In today’s highly competitive business sector pace and user experience decide who wins or who fails.
Robust and complex monolithic solutions are things of the past, while a more agile, and modern approach is available for those organizations that want to stay on top.
Microservices are getting more and more traction, as they are helping enterprises adapt to the rapidly changing business environment with their granularity and flexibility. When using microservices, organizations can break a system down into smaller parts so that they are easier to scale, more cost-effective, reusable, and not language specific.
Many enterprises are aiming for the benefits of 100% Cloud Native applications, though they might be overwhelmed by the magnitude of starting a project like this. What is Cloud Native exactly? Which technologies companies need to execute this? What are the best practices? This is what we are going to explore in this article to make the transition process easier for your company.
What is Cloud Native?
Before deep diving into the required technological background of executing microservices, let’s take a step back and explore what Cloud Native really is and understand the whole concept.
Cloud Native is basically an umbrella term for the online-first approach that encompasses containers, service meshes, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative APIs. This approach is used by many of the world’s biggest organizations, like Walmart, Verizon, JP Morgan Chase, or Visa.
What is .NET Core?
Now that you know what you should aim for, and why, let’s jump into the details of the technologies you will need to use in order to create a flawlessly operating Cloud Native system.
.NET Core is a general-purpose and versatile framework that can be used to build a multitude of software, such as web-, mobile-, or desktop applications, microservices, or even IoT solutions. It is not limited to a single programming language, which is one of its biggest advantages over other frameworks.
What are the advantages of using .NET Core?
Apart from it being language-independent and supporting a variety of application types, it has other advantages that make .NET Core ideal for building a Cloud Native application.
● It’s cross-platform, which means that you are able to run it on Windows, macOS, or Linux. What is more, the assemblies and libraries can be imported to many different platforms. This makes it easy for your company to transfer your solution at any point in time from one platform to another or scaling it to a different resource, which is key when you want to adapt to the fast changing market demand.
● It’s open-source. One of the reasons why .NET Core is widely used is its open-source nature, as thousands of skillful developers are working on it to improve its functionality and fix existing bugs. As a result, this technology is agile, enabling developers to integrate emerging best-practices and real-world use cases. According to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), .Net Core was among the top 30 highest velocity open-source projects in 2017, as it had over 28.000 commits from the community within a year.
● It has increased security. With hackers lurking around the corner throughout the internet, application security couldn’t be more important for any enterprise. Luckily .NET Core has a wide range of authentication and authorization solutions and prevention mechanisms, like DataProtection API, Secret Manager, Azure Key Vault Provider, or the ASP.NET Core Identity.
● Moreover, .NET Core is modular, flexible, and easy to deploy, which makes it ideal for containerization. It works flawlessly with Docker and Azure Kubernetes that we will explore in the following segments.
What is Docker?
Docker is a technological solution that enables developers to package up an application with all of its libraries, configuration files, and its dependencies and deploy it as one package, called a container. Docker uses operating system virtualization to make this containerization process happen, instead of running the program on virtual machines, which makes each package easy to distribute and manage.
Docker is used by global organizations like Spotify, PayPal or ING. In 2020, the enterprise counts a total of 130 billion pulls on the Docker Hub, and a total of 5 million Hub users. Moreover, 451 Research estimates the overall value of the application containerization market to reach $3.4 billion in 2021.
This growing attention is justified by the significant positive impact this technology has on development processes and the production environment, as using Docker reduces costs and saves time for the developer team.
What are the benefits of using Docker?
Cutting costs is one of the most important advantages. Docker helps organizations reduce the number of used servers and the costs and resources needed to maintain them. This eventually results in a higher Return on Investment (ROI) that is valued by all enterprises.
Standardizing the infrastructure is key to increase the productivity of all people working across the company. Docker not only helps the developer team to find, analyze, and fix bugs but also enables them to focus on other crucial projects, like customer-, or in-house feature requests.
