How cloud-native technologies are a springboard to innovation and business transformation

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Opinion Businesses agility, performance and flexibility are more necessary now than ever before — especially in these adverse, pandemic, times — in order to remain competitive and stay on course for growth. In order to remain dynamic and relevant, business transformation requires the implementation of increasingly complex and advanced applications that are able to adapt to changing circumstances, while offering innovative features and zero downtime.

Such applications however, are difficult to deploy with legacy and traditional technologies, which are typically far too limited and poorly distributed. As a result, cloud native technologies, commonly referred to as native clouds, have become the de facto way to build these mission-critical systems that can evolve rapidly to instantly absorb large workloads and develop new services as the market landscape – or situational backdrop – demands.

In terms of acceleration and innovation, the best example of what cloud native technologies can achieve, is reflected in the Global Shopping Festival, which is also known as 11.11 or Singles Day. Culturally rooted in the Asian tradition around the singles party, this event has become close to ‘Black Friday on steroids’, surpassing Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined in terms of commercial impact. Last year alone, 11.11 generated US$74.1 billion in gross merchandise value (GVM) between November 1 and 11. This breathtaking commercial achievement would not have been possible without the enormous application of – and reliance on – cloud native technologies.

The very architecture of cloud native solutions, based on microservices and containers, becomes one of the major differentiating advantages and assets of these applications. Such architectures make it possible to create critical and complex applications that remain easy to manage and evolve. For example, during the 11.11 festival, one of Alibaba’s clusters dedicated to critical business applications, saw its capacity increased to one million containers within one hour, without any interruption in service to absorb the load increase and ensure reliable and steady processing.

In the context of major commercial events, such as 11.11, the issue of data management and processing is obviously crucial. Data warehouses and cloud native databases provide unprecedented capacity to absorb huge volumes of data in an instant, which would be impossible with traditional solutions, even if they are hosted in the cloud. Administration times and the simple issue of license management would make this task insuperable. The use of cloud native technology also provides increased resilience and ensures business continuity.

In the age of the cloud, it is even more critical for enterprises to be able to leverage database as a service (DBaaS) offerings to enhance and support high-volume, high-velocity, high-intensity web applications, including e-commerce, online gaming and financial services. During 11.11, it is safe to say the cloud was pivotal in delivering an astronomical performance! 7.7 trillion lines of data and throughput of 4 billion items per second at peak were processed in real time, via cloud native databases and data warehousing solutions.

Cloud native technologies have a direct impact on the services that are made available to consumers. Through platform as a service (PaaS) offerings, it is possible to quickly and easily integrate technologies – such as AI and machine learning – in order to deploy innovative solutions for customers and employees. These very same solutions can also bring major changes and competitive advantage to companies.

In fact, the possibilities offered by AI and machine learning are made much more accessible via the cloud and they can all be integrated with other solutions to create even more engaging and unique experiences for consumers. For example, during international online shopping events, real-time multilingual translations can be deployed quickly to enhance the participant’s experience. It is also possible to accelerate the shopping experience with innovative virtual avatars, or to create 3D models of stores and products in virtual reality to enable remote visits while creating an engaging shopping experience. This type of offering, which is specific to cloud native solutions, provides developers with additional tools capable of maximising the impact of a company’s online commercial activities.

In conclusion, the cloud native model has become the source of many opportunities for companies that want to leverage speed, agility and innovation to stay ahead of the curve both today and tomorrow. Increasingly, it is a must-have approach, accessible to all companies, large or small, who want to sharpen their competitive edge. Thanks to cloud native, enterprise systems are evolving from simple enabler tools to strategic transformation engines. In this context, the use of cloud native solutions provides increased flexibility and performance for testing, trials and transformation. They become a real springboard to the future, to business transformation, and to new interactions and enhanced experiences for customers.

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Photo by Veronica Reverse on Unsplash

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