Cloud Native vs. Cloud Enabled: Key differences in 2024

Updated July 25th, 2023
Cloud Native vs Cloud Enabled

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Cloud native refers to applications or systems that are designed and built specifically to work in the cloud environment from the very beginning. Cloud native applications make the best use of cloud services and features, which allows them to be highly flexible, scalable, and resilient.

On the other hand, cloud-enabled refers to applications or systems that were originally designed for on-premises environments but have been adapted to work in the cloud. While they can use some cloud services, they may not fully take advantage of the cloud’s benefits like true cloud native applications do.

Understanding the differences between them is essential for organizations embarking on their cloud journey. In this article, we will delve into the realm of cloud computing to decipher the key dissimilarities between cloud native and cloud enabled. By the end of it, you will gain valuable insights into how each approach influences application design, resource utilization, and overall cloud optimization.

Let’s untangle the intricacies of cloud native and cloud enabled to pave the way for smarter cloud decisions and strategies.

Table of contents #

  1. Cloud native vs cloud enabled: Defining the terms
  2. Difference between cloud native and cloud enabled
  3. Examples
  4. Summarizing it all together
  5. Related reads

Cloud native vs cloud enabled: Defining the terms #

What does cloud native mean? #

Cloud native refers to software applications or systems that are purpose-built and optimized to leverage cloud computing to its fullest extent. These applications are designed from the ground up with cloud-first principles in mind, embracing cloud-specific features such as microservices architecture, containerization, and auto-scaling.

Cloud-native solutions are inherently flexible, resilient, and scalable, taking advantage of cloud services for efficient resource utilization and rapid development cycles.

What does cloud enabled mean? #

Cloud enabled describes applications or systems that have been modified or adapted to function in a cloud environment, even though they were originally designed for traditional on-premises infrastructure. These applications are aware of the cloud and can make use of some cloud services, but their core design may not be fully optimized for the cloud.

They might lack the inherent flexibility and scalability of cloud-native solutions due to their legacy design.

What is the difference between cloud native and cloud enabled? #

The key differences between cloud native and cloud-enabled can be understood through the following aspects:

Design philosophy #

  • Cloud native: Cloud-native applications are purpose-built with the cloud in mind. They are designed to fully utilize cloud resources and services, taking advantage of features like auto-scaling, dynamic provisioning, and cloud-based storage.
  • Cloud enabled: Cloud-enabled applications are originally designed for traditional environments and have been adapted to work in the cloud. While they can access some cloud services, their design may not be optimized for cloud-specific benefits.

Architecture #

  • Cloud native: Cloud-native applications typically follow a distributed microservices architecture, allowing them to scale components independently and be more fault-tolerant.
  • Cloud enabled: Cloud-enabled applications may still follow a monolithic architecture, where all components are tightly integrated. This architecture can limit scalability and make maintenance more challenging.

Scalability and flexibility #

  • Cloud native: Cloud-native solutions are highly scalable and can dynamically adjust resources based on demand. They can efficiently handle varying workloads and adapt to changing requirements.
  • Cloud enabled: Cloud-enabled applications may have limited scalability, as their original design might not be optimized for dynamic resource allocation and elasticity.

Resource utilization #

  • Cloud native: Cloud-native applications are built to optimize resource usage, ensuring efficient utilization and cost-effectiveness in the cloud environment.
  • Cloud enabled: Cloud-enabled applications might not fully leverage cloud features for resource optimization, potentially leading to suboptimal resource usage.

Resilience and reliability #

  • Cloud native: Cloud-native applications prioritize resilience by employing practices like redundancy, automatic failover, and distributed systems design.
  • Cloud enabled: Cloud-enabled applications may lack built-in resilience for cloud-specific challenges, potentially affecting overall reliability.

In conclusion, cloud native and cloud enabled represent two different approaches to leveraging cloud technologies. Choosing between these approaches depends on factors such as development requirements, scalability needs, and the degree of cloud integration desired for the application or system.

Cloud native vs. cloud enabled: Examples #

To better illustrate the differences between cloud native and cloud enabled, let’s explore some examples of each:

Cloud native application example: E-commerce website #

A cloud-native e-commerce website is built from the ground up using cloud-native principles, taking advantage of cloud services to optimize its performance, scalability, and resilience.

  • Architecture: The website follows a microservices architecture, with separate services for user authentication, product catalog, shopping cart, and payment processing. Each service can be independently developed, deployed, and scaled.
  • Containerization: The application components are containerized using Docker, allowing for seamless deployment and scaling across multiple cloud instances.
  • Auto-scaling: The website automatically scales its resources based on traffic volume, ensuring optimal performance during peak shopping seasons.
  • Managed database: Cloud-native databases like Amazon RDS or Google Cloud SQL are used for storing product information and user data, providing high availability and automated backups.
  • Serverless functions: The website uses serverless functions to handle asynchronous tasks like sending confirmation emails or processing background jobs, optimizing resource usage and cost.

Cloud enabled application example: HR management system #

A cloud-enabled HR management system is an existing on-premises application that has been adapted to utilize some cloud services for improved functionality and cost-effectiveness.

  • Migration to cloud storage: The HR system moves its data storage from on-premises servers to a cloud-based storage service like Amazon S3 or Azure Blob Storage for easier data access and backups.
  • Cloud-based authentication: The application integrates with a cloud-based identity provider (IdP) such as Okta or Azure AD for user authentication, allowing single sign-on (SSO) across multiple cloud applications.
  • Cloud-based email service: The system shifts its email services from on-premises email servers to a cloud-based service like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365, enhancing email reliability and reducing maintenance efforts.
  • Load balancer for redundancy: The application deploys a cloud load balancer to distribute incoming traffic across multiple instances, ensuring better availability and fault tolerance.
  • Hybrid Cloud Approach: Some components of the HR system remain on-premises, while others leverage cloud services. For example, payroll processing might still occur on local servers while utilizing cloud-based document storage.

In summary, cloud native applications are purpose-built for the cloud, fully leveraging cloud services and architectural patterns. On the other hand, cloud enabled applications are existing systems that have been adapted to use some cloud services, but they might not be fully optimized to harness the full potential of the cloud environment.

Summarizing it all together #

In conclusion, the key differences between cloud native and cloud enabled applications lie in their design philosophy, architectural approach, scalability, resource utilization, resilience, and development considerations.

Cloud native applications excel in fully utilizing cloud benefits, while cloud enabled applications represent a transitional step towards cloud adoption but might not fully embrace the cloud’s potential. The choice between the two depends on specific business requirements, goals, and the level of optimization desired for cloud-based solutions.

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