Cloud-Native vs Monolithic Legacy VM in the Cloud

Pavan Bharath, Chief Security Architect at WiteSand

Although there are microservices-based architectures to implement cloud-native software, some vendors – particularly in networking and security – choose the “Lift & Shift” approach of moving their monolithic VM appliance into the cloud. This means systems from on-prem are forklifted and dropped into the cloud and referred to as a “cloud-delivered service”, as is often done with NAC, network monitoring, and other VM appliances.

This approach does not unlock the real value of the cloud which is known for its agility, scalability, and worldwide availability. 

Cloud Native Architecture

Building applications in a cloud-native architecture is not easy and requires re-architecting and rewriting the existing monolithic software stack into microservices. It entails redefining SDLC with infrastructure as code, CI/CD pipeline, and Shift Left Security. Design considerations also include providing visibility into logs, events, alerts and audits for continuous monitoring, and root cause analysis.

Benefits of Cloud-Native Approach

  1. Lower Costs – Autoscaling to meet the needs and precise allocation of resources allows OpEx optimization. You pay as you go. No CapEx costs. 
  2. Agility and Speed of Innovation – Delivers continuous, seamless updates to one or more microservices. Monolithic VM vendors typically provide new features and updates only once or twice per year. Technology moves faster than that. 
  3. High Availability – Worldwide availability and edge locations near customer sites provide low latency and high availability in support of stringent SLAs.
  4. Reliability – Deployment with redundant software configuration, data replication, no single point of failure, and continuous monitoring provide high reliability.
  5. Data Retention – Data is retained for a customer-configurable amount of time for troubleshooting, forensics, or anything else.
  6. Boundless Analytics – The cloud allows unlimited scale, storage, and AI/ML tools, for boundless analytics.
  7. API-First – Microservices architecture allows data-driven APIs, allowing easier integration with other enterprise tools.
  8. Security – Built with cloud-native security controls and security standards automation with zero-trust as underlying principle. 

Ultimately, cloud-native software delivers the most value to customers, ensuring the utmost flexibility of operations. Rapid updates, continuous innovation, and maximum uptime let the customer focus on their business, instead of the infrastructure. 

The only constant thing in the cloud is change. Failure to evolve and adapt puts organizations in peril of losing the competitive edge.

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