Blog Cloud Native Azure Infrastructure Modernization

How Azure can help you modernise and go cloud native with containers?

App modernisation is the process of transforming existing applications to take advantage of the cloud native capabilities and benefits. In this article, we will take a further look at it and we address some important elements related to it.

Wesley Haakman

Author

Wesley Haakman Principal Azure Architect

Reading time 6 minutes. Published: 03 June 2024

Background

App modernisation can involve different strategies, such as rehosting, refactoring, rearchitecting, or rebuilding, depending on the needs and goals of each application. App modernisation is powered by cloud-native technologies that enable developers to create, deploy, and manage applications consistently and efficiently across different environments. Some of these technologies include containers, microservices, serverless, orchestration, DevOps, and observability solutions. Let’s explore them further, in this article!

What is 'Cloud Native' and why does it matter?

Cloud native is an approach to designing and developing applications that takes advantage of the cloud computing model. Cloud native applications are built to run on distributed, scalable, and resilient platforms that can handle dynamic changes and unpredictable demands. Cloud native applications are also designed to be portable, modular, and loosely coupled, which enables faster delivery, easier maintenance, and lower costs.

Cloud native is not just a buzzword, it is a strategic advantage for businesses that want to innovate and compete in the digital age. And with good reason, the benefits of cloud native applications include:

  1. Improved agility & speed: Cloud native applications can be deployed and updated faster, more frequently, and more reliably, thanks to automation, continuous integration and delivery, and microservices architecture.

  2. Enhanced scalability & performance: Cloud native applications can scale up and down on demand, without compromising quality or availability, thanks to load balancing, horizontal scaling, and self-healing mechanisms.

  3. Reduced complexity & risk: Cloud native applications can be easier to manage and secure, thanks to decoupling, modularity, and observability. Cloud native applications can also leverage the built-in security and compliance features of the cloud platform.

  4. Increased innovation & differentiation: Cloud native applications can enable faster feedback loops, experimentation, and learning, thanks to DevOps culture, agile methodologies, and user-centric design.

How can Azure help you to go cloud native with containers?

Containers are one of the key technologies that enable cloud native applications. Containers are lightweight, isolated, and standardized units of software that can run anywhere, from on-premises to the cloud, without requiring any changes to the code or the environment. Containers can help you achieve the goals of cloud native applications, such as portability, modularity, scalability, and performance.

Azure is a leading cloud platform that offers a comprehensive and integrated set of services and tools to help you build, run, and manage containerized applications. Azure supports multiple container technologies, such as Azure Container Instances (ACI), Azure Container Apps (ACA), and Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). Each of these technologies has its own use cases, benefits, and trade-offs, depending on your needs and preferences. Let’s briefly go through them:

  • Azure Container Instances (ACI): ACI is a service that allows you to run containers on Azure without having to manage any servers or infrastructure. ACI is ideal for running short-lived, stateless, and single-container workloads, such as batch jobs, testing, or prototyping. ACI is also a great option for integrating containers with other Azure services, such as Logic Apps, Event Grid, or Functions. ACI supports both Linux and Windows containers and offers per-second billing, automatic scaling, and integration with Azure Container Registry (ACR).

  • Azure Container Apps (ACA): ACA is a new service that allows you to run microservices-based applications on Azure using a serverless model. ACA is ideal for running event-driven, stateless, and multi-container workloads, such as web apps, APIs, or workflows. ACA supports both Linux and Windows containers and offers per-event billing, dynamic scaling, and integration with Azure Service Bus, Event Hubs, or Event Grid. ACA also provides features such as service discovery, routing, health monitoring, and configuration management.

  • Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS): AKS is a service that allows you to run Kubernetes clusters on Azure, with full control and flexibility. Kubernetes is an open-source orchestration system that allows you to manage complex, stateful, and multi-container workloads, such as microservices, data processing, or machine learning. AKS supports both Linux and Windows containers and offers per-node billing, manual or automatic scaling, and integration with Azure Monitor, Azure Policy, or Azure Active Directory. AKS also provides features such as load balancing, service mesh, ingress controller, and secrets management.

How to get started with Azure and containers?

If you want to transform your existing application into a cloud native application using Azure and containers, here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Assess your application: Analyze your application's architecture, dependencies, performance, and resource requirements, and identify the best container technology and service for your needs. You can use tools such as Azure Migrate or Azure Well-Architected Framework to help you with this process.

  2. Containerise your application: Convert your application's code and configuration into container images that can run on any platform. You can use tools such as Visual Studio Code, Docker Desktop, or Azure DevOps to help you with this process. You can also use Azure Container Registry to store and manage your container images securely and efficiently.

  3. Deploy your application: Deploy your containerized application to Azure using the chosen container technology and service. You can use tools such as Azure CLI, Azure Portal, or Azure Resource Manager to help you with this process. You can also use Azure DevOps or GitHub Actions to automate your deployment pipeline and enable continuous delivery.

  4. Monitor and optimize your application: Monitor and optimize your containerized application's performance, availability, and security on Azure. You can use tools such as Azure Monitor, Azure Advisor, or Azure Security Center to help you with this process. You can also use Azure App Configuration or Azure Key Vault to manage your application's settings and secrets.

Wrapping up

Azure is a powerful and versatile cloud platform that can help you go cloud native with containers. Azure offers a range of container technologies and services that can suit your different needs and preferences, such as ACI, ACA, and AKS. Azure also offers a rich set of tools and features that can help you containerize, deploy, monitor, and optimize your applications. By going cloud native with Azure and containers, you can unlock the benefits of cloud computing, such as agility, scalability, performance, and innovation.

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