Lightbend’s Jonas Bonér on How to Minimize Cloud Native Complexity. Cloud providers will manage complexity and leave developers to focus on business logic. Think of it not as abstraction but as being opinionated.
At its heart, going cloud native is about managing complexity.
“Ten years ago, distributed systems were mainly the domain of academia and a few big companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon,” Akka framework creator and Lightbend Chief Technology Officer Jonas Bonér said. “Now the move towards multicore systems, cloud infrastructure, big data platforms and microservices is forcing developers into the distributed world whether they like it or not.”
That means developers have to think about problems they never had to consider when writing monolithic applications that run on a single core on a single node; like what to do when network problems prevent components from talking with each other, or how to handle node failures.
Organizations are only just beginning to really wrestle with the issue. A recent survey conducted by Lightbend of over 1,000 developers and IT decision-makers found that the majority of respondents believed that either utilizing Kubernetes and containers (34.5%) or moving to a cloud infrastructure provider (23.8%) were the most important aspects of going cloud native. In other words, most are thinking more about cloud infrastructure than they are about writing applications that run well on that infrastructure.
But as Google developer advocate Kelsey Hightower put it: “There’s a ton of effort attempting to ‘modernize’ applications at the infrastructure layer, but without equal investment at the application layer, think frameworks and application servers, we’re only solving half the problem.”
The idea is that cloud providers will manage the deep complexities and leave developers to focus on business logic. You could also think of it not as abstraction but as being opinionated.
The other half of the problem is, in short, managing application-level complexity. “The standard approach to dealing with complexity is to hide it behind a leaky abstraction,” Bonér said. “For example, hide the fact that you’re speaking to a remote service, across the network.”
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