“The lack of cloud-native applications in the pre-Covid-19 world caused a powerful wake-up call”


Cloud-first or cloud-native? CloudFuel is dead set on the latter. A very conscious choice. But why such a strong focus? We talked to Kim Fertinel and Sam Steen, managing partners at, respectively, CloudFuel and Noest.

What’s the difference between a cloud-first and a cloud-native vision?

Kim: “Our application focus is exclusively cloud-native. For example, you won’t see us migrating an application from on-premise servers to an Azure server. That’s the whole thing about cloud-native. You’re using platform services, whereas cloud-first is more about running applications in the public cloud, separate from the components that will eventually be used.”

“Another difference lies in the degree of maintenance. With a cloud native application, many of the components relating to maintenance are included in the services you are going to purchase. Updates are executed automatically, so you have the possibilities to scale more efficiently and quickly.”

Sam: “You could compare the cloud world to eating a pizza. You have three main layers: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). If you go to the supermarket and buy a frozen pizza to pop in the oven at home, that’s IaaS. You’re responsible for configuring the machine. If you order a pizza through a delivery service, that’s PaaS, because you’ll only have to maintain what was built on the platform. If you’re eating it a restaurant, we’re talking about SaaS, because the customer can’t change much about the final application. With CloudFuel, we want to focus on PaaS.”

Can we talk about the price tag?

Sam: “The total costs will definitely be lower. If we’re just looking at development costs, the difference won’t be that big. Where things differ, is the fact that underlying features are a lot quicker to set up.”

Kim: “You can experiment more quickly and easily. In a traditional environment, the components are pretty much set in stone, – you have to make do with the components you have.”

Sam: “In any event, investments will be lower. If you’re building an application which has to work for 100 users today, but which will have 1000 users in two years’ time, you need to act proactively and take that into account from the get-go. There’s not much difference between developing an app for 100 or for 1000 users. It’s mostly about that scalability. Cloud-native apps are a lot easier to scale, letting you anticipate when circumstances demand it. That increases your cost efficiency.”

Why are you such staunch believers of the cloud-native approach?

Kim: “To be perfectly honest, I think this trend won’t be going anywhere soon. The technical evolution is now just a fact of life. A transition has happened from physical servers to virtual servers, to containers, and so on. It is a logical evolution, there is no point in fighting it. On the contrary, it’s important to go along with it, to adapt constantly.”

Sam: “Covid had a huge influence on this. Suddenly, many companies had to let people work from home. Most of those companies weren’t ready, due to a lack of cloud-native applications. That was a pretty powerful wake-up call.”

What cloud-native trends and evolutions do you expect to see next?

Kim: “As I’ve mentioned before, I think cloud-native is here to stay. I do believe that in the longer run, it won’t just be about the hyperscalers. Today, it may be limited to an elite cohort of big companies that are innovating at full pelt, but in the long term, we’ll probably evolve towards a more differentiated market.”

Sam: “Increasingly, a multi-cloud ecosystem will emerge, with companies working with different cloud vendors at the same time. Azure, Amazon, Google, and the others will have to prepare for that and develop mechanisms which ensure the required communication and interaction between all the different components in a multi-cloud application.”

“I’m also curious to see what low coding will bring to the table. You could compare it to LEGO and DUPLO. Cloud-native apps are built using LEGO blocks, but an increasing number of applications are developed with DUPLO blocks, which come with several features built in. That’s what Microsoft is partly focusing on with its Power Apps. An interesting evolution we’ll be keeping an eye on.”

Has reading this interview left you fascinated? Are you curious to find out if CloudFuel can help you determine a sophisticated cloud strategy or modernize your processes? Get in touch!