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Is there a difference?

While it looks like the terms are identical, at ZEN Software we make a distinction between the two terms. Googling for ‘Cloud Native’ returns the same result as for ‘Native Cloud’. Let’s imagine that Google cares more about keywords than keyword order. Even so: there is a difference when using the words in a specific order. Let’s see.

Cloud Native (computing)

Cloud-native computing is a software development approach that uses cloud computing to “build and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments such as public, private, and hybrid clouds”. Technologies such as containers, microservices, serverless functions and immutable infrastructure deployed via declarative code are common elements of this architectural style.

These techniques enable loosely coupled systems that are resilient, manageable, and observable. Combined with robust automation, they allow engineers to make high-impact changes frequently and predictably with minimal toil.

Frequently, cloud-native applications are built as a set of microservices that run in Docker containers and may be orchestrated in Kubernetes and managed and deployed using DevOps and Git CI workflows (although there is a large amount of competing open source that supports cloud-native development). The advantage of Docker containers is the ability to package all software needed to execute into one executable package. In addition, the container runs in a virtualised environment, which isolates the contained application from its environment.

Native (to the) Cloud

Native Cloud should be seen as ‘Native to this cloud’. While techniques like containers and orchestration via Kubernetes have open solid standards that can be implemented easily cross-Cloud. Serverless functions like AWS’s Lambda are tied to their cloud provider (AWS).

To specify, we are talking of a Cloud specific technology that (can or cannot be Cloud Native) we use the term Native (to the) Cloud.

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