[QCon 2019] Are we really cloud native?

Bert Ertman

For other QCon blog posts, see QCon live blog table of contents

Cloud Computing

  • Not new
  • Market growing fast/analysts on rise
  • “Java EE is dead, long live the Cloud” – cloud coming at expensive of Spring, etc
  • “There is no cloud. it’s just someone else’s computer” – 5 years ago was just virtualization elsewhere. No longer does it justice
  • Evolution – IaaS -> PaaS -> Serverless
  • Serverless is the evolution of virtualization or compute
  • Re-imagine middleware or higher level services as managed services that can call via an API
  • Cloud native is the step after serverless


  • Business agility – Microservices
  • Infrastructure = CI/CD + containers
  • Process = Agile + DevOps

Evolution and problems

  • 80-90% of IT budgets are spent on maintaining existing systems
  • Experiment with new tech/process comes out of time left
  • Don’t save money by simply moving the app server to the cloud. Often costs more.
  • Then tried spring boot with a fat jar which turned into an inverted app server
  • Adding Docker makes it more portable but doesn’t actually use benefits of cloud
  • Next tried microservices in Docker. Waste more resources because need more virtual machines. Introducing problems while solving other problems. Modularity is good and microservices are a modularity tool. However adding cost due to network/config/dependencies/versioning/etc
  • Next tried Kubernetes. Everyone shouldn’t have to run/manage in prod
  • Agile adoption took a few years because needed business buy in. DevOps isn’t just learning tools. DINO (devops in name only)
  • Cloud native is a dev ops journey. Continuous journey with new services and components. Services can be short lived. Think about managing a mix of software and infrastructure and scale
  • Get to a mix of serverless and non-serverless services.
  • Technologies or frameworks are not cloud-native, it is the way you use them

Other Benefits

  • Economic disruption – startup costs low. Don’t need datacenter staff
  • Easily experiment with new tech or new business ideas
  • Faster time to market

Tips or challenges

  • Use managed services where possible
  • IT is not just a cost center; need strategy
  • Business needs to trust IT


  • GraalVM and compiling to native code facilitates writing serverless/lambda. Solves cold start problem
  • If Java is your only skill, you are in for a hard time
  • With DevOps, there are new problems you need to be knowledgeable
  • Cloud Engineer needs to know more than just a programming language. Flowchart: https://github.com/kamranahmedse/developer-roadmap/blob/master/readme.md


  • OSS advice? OSS Community bundling products to help with direction of cloud native. Try to use provider supplied services where possible.
  • Stats on whether spend less in serverless? Maybe. Definitely war stories from real enterprises

My impressions

Bert got a lot of laughs which is good. It means the audience is engaged. It’s a good perspective and I like the path/journey he took to get there.

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