Sponsored: Cloud Native Architecture vs. Cloud Resident Solution

December 1, 2021
By Rich Johnson, Federal SE, Zscaler

What’s all the buzz around cloud-native architecture and why is it so important?

There are a lot of products and solutions that are claiming to be cloud-native when in fact, they are simply cloud-enabled, or cloud-resident. You may ask, “What’s the difference and why should I care?” I hope to add some clarity and explain the difference and significance between cloud-native and cloud-resident solutions.

What is cloud-native architecture?

According to Oracle, cloud-native architecture concerns the design of applications or services that were made specifically to exist in the cloud, rather than in a more traditional on-premises infrastructure.

I believe that Manhattan associates hits the nail on the head when they state that the difference between the two comes down to the original intent of the technology. Cloud-enabled solutions are designed to be deployed in traditional data centers. Although many of these applications are being retrofitted and sold as “cloud solutions,” in reality they are poor imitations that offer none of the nimble flexibility of truly cloud-native solutions.

So why is cloud-native important?

Cloud-resident solutions are just cloud-enabled point solutions cobbled together and instantiated in a cloud compute environment. They still suffer from all the issues they had when implemented on-premises. Using the traditional legacy security stack as an example, a cloud-resident solution will implement virtual appliances from multiple vendors to implement various services such as firewall, anti-virus, intrusion detection, intrusion prevention, data loss protection, sandbox, URL filtering, etc. Since virtual appliances in a cloud typically have lower throughput and processing power, clusters of virtual appliances for each function will need to be instantiated. As network packets pass through this stack, they will be service chained from one cluster of virtual appliances to the next, adding latency along the way, which degrades the end-user experience. All these virtual appliances will need to be maintained, patched and eventually upgraded. Policies will have to be made consistent across the disparate platforms and the logs from all these products will need to be correlated on the backend to make sense of what is going on for each transaction. As demand increases through this stack, each individual component will have to be monitored, independent of the others, and new appliances will need to be instantiated, licensed, configured and added to the hive.

Cloud-native solutions, in contrast, never lived on-premises. They were conceived and designed for the cloud, utilizing containers, service meshes and microservices with APIs for orchestration. In a cloud-native security stack implementation, the end-user just defines policy. They don’t worry about the underlying infrastructure; they don’t lose sleep at night wondering if the anti-virus or firewall components need more resources or are nearing their upgrade cycle. Cloud-native solutions embrace the cloud’s elastic and agile design and grow as needed to meet the end users’ demands.

Zscaler fully understands these challenges and have been helping customers move to a cloud-native security solution for over a decade. Zscaler helps solve fundamental problems that arise from the conflict between network-centric security/remote-access with the reality of work-from-anywhere-using-any-device and dynamic multi-/hybrid cloud application architectures built at the speed of DevOps. With the proliferation of ransomware attacks and advanced persistent threats, the focus must be to secure and accelerate the adoption of modern technologies needed to maintain an advantage over attackers.

For more information, visit https://www.zscaler.com/.

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