In the next normal, companies unable to unlock the cloud's full potential might not achieve the desired operational agility and velocity. 

From "cloud migrant" to "cloud-native"

Several firms still opt for a "lift and shift" strategy – which simply involves migrating their applications to a cloud infrastructure without any code modification. That makes firms cloud migrants. The approach makes sense for some decision-makers, as it causes minimal impact on customers and provides relief from critical concerns like outages [1]. The rest can be arranged later.

In doing so, however, they will not automatically reap the benefits that cloud infrastructure and systems have to offer. The migrated applications were developed adopting the traditional IT paradigm – meaning they are typically monolithic. Simply porting them to the cloud cannot magically endow them with the cloud's native features. Plus, monolithic enterprise applications are unable to keep pace with the unforeseen changes in customer patterns or business direction. 

But we are entering the next normal. Cloud services should not only revolve around the economies of scale. Instead, winners are those who can unlock the velocity and agility potentials that the cloud provides. That's why cloud-native is moving beyond the hype and into the mainstreamThe cloud-native market is extrapolated to reach US$ 1,880 million by 2023 at a healthy Compound Annual Growth Rate of 22.4% [2]Cloud-native means exactly what it sounds like. It is an approach in which everything is either born or designed first and primarily to run in the cloud, hence embracing rapid change, resilience and large scale. 


As a foundational pillar of cloud-native, a microservices architecture fuels the changing face of application development. By structuring applications as a package of loosely coupled services, each of which can be deployed in tandem with others or on its own, microservices can bolster continuous delivery and deployment. McKinsey identified using microservices as a critical step of pursuing an integrated IT operating model [3]. For instance, by employing an enterprise shift to microservices, Netflix is able to rapidly respond to market changes.


These days, it is no longer surprising to hear the concept containers in conversations mentioning cloud-native. Containers address the question of how to get the software to run reliably when transitioned from a computing environment to another. By encapsulating an application as a single executable package, containers offer the application a lighter-weight runtime, dependencies and libraries that enable it to run as a stand-alone environment capable of moving in and out of the cloud. Plus, by adding another layer of isolation between the host environment and applications, containers can boost the security of cloud-based applications. 

Before COVID-19, roughly 20% of developers already used container to deploy new applications and optimize new ones. Forrester predicted that nearly 30% of developers will use containers in the new normal, triggering a spike in global demand for cloud-native technology [4]

Closing thoughts

Going cloud-native can have substantial upsides but also requires large amounts of upfront investments in multiple years. Therefore, decision-makers should formulate clear strategies on how to embrace cloud-native and leverage to their advantages. 

Author Nguyen Dang Ha Phuong