Self-managing cloud-native applications: design, implementation and experience

; ; ; ; (). Self-managing cloud-native applications: design, implementation and experience. FGCS special issue on Cloud Incident Management. Peer reviewed.

Running applications in the cloud efficiently requires much more than deploying software in virtual machines. Cloud applications have to be continuously managed: (1) to adjust their resources to the incoming load and (2) to face transient failures replicating and restarting components to provide resiliency on unreliable infrastructure. Continuous management monitors application and infrastructural metrics to provide automated and responsive reactions to failures (health management) and changing environmental conditions (auto-scaling) minimizing human intervention.

In the current practice, management functionalities are provided as infrastructural or third party services. In both cases they are external to the application deployment. We claim that this approach has intrinsic limits, namely that separating management functionalities from the application prevents them from naturally scaling with the application and requires additional management code and human intervention. Moreover, using infrastructure provider services for management functionalities results in vendor lock-in effectively preventing cloud applications to adapt and run on the most effective cloud for the job.

In this paper we discuss the main characteristics of cloud native applications, propose a novel architecture that enables scalable and resilient self-managing applications in the cloud, and relate on our experience in porting a legacy application to the cloud applying cloud-native principles.