Hosting a digital enterprise platform on a cloud-native setting sounds like a dream: more speed, agility, scalability, integration, and cost-savings. But is a cloud-native environment so different from a cloud-hosted one, and how do those differences manifest in workflow solutions for enterprise companies?  

Let’s look at what makes a cloud-native digital experience unique, and why the distinctions in capability are important.  

Cloud-native means more than just a digital platform  

Cloud-native describes not just an environment but an approach to design and deployment.  It is a more progressive use of cloud technology that goes beyond the previously accepted benefits — primarily storage and convenience — and features applications designed specifically to run on the cloud.   

By being “native” to the cloud — built for the cloud from day one — these applications have a scale and deployment velocity that can’t be easily matched by on-premise or even cloud hosted platforms.  Enterprise companies that adopt a cloud native system can tap into a digital experience built to thrive in a constantly evolving digital workspace where time matters more than ever.   

Cloud-native is not the same as cloud-hosted 

It could sound obvious, but it’s worth mentioning because understanding the differences between the two systems can help shine a light on the advantages of cloud-native infrastructure.   

Cloud-hosted applications are designed for on-premise environments but are deployed and managed from the cloud by a service provider.  This model was originally born from a desire to save money by shifting premises systems from a capital expense to an operating expense, saving enterprises the added financial burden of capital expense costs.   

A cloud-hosted system is a compromise which combines some aspects of cloud storage and management with legacy systems of security, maintenance and infrastructure.  Cloud-hosted services, however, can still be bogged down by clunky and time-consuming updating protocol and can be more difficult to scale as needed.  Whereas cloud-native services and applications are designed strictly for cloud environments and can respond accordingly.    

How containers and microservices speed up deployment and delivery 

Cloud-native applications are typically made up of microservices packaged in containers.  Sounds simple enough, but it gets a bit trickier from there.  Microservices are a form of software where applications are composed of single-functioning services, allowing for very granular and lightweight operation.  They can do their job without depending on or impacting other applications.  This allows developers to address issues to specific applications without affecting a wider range of operations.   

Containers, which are portable file systems that can hold everything to run an application, such as microservices, are similarly lightweight and isolated.  These two go well together because they are both designed with the intention to do one thing.    

This means that any problems or bugs that may arise within an app can be resolved faster and with greater specificity.  It also means updates can happen for a particular application without needing to wait on a larger system update or overhaul.  In this way cloud-native software can be constantly and specifically improving.   

The benefits of a fluid architecture  

Cloud-native applications and services are being adopted by more enterprises because of the adaptability and flexibility they provide.  The apps are developed to be agile, automated, and easily scaled up or down depending on need.   

The granular nature of microservices and the containers they are held in allows for a more constant and direct response to any issues that pop up, and a continuously updating system that’s more elastic than legacy systems.  

Cloud-native is also a less demanding system as far as infrastructure and maintenance when compared to cloud-hosted or on-premise platforms, which require a greater amount of time and money to service, troubleshoot and update.   

The end result is a digital experience that can match the speed of today’s business environment and keep pace as it inevitably moves faster. Digital experience transformation is more than just prettying up consumer-facing touchpoints. It can be a challenge to combine all the relevant content, information and experiences together in a way that is meaningful to your audiences. HCL Digital Experience is trusted for business-critical digital experiences for when organizations need a platform that is secure, always available, and can scale to meet the needs of the business. 

HCL Digital Experience now allows you to employ a hybrid, cloud-native architecture so administrators can provide new content production and headless API capabilities in existing on-prem environments. No migration required. We offer the broadest cloud-native platform support on the market with recently added support for Azure EKS, speeding up deployment by 10x.

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