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Mainframe to Kubernetes with Cloud Foundation and vRealize Suite

For more than a hundred years, this insurance company stands for stable management and long-term strategies to benefit their customers, employees and business partners. “Our organization’s promise to our customers is to plan long term and financially sound” said the project lead “beyond that, contract management is the bread and butter for our organization, so we had to make sure 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 interact with its customers in new ways. At the same time, the IT environment must have a high level of economy, security and robustness. The need for increased agility poses a challenge for the insurance industry as it is subject to strict legal regulations. Beyond that, enterprise organization have a big disadvantage when it comes to their competitors, the start-ups: they need to maintain and renew their legacy apps, while start-up scan start fresh.

The Challenge

“For the organization, this was the new territory” saidMarcus Schoen, lead architect on the case “this was the first larger project in the organizations’ journey to modernize their legacy mainframe applications, so this was added pressure considering that they had a little experience with hosting the Kubernetes clusters” Schoen continued.

“With VMware Cloud Foundation, we enable them to maintain a common platform and operating model” explained Schoen “they had limited team ressources, so in order to meet regulatory requirements, we needed to provide a secure test environment, where the developers could consume Kubernetes test clusters without the need of time consuming tasks such as to patch or validate the system, or to configure compliance checks.”

The Solution

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

The Results

“The developers are now able to consume Kubernetes testclusters and application deployments in a self-service manner from the vRealizeAutomation catalog” Schoen explained “the clusters are deployed on demand andare automatically segregated and governed by VMware NSX-T. The whole platform is run by Instrastructure-as-Code deployments, to ensure it is repeatable from development to production.”

The ability to spin up the necessary test environment on-demand in a predictable way allows the developers to rapidly respond to the needs of the line of business. In fact, they measured that deployment time for thesetest environments went down from days or weeks to a few minutes.

“Instead of having to wait to set up a new test instance ofthe system, we can now react super quickly to change requirements” said the project lead “while maintaining rigorous tests to ensure stability and of course compliance with regulations” and continued “experts with Marcus’ levelof experience of architecting such a system are scarce, since every industry is basically looking for the same ressource, when they want to modernize their datacenters” he concluded.