Mainframe to Kubernetes with Cloud Foundation and vRealize Suite

Achieving Agility and Security

For over a hundred years, this insurance company has been known for stable management and long-term strategies that benefit their customers, employees, and business partners. "Our organization's commitment to our customers is long-term financial planning," said the project lead. "In addition, contract management is the cornerstone of our organization. Therefore, we had to ensure that the transition from the reliable mainframe system to the new Kubernetes Cluster approach is as rock-solid as the old system."

The insurance industry is constantly innovating to engage with customers in new ways while maintaining a high level of efficiency, security, and robustness in the IT environment. However, the need for increased agility poses challenges as the industry is subject to strict legal regulations. Moreover, enterprise organizations face a significant disadvantage compared to their startup competitors. While startups can start fresh, established organizations must maintain and update their legacy applications.

the challenge

"For the organization, this was new territory," said Marcus Schoen, the lead architect on the case. "This was the first larger project in the organization's journey to modernize their legacy mainframe applications. Therefore, there was added pressure considering their limited experience with hosting Kubernetes clusters," Schoen continued. "With VMware Cloud Foundation, we enable them to maintain a common platform and operating model," explained Schoen.

"Due to limited team resources and regulatory requirements, we needed to provide a secure test environment where developers could consume Kubernetes test clusters without the need for time-consuming tasks such as patching or validating the system, or configuring compliance checks."

the solution

VMware Cloud Foundation offers a unified platform to host, automate, and monitor Kubernetes and VM workloads side-by-side. The integrated and pre-validated stack simplifies maintenance of the entire environment, supported by a single vendor. With VMware vRealize Automation, a self-service application catalog can be created, allowing users to request a new Kubernetes cluster that is already configured and secured by NSX-T microsegmentation.

the result

"The developers can now consume Kubernetes test clusters and deploy applications in a self-service manner from the vRealize Automation catalog," Schoen explained. "The clusters are deployed on demand and automatically segregated and governed by VMware NSX-T. The entire platform is operated through Infrastructure-as-Code deployments to ensure repeatability from development to production."

The ability to quickly spin up the necessary test environment on-demand in a predictable way allows developers to rapidly respond to the needs of the business. In fact, they have observed that the deployment time for these test environments has decreased from days or weeks to just a few minutes.

"While maintaining rigorous tests to ensure stability and compliance with regulations," the project lead said, "experts with Marcus' level of experience in architecting such a system are scarce. Every industry is essentially looking for the same resource when they want to modernize their data centers."



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