 

Here are more examples of businesses that are using cloud-native architecture and applications. 

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) – They have been using a cloud-native approach since 2016. Now, with AWS Outposts, they are enabling customers to run their applications in a purely cloud-native way.
  • Airbnb – Their architecture consists of microservices with REST APIs that are built using Java and Scala. They also use Docker containers and AWS for hosting.
  • Google Cloud – They use Google Container Engine and Kubernetes for their cloud-native architecture. They also use open-source tools such as Prometheus, gVisor, and gRPC.
  • Netflix – They use AWS for its cloud-native architecture and are responsible for hosting and serving over 100 million members across 190 countries.

Note: Cloud-native architecture is not just limited to large enterprises. Many smaller companies are also adopting this architecture since it reduces operational costs, such as IT and DevOps costs. 

What Are the Benefits of Cloud-Native Apps?

A cloud-native application is a collection of small, interdependent services called microservices. These are software applications that are designed for the cloud. You can think of cloud-native apps as a combination of SaaS and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Cloud-native apps are designed to be scalable, reliable, and secure. It’s also easier for developers to create cloud-native apps because of the tools that are available for building them. Cloud-native apps are designed to run on various devices and operating systems. This makes it possible for people to use your app regardless of the device they use. Cloud-native apps can be integrated with other services like AI and machine learning. This enables you to scale your business without much effort.

What Are Cloud-Native Design Patterns?

Cloud-native design patterns are reusable modules that are found across various cloud-native applications. These design patterns are best practices that have been learned and proven over the years by many companies implementing cloud-native architectures. Some of the most common design patterns are Circuit Breaker, Bulkhead, and Repository. The Circuit Breaker pattern is used to prevent cascading failures. The Bulkhead pattern is used to limit the impact of an unhealthy service. Lastly, the Repository pattern is used to create a centralized data store.

What Does the Future Hold for Cloud-Native Apps?

As with any new technology, there are always people who think that it will not last. But history has shown that while many new technologies take time to be implemented widely, once they are, they become an essential part of our lives. As we can see, cloud-native architecture is here to stay. It has already become an essential part of today’s business world and is becoming increasingly important. This is partly due to the fact that the demand for cloud services is rising as companies start to adopt a more digital approach.


Cloud-native architecture is a modern way of building software applications that are designed for the cloud. It is an essential part of any organization looking to achieve digital transformation. It’s a complex concept, but once broken down, you’ll see how it’s not only beneficial but also necessary.

With the ever-increasing expectations of customers, organizations are constantly seeking ways to deliver products and services faster and at a lower cost. This can be achieved through cloud-native architecture by accelerating the organization’s ability to innovate, increase operational efficiency, and reduce costs.

If your organization invests in digital transformation, then investing in cloud-native architecture is critical. To do this, you must start with the end goal in mind and break down the complex concept into smaller, more manageable parts. First, you should understand the different principles of cloud-native architecture. Once you understand the principles, you can begin to break down which architectural patterns work best for your organization and how to implement these patterns. Then you’ll be on your way to enjoying the benefits of cloud-native architecture.


BairesDev Editorial Team

By BairesDev Editorial Team

Founded in 2009, BairesDev is the leading nearshore technology solutions company, with 4,000+ professionals in more than 50 countries, representing the top 1% of tech talent. The company's goal is to create lasting value throughout the entire digital transformation journey.

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