Your Pathway to the Cloud is Open; Day 4 at SpringOne Platform 2018

September 27, 2018 Pivotal Team

As the neon blues of the mainstage dim at SpringOne Platform, it's clear that the work of cloud-native has just begun. Or as Pivotal's Nate Schutta illustrated yesterday in his outstanding talk, you can bring any abstraction to the party today—container, platform, or serverless—but what should your business run on? The likely answer is, it depends. The challenge—and the poetry—is finding where the line of value is for your software-driven business.

The variety of those cloud pathways were on display in the final innings, as customers explained their journey, and why transforming teams ranks up there with transforming technology stacks.

Rabobank is one of the top food and agricultural banks, with more than nine million customers. As Rabobank's Business Architect, Vincent Oostindie told it, by late 2015 Rabobank had realized two things. It had a reliable highly available technology stack that worked well for what it wanted to achieve a decade ago: a Websphere and Linux-based box, with a custom portal, where they hosted all their applications. But with a networked future in their sights, and a transition to DevOps agility, the need for scale and architectural flexibility was clear. In other words, their architecture going forward, would not look anything like the current one.

They started with Pivotal Cloud Foundry, and removed a whole class of server, VM, load balancer, and container concerns. Spring Boot helped kick-start Rabobank microservices and managing their many applications and decompose its monolith, to resurrect it as a loosely coupled, distributed architecture. The flip side of the story is bringing the runtime world into the organizational hierarchy. Rabobank focused on the developer, giving them autonomy and permission to break things. With Pivotal dojos, workshops, tech talks, and the practices of continuous learning, Rabobank already looks different: it opened up a developer shop, through open APIs, four foundations in production (managed by 3 people!), with 900 instances running.

Selling some 1.3 tickets every second, to 150 million customers a year, in 48 countries, StubHub is the world's largest event marketplace, servicing more than a million sports, entertainment, and live events at any given moment. As successful as it has been, StubHub, as CTO Matt Swann explained it, had a monolith problem. To meet the needs of its distributed business, from global developers, to hundreds of partners, and millions of points of sale across the globe, Stubhub's new march starts with moving away from a monolith. Watch his presentation to see how Stubhub put speed and innovation at the forefront.

With aims to go "beyond the ticket" and leverage AI to deepen personal experiences, and leverage new technologies like blockchain and augmented reality, they are refactoring their business. They’re using Pivotal Cloud Foundry and Google Cloud Platform, with automated CI/CD pipelines to change how they build things. Enabled by Pivotal Labs, they're moving to agile teams. This is helping them bridge the platform, and sell the practice across the organization. StubHub is doubling down on AI through rich streaming, real-time data services, and data science. The result? Builds have gone from days to minutes and provisioning has gone from weeks to hours.

Siew Choo Soh, leads the Consumer Banking and Big Data/AI Technology for DBS Bank, one of Asia's most awarded banks, and the largest in Southeast Asia. With more than 280 branches and some $353B (USD) in assets, it wants to become a 22,000-person startup. And they're clear on who the competition is: the technology industry.  

DBS' digital game plan is familiar: starting with a broad shift in 2016 to building products in-house, concurrent with decomposing its monolith to a microservices architecture. A POC with Pivotal Cloud Foundry, and limited agile teams has expanded, as DBS aims to become a platform organisation that tightly knits IT and business lines, concentrated on agility, user experiences, developer productivity, and quality.

The bank has seen an impressive lift: zero downtime in two years running on PCF, a 10X improvement in release speeds, and 6X reduction in heavy lifting. In 2017, they embraced open source, launching the world's biggest open API portal for banks. They borrowed another page from tech, creating a unique hiring process—a two-day hackathon—that opened channels to talent from academia and other industries. And for all this ease and convenience, they're hiring!


An Open Update

No stranger to Spring and the OSS community, Pivotal's Pieter Humphrey sang the praises on the many things open source has to offer to developers, small teams, and the enterprise, showing how the Spring, Cloud Foundry, and other communities are growing at a rapid clip.


