Understanding cloud-native apps

Whether you’re hosting an entire application in the cloud or migrating parts of legacy IT, adding new tools is only one part of cloud-native apps. A comprehensive cloud-native app development strategy is about the people, processes, and—yes—the tools that help you compete in fast-changing markets.

What are cloud-native apps?

If an app is “cloud-native,” it’s designed to take advantage of a distributed systems environment. Unlike in a traditional datacenter, applications in distributed systems use resources from groups of networked servers called clusters. Organizations adopt distributed systems environments to increase the scalability and fault tolerance of their apps, but to exploit these benefits, a new form of application development is needed.

Cloud-native development does just that—it’s an approach to building apps that is optimized for a distributed systems environment. It helps companies scale through improved infrastructure efficiency, greater resiliency, faster service delivery, and increased code reuse.

What do I need to build a cloud-native app?

Start with the people and processes in your organization. That means adopting DevOps practices to bring your development and operations teams together with shared purpose and regular feedback. In a DevOps approach, apps are easier to release as a collection of loosely coupled pieces, like microservices, instead of waiting for one large release. Building microservice-based apps allows for shorter development cycles, but your architecture can get complex when each piece is in a different development stage. To manage this complexity, well-modeled and governed application programming interfaces (APIs) can connect microservices so they aren’t impeded by development processes. As your architecture grows, deploying services in containers can help you scale rapidly and avoid downtime.


DevOps is an approach to culture, automation, and platform design intended to deliver increased business value and responsiveness.

Understanding DevOps


A microservices architecture breaks apps down into their smallest components, independent from each other.

Understanding microservices


An application programming interface (API) is a set of tools, definitions, and protocols for building application software. They connect products and services without having to know how they're implemented.

Understanding APIs


Containers allow apps to be packaged and isolated with their entire runtime environment, making it easy to move them between environments while retaining full functionality.

Understanding containers

What can you do faster with cloud-native apps?

Building cloud-native apps means changing how your teams collaborate with each other, and adding tools and processes to support them. Those changes don’t just make it easier to build apps for a distributed systems environment—they give teams what they need to make your business run faster.


Apps get to customers faster when they can take advantage of a cloud-native environment.


A cloud-native app will adapt quicker to changing markets and customer needs.


New business opportunities mean you need new features and apps ASAP. Agile teams can develop cloud-native apps to meet time constraints.


You need to innovate across your organization, and switching to a cloud-native development model frees up teams to do so.

Why choose Red Hat?

We think if you want a successful cloud-native development strategy—one that’s ready for fast-moving, disruptive markets—you have to fundamentally change how your people, processes, and technology work together.

Red Hat is built on an open culture, so we understand how to help businesses transform. Red Hat® Open Innovation Labs give your teams hands-on experience with DevOps, agile workflows, and innovative open source technologies.

We also contribute code and improvements back to the upstream communities for all our cloud-native technologies, sharing advancements along the way. Of course, collaborating with a community is about more than developing code. Collaboration is the freedom to ask questions and offer improvements. That’s the open source way and the power of the open organization. It’s why Red Hat has been a trusted provider of enterprise infrastructure for over 20 years.

Many companies know they need to achieve higher release velocity and improved reliability using approaches like microservices architecture and more modern development and operations tools. Historically, one of the biggest challenges has been the roadmap necessary for change in legacy environments. OpenShift Application Runtimes helps simplify that transformation and lowers the effort and risks to getting started with cloud-native development.

The foundation you need for cloud-native apps

Cloud computing

Red Hat OpenShift Logo

A container and Kubernetes platform for faster deployment of cloud-native applications.

Cloud computing

Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes Black and White Logo

A selection of application runtimes and frameworks well-suited for developing cloud-native apps.

There's a lot more to do with cloud-native apps