Cloud-Native Development Brings App Agility

By Fazal Mohammed, Director of Cloud-Native Software Solutions

In modernizing government legacy applications, architecture design is the critical stepping stone to maximizing cloud computing’s advantages. One resulting benefit is cloud-native development, which significantly accelerates app deployments with frequent, incremental deliveries.

Cloud-native development facilitates all the modern techniques of app deployment: agile methodologies, containerized microservices, DevSecOps automation, continuous integration/continuous delivery, and more. After re-engineering apps to cloud-based architectures, government agencies can take advantage of the enormous infrastructure and resources, platform-as-a-service capabilities, and managed services established by cloud service providers (CSPs) for rapid development.

Cloud platforms such as AWS, VMware, and Microsoft Azure take away most development burdens because they have in place mechanisms to package up apps with compute, storage, and networking resources and deploy them in automated fashion—within seconds. Agencies can just concentrate on the code that will give users the functions to execute desired business outcomes. This encourages development of microservices apps.

App build-outs via cloud-native development are akin to assembling LEGO blocks. There are open-source repositories containing libraries of secure code for managed services, such as user authentication, mobile notifications, etc, which can be plucked for routine functions. Composed of modular code pieces, microservices apps are simply loose collections of autonomous functions put in the right order.

What does all this mean for agencies? It’s like running your own power plant to generate electricity for your business when the power company with economies of scale can give it to you efficiently and cheaply. CSP resources are well engineered and there to be leveraged for cloud-native development.

It also means that it’s neither necessary nor strategic to spend months or years developing and deploying apps with 300 functions and features. Releasing apps as individual microservices shrinks schedules and allows prioritization and agile pivots to user needs and enterprise changes.

Apps can be continuously improved in agile fashion. And development cycles are substantially simplified because the lack of interdependency between code pieces means the apps won’t break when altered.

This sea change in the way apps are built and delivered requires a fundamental shift in the collective development mindsets at agencies that will take time. But first, they need to move their apps out of monolithic architectures and into serverless and microservices architectures.

Companies that specialize in government IT, such as SAIC, understand the business logic and intricacies of different agency missions that steer app development. They engineer modern app architectures and help guide agencies on their software acceleration journeys.

Their intimate knowledge of cloud architecture principles leads to clean microservices app integrations. Agencies benefit from expert services from code analysis and conversion to writing microservices code for new app build-outs. And the government IT industry has the expertise to shift organizations culturally to agile and DevSecOps development.

These are compelling factors for agencies to modernize to a new generation of app development.

About the author: Fazal Mohammed has more than two decades of software and application development experience. His areas of expertise include cloud native application development, agile and SAFe, DevSecOps, and mobile. He has professional certifications with respect to AWS, Azure, Splunk, DevOps, PMI Agile, and SAFe. Fazal is an SAIC Fellow, helping the company steer the technology landscape, and has been involved in numerous company R&D projects. He earned his bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Madras University and master's degree in information systems from Virginia Tech. Connect with Fazal on LinkedIn.