Event Platforms and Batches Have Their Day

With a nod to of Pivotal Cloud Foundry as a powerful foundation for event-driven, distributed systems, Pivotal, Solstice, and AxonIQ demonstrated a Reference Architecture for Event Sourcing. Event-driven microservice architectures are helping many of the Fortune 500 adopt cloud-native platforms and frameworks. He was not the first to underscore the importance of events in sprawling, digitized enterprises. Mike Koleno, VP of Technology at Solstice, noted how the world's largest financial, agricultural, and manufacturing industries need to scale for events and data streaming as well as distributed architectures.

AxonIQ's CTO, Allard Buijze, supported that with a technical overview of the Axon Framework and reference architecture. He cited the need for many companies to move incrementally to full-blown event sourcing, something the combination of technology (RabbitMQ, mySQL, Spring, Axon Framework, PCF, Spring Cloud Services) makes possible. You can start small on PCF with Spring, Axon, and PCF, swapping out elements of the architecture in order to scale up, e.g. RabbitMQ for Kafka, or mySQL for PostGres, or perhaps a noSQL store. The platform makes it possible to swap out infrastructure components like messaging and databases with minimal to no impact on application code, or platforms as they scale.

The backend should never be thought of as last, and Pivotal's Michael Minella reminded is how important it is—specifically as workloads move to cloud—the heavy-lifting of batch processing is following, moving to platforms like PAS and PKS, for the same reasons as everything else: productivity gains, backend system agility, on-demand scale, improved security, and reduced costs. Minella gave a comprehensive overview of how Spring tools—Spring Batch, Spring Boot, and Spring Cloud Task manage and scale batches for any abstraction.


In Sum – 5 Takeaways

Thousands of participants and customers from a variety of companies and communities gathered this week in Washington D.C. to get a better understanding on where their value line is, and Pivotal's Jared Ruckle does a bang-up job in capturing the 8½ things you can learn from SpringOne Platform.

We leave you with broader strokes to take away:

  1. Strengthen the constellation – As one leader noted, the cloud is not a place, it's an operating model. With an expanding constellation of platforms, and tools, collaborating to stitch them together will sustain both their development and enterprises' success.

  2. Make ship happen – That's what US Air Force Captain Bryon Kroger said in his keynote on the USAF's in-house agile software team. It's an apt quip to remember the purest rationale for cloud services: to help developers focus on writing great apps, and operators to offers tools and services that make it easy to do that.

  3. If you eat together, you stay together – From Boeing, to Dick's Sporting Goods, to the US Air Force, to West Corp, Rabobank, and more, the hard work of silo-busting ultimately comes down to cooperation and trust in order to reassemble teams, work across them, and to learn and adapt as an agile organization.

  4. Advantage, network effect – Whether it's a high conflict zone, faster releases, building smart apps, an advantage in a world where networks now scale exponentially is longer held through attrition and defense. It's found in the continuous and rapid march of applications and analytics, at scale.

  5. OSS currency matters – Pivotal's Pieter Humphrey gave a thoughtful reminder of the immense value of the OSS community in helping give life to new ideas. Companies who contribute to open source gain a more competitive advantage, and have some fun along the way. The C-suite also now grasps one thing: hardening the best OSS bits and pulling them into the enterprise is a necessary ingredient for innovation.   

Wondering what to do after this big week? First thing: Take a break, you’ve earned it. If you’re wondering where to invest in next year, take The Benchmark survey—recently released by Pivotal’s to measure software transformation—and see how your organization stacks up. Next week you can head over here and watch (or rewatch) the sessions from this year.

And then just remember: as fall turns to winter, know that Spring is around the corner. So stay tuned to the SpringOne Platform site for news about next year’s conference in Austin, Texas!

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Vincent Oostindie, Rabobank—SpringOne Platform, 2018
Vincent Oostindie, Rabobank—SpringOne Platform, 2018

Watch Rabobank's Business Architect, Vincent Oostindie, present at SpringOne Platform 2018 in Washington, D.C.