Portability across different types of environments and platforms is one of the most pressing reasons why organizations choose containerization. As Docker containers are able to run on a range of infrastructures, starting from virtual machines, data centers, through on-premise solutions to public cloud, it makes development and deployment a lot faster and easier. Moreover, Docker containers can function on most cloud instances, if the host operating system supports Docker, while consistently providing similar functionality.
Continuous development and testing are smoother with Docker. This technology has been developed to handle configurations and dependencies internally, meaning that programmers can use these containers starting from the development process until the end of production. If fixes or code upgrades are required, developers can test their code, then deploy them on all existing containers swifter and easier than before.
.NET or .NET Core? Which one should I use with Docker?
Even though the characteristics of .NET Core make it an ideal fit for containerization, such as flexibility, modularity, and its lightweight nature, there are some use cases when it is better to use the .NET Framework instead of .NET Core.
- Simplifying the deployment of your existing .NET application with Docker, but we recommend you use .NET Core if you are planning to further extend the .NET application.
- When certain NuGet packages need to run on Windows and they don’t support .NET Core.
- When you or your team want to use .NET technologies that are not available for .NET Core, such as ASP.NET Web Forms, WCF services, or Workflow-related services.
- When you are planning to use a platform or an API that doesn’t support .NET Core.
What is Kubernetes?
Kubernetes is an open-source container-orchestration solution, which has been designed with the purpose of automating app deployment, scaling, and management, which ultimately enables developers to create applications faster without any loss in code quality. Kubernetes is most of the time used to develop and maintain microservice-based architectures coupled with Docker because they form a complete ecosystem with their feature sets addressing the most common concerns around Cloud Native applications.
Sumo Logic’s Continuous Intelligence Report shows AWS customers’ growing rate of adopting Kubernetes, which has increased by 6% only in a year that demonstrates how swiftly this solution is getting traction around the world.
What is more, according to the 2019 research of RightScale, Azure adoption has now reached 85% of AWS adoption, up from 70 percent last year.
What are the benefits of using Kubernetes?
● Using Kubernetes can significantly decrease deployment time, and increase development efficiency, which eventually shortens the time it takes to market the service. This technology enables CTOs to divide their developer team into smaller, highly specific professional teams, who are only working on one microservice. This approach minimizes the amount of cross-team communication, thus speeds up development time. Kubernetes also allows IT teams to manage robust applications with the use of many containers a lot more efficiently.
● Large enterprises can drastically cut IT operational costs with Kubernetes because this solution packs up the apps taking into consideration the available cloud or hardware resources, while it tightly arranges containers in order to optimally use the available resources. For example, Pinterest uses 30% less instance-hours/day than what they did before Kubernetes.
● Kubernetes enables IT teams to seamlessly migrate on-premise solutions into the cloud using a simpler, predefined course of actions. The reason of online-first transformation doesn’t matter, let it be changing to another host, or platform, or refactoring the whole application to meet the altering needs, Kubernetes can help on the way.
● One of the biggest concerns of IT companies when transferring from one solution to another is service availability. Luckily Kubernetes allows companies to roll out updates without downtime, and if coupled with the public cloud solutions of the most popular vendors, the application can reach predictable stability with high uptime.
As user experience is getting more and more important in the online space, microservice-based applications became the most feasible means to comply with the high user- and in-house expectations. In order to create Cloud Native apps that fulfil these swiftly changing demands, IT teams need to use technologies that shorten development-, testing-, and deployment time, which at the same time, increase their efficiency, and cut costs for the organization.
Cloud Native apps developed with the help of .Net Core (or in some special cases .Net Framework), Docker, and Kubernetes are the modern technologies that enable enterprises to obtain these goals.
After reading the article, you have all the necessary pieces of information in your hands to scale your application to the next level. By choosing the above-mentioned solutions, your business can enjoy the advantages of all, which will not only result in the swift escalation of your solution’s quality and customer satisfaction but in the overall bottom line of your company.