Digital Innovation Factory (3/3): Which technical platform select and how operate it over the time?

by Béatrice Rollet - Group CTO Innovation & Digital – Cloud Services, Director
by Simon Herd - Head of Cloud Center of Excellence, Sopra Steria
| minutes read

As seen previously, digital experience and platform offerings call for a massive amount of software with frequent new services, and regularly updated and deleted new features. Long-established companies adopting an Enterprise Platform model must then own a new Digital Innovation Factory encompassing a Technical Platform.


The emergence of Container and Orchestration as preferred technical platform


Since five years, container and orchestration solution have demonstrated their strong values by progressively bringing the scalability, high-availability, security and portability business that business is looking for. Beside BizDevSecOps practices, these container and orchestration solution have indeed become day after day an integral part of the build automation, the continuous integration and the continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines supporting the velocity of Software development and deployment.

  • The State of Cloud Native Development Q4-2019 generated by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) shows a skyrocket increase of the adoption of container orchestration tools over the last 6 months, especially in Europe who leads this trends with an adoption rate of over 30%. While 9 out of 10 cloud native developers who actively use container orchestration tools are aware of Kubernetes.
  • The State of Cloud Native Development 2021 issued by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) shows a skyrocket increase of the adoption of container orchestration tools across the world. Among the 6.8 M Cloud developers, 5.6 M of developers uses Kubernetes.

Kubernetes engine powering portability over multi-cloud and hybrid Cloud environment


Created by Google, Kubernetes emerges as the preferred deployment platform. Kubernetes is designed on the principles of scalability, high-availability, security and portability. Applications deployed in Kubernetes are packaged as micro-services, composed of multiple containers. Kubernetes tackles then with the availability of both the infrastructure and the application layers, and the associated security. And the beauty of the solution don’t stop there. Kubernetes also ensures the portability of the application on top of multiple operating systems, virtual environment, container runtimes, processor architectures, cloud service providers through federation mechanism. It brings to life the promise of Hybrid Cloud Solution in multi-cloud environment, without any vendor lock-in. Workloads can natively and proficiently move from multiple deployment, between multiple regions, multiple level of security environments, providing a maximum of flexibility at any time.

From a deployment perspective, these container and orchestration solutions are available either by deploying core container orchestration tools on-premises in a datacenter (AWS EKS anywhere, Google Anthos, IBM Cloud Paks, Red Hat OpenShift and VMware Tanzu) or in the Cloud through PaaS that delivers complete life cycle management for developers (AWS Fargate, AWS EKS, AWS ROSA, Microsoft AKS, Microsoft Azure Red Hat OpenShift, Google Cloud GKE, IBM KS). These solution could be completed with serverless framework platform for Kubernetes such as Apache OpenWhisk, Knative or OpenFaaS. 


The use cases are multiple such as greenfield development, application modernization interacting with the existing heritage, but can also span to edge computing, Internet of Things/embedded systems. If these solution have raised the interest of web-scale start-up, large enterprise have also started to explore it. By abstracting the infrastructure layer, these solutions allow the development teams to remain focused on the application, leveraging from self-service and operational flexibility. The orchestration engine brings a consistent operating experience across targeted environment for DevSecOps engineers.

Managed Container and Orchestration Platform as a Service, an accelerator for Digital Innovation Factory

Nevertheless, such technologies requires complex architecture and a deep understanding of storage and network, especially to serve at large scale the Enterprise Platform’s software ambitions and mission-critical workloads relying on stateful or data architecture. The multiple hosts and containers running in production environments request a strong architecture knowledge, but also a new set of management tools and practices. Moving from monolithic application to a galaxy of micro-services generates an increased volume of monitoring, container image management and logging, requesting thin capabilities of observability and self-healing powered by AI, configuration management, automation through Infra-as-Code and continuous security. Such NoOps and embed security practices can’t be implemented in one day.

Beyond the public cloud solution, Managed Container and Orchestration Platform as a Service can offer great alternatives to speed up the deployment of such Digital Innovation Factory in large enterprise’s context without the CSP’s limitations. Spanning from multi-tenant CaaS platform to dedicated platform, these solutions offer enterprise-class service level agreement (SLA). Last but not least, these platforms can be associated with sovereign hosting services for responding to the compliance’s requirements of regulated enterprise while speeding up the deployment of software.

These benefits can only be achieved through a cultural-shift, involving a BizDevSecOps approach inviting the business, the development, the security and the operations teams into a common and interactive journey. And this “new normal era” is a pivotal period for the enterprise to succeed in their Digital Transformation.


Embracing the new technologies can appear as an athletics hurdles competition. But encouraging, sponsoring and supporting these changes step-by-step are certainly the most vital activities for an enterprise and… an exciting journey for both the line-of-business and CIO department.

 

Digital-first company


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Digital Innovation Factory (1/3): 
The Enterprise Platform and the CIO at the age of the new normal

Covid-19 pandemic has showed that the most digitalized companies, the digital-first companies, were the un-constable winner of this challenging period. Providing business activities through advanced digital experiences or platform offerings, these companies has kept their customers and partners engaged and happy in this challenging period.

 

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