SpringOne 2020: Day 2 Recap and Highlights

September 3, 2020 Jared Ruckle

How can you best enable developers at your enterprise? That was the question asked and answered by Main Stage speakers on Day 2 of SpringOne. Read on for the highlights!

(Stay tuned for recordings of Main Stage talks and breakout sessions. These will be posted in the coming days.)

How Northern Trust, a 130-year-old financial services company, turned into a software powerhouse

When you manage over $1 trillion in assets, you have to think big when it comes to digital transformation. Despite the grand scale, Vijay Luthra, CTO, Northern Trust, noted the company's strategy revolves around a simple idea: to “rapidly roll out products and services to our clients.”

The Northern Trust IT playbook boils down to these big bets:

  • Go big on hyperconverged infrastructure. Given the company’s top priority—client data protection—a private-cloud-first model makes sense.
  • Start small with containers, app platforms and CI/CD. Scale up as you have success.
  • Surgically consume innovative public cloud services. For Northern Trust, the right use case was business intelligence and machine learning with nonsensitive data.
  • Adopt a product-driven approach across the IT department, including “product owners” who drive road maps and write user stories.
  • Be willing to change how your teams are organized, multiple times if needed.

What are the results? The company ships code to production 70 percent faster, and every deployment is 100 percent automated!

Northern Trust started this journey in 2013. Change doesn’t happen overnight. But with the right strategy, small wins can add up to remarkable business outcomes faster than you think.

The secret to BT’s modernization success: Change course as you learn, persist when you need to

Think digital transformation is tricky at your company? Rajesh Premchandran at BT can relate.

BT was founded in 1846 and operates in more than 180 countries. Like every other enterprise, modernization is crucial to BT’s success. So far, Rajesh and his team have made significant progress. One noteworthy outcome: deployment times have gone from two months to under two minutes!

Of course, the journey was not straightforward. Rajesh’s experiences may sound familiar:

“We’ve had several challenges. The issues haven’t been technology. The challenges arise from our ways of working, processes, accounting policies, security postures, and even how we inventory software assets in the firm.” 

Rajesh shared how he and his VMware Tanzu platform team addressed roadblocks in three key areas.

Strategy. For BT, Tanzu Application Service was the ideal platform for microservices. But other developers wanted the freedom to use Kubernetes for workloads that weren’t going to be modernized. That’s where VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid came in the picture. Together, the flagship runtimes of VMware Tanzu empower teams to use “the right tool for the job.”

Security. A security model focused on fixed-IP connectivity served BT well historically. But the world of microservices requires a more flexible approach. (After all, elastic IPs and REST endpoints are fundamental to modern cloud architecture.) Rajesh stood firm on this point, and his team influenced change by embedding security experts with the cloud development teams, who then engaged and educated the centralized InfoSec staff. BT also hired new cloud security specialists to craft policies for the cloud era.

People. BT works across three vectors of complexity: a massive application estate, a large workforce of talented software engineers and a growing ecosystem of cloud-based services to evaluate. How can you begin to make sense of this? Rajesh stresses a key task: inventory all of your applications. He noted this was “painstaking work.” But the resulting strategy refinements reduced confusion about roles and responsibilities. Best of all, the updated strategy now allows each team to focus on execution!

Rajesh cited their compass was always “our developer-first principle.” You can hear more from Rajesh about BT's philosophy on dev tools and dev-first principles in this set of interviews with James Governor.

RedMonk: “Service-ful” models, reactive programming offer big productivity gains for developers

Speaking of James Governor! He also hit Main Stage on Day 2.

Developers have a big say in how IT gets done these days. James of RedMonk takes this one step further: “Your success is predicated on your ability to serve developers.” It's a notion that’s tough to argue with these days!

So given this era of “extreme transformation,” how do you best serve your developers in 2020?

James suggests you consider a “service-ful” model, where developers can choose from “a rich palette of services.” Here, you’re not using a single vendor. Instead, you empower your developers to use the services and tools that make them more productive.

“That brings us right back to Spring,” noted James. Just as Spring has simplified microservices, the framework is evolving to support reactive and event-driven programming. (Which, by the way, is a handy way to embrace the “service-ful” model.)

“For the modern Spring developer, [reactive programming] is absolutely how they need to be thinking about building apps.”

Build a “superhighway” to production, and empower your developers to innovate on your entire app portfolio

Craig McLuckie of VMware began the day by highlighting the many enterprises that have delivered a high-productivity experience for their developers with Spring and VMware Tanzu Application Service

The signature feature of Tanzu Application Service, cf push, is a “superhighway” for developers, sending code from IDE to production instantly. It works wonders for microservices. But a typical enterprise application estate isn’t just 12-factor apps.

Craig states that the next step for us collectively as an industry is to couple the ubiquity of Kubernetes with this notion of a “superhighway,” and construct it in such a way that every developer can use it, across any application architecture.

VMware is taking this opportunity to heart, and detailed several new investments to make this superhighway accessible to more developers in more scenarios. A few highlights:

VMware Tanzu Application Service runs atop Kubernetes, as a public beta. Boskey Savla from VMware joined Craig for a demo of “cf push atop Kubernetes.” This beta offers you the best of both worlds: a proven developer abstraction, coupled with Kubernetes and other exciting infrastructure projects! [Read more about the public beta.]

VMware Tanzu Build Service is now GA. A big obstacle in the path to production: automated, reliable container builds. Tanzu Build Service takes a key idea from Cloud Foundry (Buildpacks) and brings it to the world of Kubernetes with kpack. Any developer who currently wastes time maintaining OS and dependency updates will welcome this innovation! Perhaps more importantly, Tanzu Build Service brings the cost to push an update, or a patch, close to zero. When it’s effortless to release a change to production, you tend to do it a lot more often! [Read the Tanzu Build Service launch blog.]

Run Spring Boot apps as functions with GraalVM, Tekton and Knative. What about functions? Grant Shipley of VMware joined Craig to demo a new twist on a familiar app, Pet Clinic. Grant showed us how to use GraalVM to containerize a Spring Boot service, and then push it to Knative runtime with Tekton. This toolchain gives developers the benefits of serverless programming, like lightning-fast startup times and a scale-to-zero model. What’s more, Grant showed us how VMware Tanzu Observability and VMware Tanzu Mission Control rounds out the day 2 operational experience.

Use Spring Cloud Gateway to instantly change API routing rules with code (and say goodbye to ticket-based change requests)

Some ticket-based workflows die hard. One particularly stubborn one: changes to API routing rules. If you’re filing tickets for this task, then get to know Spring Cloud Gateway, the cloud native gateway developers love.

Bella Bai and Chris Sterling from VMware took the audience through a snazzy demo of Spring Cloud Gateway. This dynamic duo picked a use case that should be familiar to Spring developers: an interactive front-end app and Spring Boot back-end app.

Now the task at hand: to create rules to authenticate users and requests, across a variety of roles. Ideally, you’d do it instantly on the fly. Better still, the output would be an OAuth flow connected to any identity provider. And since there are two different services, and likely two different teams, you want flexibility for each team to configure routes independently.

Chris and Bella showed how Spring Cloud Gateway, along with VMware Tanzu Application Service, are up to the task. They even showed how you can use your own client certs to secure API endpoints, so other authorized third-party apps can call your services. 

In a nod to future innovations, Chris and Bella demoed an early preview of API Hub, a new way for developers to find APIs, and manage secure API key access across gateway instances.

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Thanks for making SpringOne 2020 the biggest ever! Check springone.io in the coming days for the recordings.

About the Author

Jared Ruckle

Jared works in product marketing at VMware.

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