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Beyond the Twelve-Factor App by Kevin Hoffman

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Chapter 16. A Word on Cloud Native

Now that you have read through a discussion that goes beyond the twelve-factor application and have learned that people often use “12 factor” and “cloud native” interchangeably, it is worth taking a moment for a discussion on the term cloud native.

What Is Cloud Native?

Buzzwords and phrases like “SOA,” “cloud native,” and “microservices” all start because we need a faster, more efficient way to communicate our thoughts on a subject. This is essential to facilitating meaningful conversations on complex topics, and we end up building a shared context or a common language.

The problem with these buzzwords is that they rely on mutual or common understanding between multiple parties. Like the classic game of telephone1 on an epic scale, this alleged shared understanding rapidly deteriorates into mutual confusion.

We saw this with SOA (service-oriented architecture), and we’re seeing it again with the concept of cloud native. It seems as though every time this concept is shared, the meaning changes until we have as many opinions about cloud native as we do IT professionals.

To understand “cloud native,” we must first understand “cloud.” Many people assume that “cloud” is synonymous with public, unfettered exposure to the Internet. While there are some cloud offerings of this variety, that’s far from a complete definition.

In the context of this book, cloud refers to Platform as a Service. PaaS providers expose a platform that hides infrastructure ...

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