At the end of March, our CEO and co-founder Alexis Richardson gave a keynote at CloudNativeCon + KubeCon Europe 2017 on what cloud native is, and why cloud native matters.

In the beginning

Cloud native began 10 years ago with Netflix and Heroku. Originally, everyone thought migrating to the cloud was insane. But it worked.

During his presentation, Alexis stressed that this 2013 presentation by Amazon Web Services is an absolute must-read. It goes into the origins of cloud native, focusing on how Netflix was able to become a successful, groundbreaking, cloud-native company through cloud migration.

But is it possible for anyone to become the next Netflix just by going cloud native? As Alexis states in his keynote, it’s all about making the right decisions along the way. And Netflix made a lot of right decisions.

Why cloud native? Speed, trust, and freedom

It’s no secret that cloud native has revolutionized software delivery. And the key to that revolution is speed, trust, and freedom. Cloud-native applications are fast, as proven by Puppet’s 2015 State of DevOps report and our own experimentation at Weaveworks. In fact, in 2015 the mean time to recovery of the fastest system was 168X faster than the slowest. A huge part of this speed is thanks to the increased adoption of cloud-native deployments.

At Weaveworks, we focused on the cloud-native speed of our own products. Instead of spending time on infrastructure, plumbing, and integration, we wanted to focus on the app–on the need for speed.

Additionally, we wanted the freedom to run it anywhere, not just on Amazon. Our software needed to be independent and scalable.

But, more than anything, we wanted to give our users choice. That’s the freedom that cloud-native software provides.

And finally, cloud native is about trust. If something goes catastrophically wrong, you need to be able to rebuild your system. You need to have trust in the software you’re using. This happened to us after an AWS outage. We were able to use the the config files, the source code control, Kubernetes, and Prometheus to get ourselves up and running.

We used architectural patterns as outlined by Adrian Cockcroft, and we found success. Those patterns include replication when we want high availability and the implementation of automation.

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s role

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) is working to help you make good decisions when moving to the cloud by hosting specific cloud-native projects. That’s why we need the CNCF, to give us guidelines on cloud native matters.

The CNCF focuses on education, promotion, and infrastructure. Their goal is to provide interoperability that is community-driven by providing toolkits you can trust in the long-term. These softwares are automated, stable, and packaged for easy deployment.

At Weaveworks, we’ve worked to improve both Prometheus and Kubernetes. See the full list of CNCF projects here.

Check out the full slides from Alexis presentation here, and make sure to watch the full video below!

Thank you for reading our blog. We build Weave Cloud, which is a hosted add-on to your clusters. It helps you iterate faster on microservices with continuous delivery, visualization & debugging, and Prometheus monitoring to improve observability.

Try it out, join our online user group for free talks & trainings, and come and hang out with us on Slack.