Point and Click Launch of Kubernetes Clusters on AWS Speeds Time to Market


An S&P 500 research and advisory company aimed to maintain its market leadership position and gain the advantages of a high availability, high uptime service running in Amazon Web Services. With over 400 applications to be re-platformed or re-factored, 200+ apps were identified as systems of Innovation and Differentiation. From this subset, 40 real-time transactional apps, part of the company’s customer portal and mostly in Java/Tomcat, were identified as critical for customer service and innovation. Being able to leverage services like Amazon CloudFront would reduce latency of their application, known to be slow in some parts of the world, and allow them to improve geodiversity. And, while the company pushes releases every two weeks, their aim was to increase the speed and frequency of software releases to support a model of continuous improvement toward delivering high value solutions for customers.

Renovating Systems of Differentiation and Innovation Without Customer Disruption

The company’s customer portal provides access to content and delivers customer experience features including content curation, search and recommendations engine and other elements. The portal drives the company’s primary source of revenue and is a strategic investment and source of innovation and differentiation. Instead of a lift and shift strategy that could migrate problems and wouldn’t necessarily gain the company the benefits of infrastructure as code, the organization decided they wanted it to be agile in nature and adopt container based micro-services. While the portal includes elements that would be typical of most deployments, considerable additional complexity was created by the need to retrofit an old application that required sticky sessions and shared storage, and by a need to modernize both the application and the infrastructure at the same time. This innovative enterprise had also made the decision to prioritize open source software over enterprise versions. An enterprise grade DevOps platform was already in place, precluding work that might normally be required in advance of starting proof-of-concept tests. From a developer productivity standpoint, to solve these complex issues, more than half a dozen POCs needed to run in parallel. The sheer number of POCs, each with varying requirements, and the enterprise’s wish to advance as rapidly as possible in order to maintain market position, meant that a single Kubernetes cluster would not be sufficient for testing; a factory for deploying Kubernetes clusters on-demand into an AWS sandbox account was needed.  

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