By Dan Shultz
The websites and online services we use require a certain technology environment and a number of software programs installed on it. when it comes to the technology environment, it could be a physical dedicated server, a virtual server, or a cloud-based server. Both virtual servers and cloud servers are created with computer virtualization technology. The difference is that the virtual server (also called VM or VPS) works on top of a standalone physical appliance, while the cloud server work on a cluster of physical servers that create a compute cloud. The processing tasks and the data storage are divided among different computing groups of devices in the Compute Clouds. Unlike the physical dedicated servers and virtual servers that reside on a standalone appliance, the cloud servers are natively scalable. The reason is that new computing resources can be added on-demand to the infrastructure without interrupting the workflows. Now we are coming to the applications.
Applications that run on an individual bare-metal dedicated server or on a virtual server hosting environment, which is not part of a cloud infrastructure are called traditional. They usually work in one and the same computing environment that usually cannot be scaled up without interruption of the services. Unlike them, cloud-native apps are designed to work on a cloud computing infrastructure. This means that they utilize the model of native scalability. A Cloud-native app, for example, scales up and down along with the whole environment. These environments have become popular as Containers. The applications are called Containerized Apps. There are thousands of publications that imply a technological superiority of cloud-native Apps over traditional software applications. The purpose of this article is to stress that the so-called Traditional Apps are based on a solid and stable model of technology architecture which is here to stay. In addition to that traditional software applications are much more inexpensive to design, create and support.
Traditional Apps and Cloud-native Apps – A brief comparison
The traditional applications require manual installation and configuration., while the so-called Cloud-native apps are designed to be deployed in Containers on cloud computing infrastructures. Cloud-native apps feature greater flexibility and scalability. However, they cannot run on шге traditional server environments – physical dedicated servers or virtual server instances.
During high usage periods Traditional apps require manual scaling of the virtual or physical servers, something that might result in the interruption of the services. Cloud-native apps, on the other hand, leverage the containerized, cloud-native architecture and automatically scale up and down to adjust the computing resources to the actual demand, thus allowing for efficient scalability. It sounds like cloud-native apps win when it comes to scalability and they usually do. However, if the demand for a traditional app is well-planned it can be deployed on resource-redundant servers. When planned well traditional apps save a lot of financial resources compared to Cloud-native apps. The reason is that the billing models applied by the Cloud service providers are usually complex and expensive.
Traditional apps sometimes require compatibility with specific technology, such as hardware or operating systems, which at least in theory limits their portability and flexibility. Cloud-native apps are containerized, allowing them to run consistently across different containerized environments. This makes them easier to migrate and more flexible. However, once created to run on containers, the architectural design of the application cannot be changed. So, a Cloud-native app is locked to a containerized IT environment.
Cloud-native apps are considered more resilient as they use distributed computing infrastructure. Containerized technology and distribution of computing tasks in a network of servers increase the service availability and offer native fault tolerance, Both increased availability and fault tolerance can be used with the Traditional apps hosted on the cloud, however.
When it comes to a cost comparison, Traditional Apps usually require computing capacity in form of physical or virtual servers and software licenses at the start of the development process. It is considered that Cloud-native apps can be deployed and used on a pay-as-you-go basis, allowing for better cost control and optimization. However, this is a significant overstatement because “pay-as-you-go” means that the organization that commissioned an app to be created technically does not own it, unless it pays the infrastructure usage bills for the containerized environment used by the Cloud-native app. So, it is important to say that Cloud-native apps or distributed containerized apps have various cons, some of them related to application longevity and ownership over the technology environment used on a payper-use basis.
What are the benefits of the Traditional Apps?
Traditional apps usually use well-established technology infrastructure models that feature a lower technology risk and a longer lifecycle.
Traditional apps may run on any computing environment – a physical dedicated server, virtual machine, or a cloud-based infrastructure. They could be designed to work in a clustered environment. As long as any traditional app is designed to work in a virtualized computing environment it can be easily migrated between servers, data centers, and cloud infrastructures, without being locked to any cloud or a containerized environment,
There are many industries where Traditional apps meet established legal and regulatory compliances, while cloud-native apps don’t.
In many It service scenarios there are computing tasks that require specific hardware requirements and configurations, which cannot be delivered in a containerized, cloud-based environment.
Finally comes security and data privacy. Hosting containerized apps on the major cloud infrastructure providers means that you are “locked on the cloud”. Your privacy is completely dependent on the provider’s policy. If you represent an organization that wants to apply specific security or data privacy policies, then Traditional apps are a much better option. Every organization that has specific data privacy requirements should host its applications and data on its own computing infrastructure. Traditional apps are the right choice in such scenarios.
Finally, If someone tries to persuade you to use a containerized, Cloud-native app and host it with any major cloud infrastructure provider, simply remember that you can create a containerized environment on your own hardware or on leased physical dedicated servers.