Cloud Guest The next big thing: Cloud-native application services December 3, 2012 8:00 PM Jeremy LaTrasse Cloud solutions are today’s badge of honor. Executives who can solve an organization’s challenges through cloud solutions are heroes because they save their company countless man-hours, liberate IT resources, enable workforces scattered around the globe, and help save their company money. What’s a company’s sales force without Salesforce? How many organizations leverage IaaS applications and services to enable their IT and development projects? The cloud has been offering organizations robust tool sets in the form of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS for years. (Learn more about what IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS really mean.) It should come as no surprise that moving business solutions and core functionality into the cloud has had varied support and fans. Not all applications are built alike, and too much of what passes as cloud applications in today’s world are nothing more than “land” based applications and services with cloud “wrappers” around them. Still, according to a North Bridge Venture Partners 2012 survey on cloud computing, 55 percent of CIOs plan on increasing spending on SaaS. Marry that metric with the 50 percent of respondents who believe cloud applications will be disruptive and transformative to their business, and you see both trajectory and immense velocity in the adoption of cloud services. The problem with cloud applications, until now, has been a dependency for any given cloud application on a specific hosting provider’s infrastructure. With this reliance, cloud applications are limited to the underlying features and capabilities of that particular hosting provider. In addition, the reliance on a single hosting provider can become a costly proposition due to vendor lock-in. That’s why many companies are shifting to cloud-native providers: Companies whose services have been built, from the ground up, to run on cloud applications. Cloud-native application providers solve specific business challenges without pigeonholing an organization into having to take on solutions that don’t measure up or are not best-of-breed. This new breed of cloud-native applications: Provide pinpoint accuracy for specific business challenges Are applicable across an entire organization and enable unique business units Liberate scarce resources to be deployed elsewhere Unite distributed global teams with new functionality and collaborative resources Save countless dollars and man hours Ensure ongoing normal operations through the natural redundant nature of the cloud This is the beauty of the cloud. This is its inherent elegance and the direction of tomorrow’s IT solutions. What does it mean to build truly cloud-native applications? It means utilizing the native elasticity, flexibility and redundancy of the cloud as a core feature of your application. Cloud-native applications can live in multiple clouds and across multiple providers. Applications built in the cloud are not tied to any single hardware stack. Because they are built independently of the hardware that run them, they can be enabled and spun up to meet scaling challenges and demands on the fly and in real time. In addition to performance benefits, 53 percent of IT professionals believe IT becomes more manageable thanks to the cloud, according to that NBVP survey cited above. Even data and privacy experts rejoice at the idea of cloud-native applications that can be launched and leveraged within the geographical boundaries of a sovereign nation in order to conform to the strictest European data regulations without having to be tied to physical hardware in that country. Cloud-native applications are taking the fundamentals that we’ve all come to know and rely on and improve upon them by decoupling them from dedicated hardware and creating schemas driven by software. Jeremy LaTrasse is the CEO and co-founder of Message Bus and was a co-founder of Twitter, where he was director of operations. Jeremy plays a crucial dual role in shaping the business and technical direction of Message Bus, a pioneer of cloud-based infrastructure for email, mobile and social messaging. He has been working with technology companies for the past 17 years. He is currently an advisor at Square and an investor of Lift.do, SightGlass Coffee and Webshots.