Overcoming Challenges in the Transition to Cloud Native

Hailey Mai
KBE blog post 019 - Overcoming Challenges in the Transition to Cloud Native

We had the opportunity to interview Jim Wittermans, Chapter Area Lead at ABN AMRO Clearing Bank, while in Amsterdam for KubeCon Europe. We discussed various challenges and myths surrounding the transition to cloud native platforms, as well as how Jim's team is helping ABN AMRO Clearing Bank solve these problems.


Overcoming Vendor Lock-in and Security Concerns

One key challenge Jim mentioned in adopting cloud native technologies is the concern over vendor lock-in. While many assume that vendor lock-in only applies to cloud-based solutions, Jim says that traditional on-premises infrastructure can also lead to lock-in. The key is visibility into where dependencies exist so you can make informed decisions.

Security concerns also often hold organizations back from moving to the cloud. Jim notes that moving to the cloud can actually expose existing security holes that were previously hidden on-premises. While cloud platforms provide robust security controls, organizations need to learn how to leverage them properly. 

An effective way to overcome these challenges without hassle is to take advantage of KBE's Kubernetes Security learning path. This learning path is highly recommended for team training, as it educates the entire team on potential security risks and essential best practices. By completing this tutorial, developers can learn to deploy applications safely and respond promptly to potential threats, ensuring the security of their Kubernetes environments. Visit Kubernetes Security to learn more.


Focus on Value Delivery, Not Infrastructure Management

Jim believes development teams should focus on where they can deliver value, not on managing their own infrastructure. While hosting their own servers and VMs may have been a part of operations in the past, it takes developers away from writing code that delivers value to customers. Moving to cloud native services and platforms allows development teams to abstain from managing the underlying infrastructure, freeing them up to focus on shipping features and code that matters.


Training and Mindset Shifts Needed for Cloud Native Adoption

Jim notes that simply re-platforming applications into containers does not make them cloud native. There are fundamentally different skills and mindsets needed for developing cloud native applications. ABN AMRO Clearing Bank provides training to help their teams develop these skills and understand the architectural changes required. They also employ "proof of concepts" to get teams experimenting with new technologies in an isolated environment.


Development Services Team Accelerates Adoption

To accelerate cloud native adoption, ABN AMRO Clearing Bank created a "Development Services" team that sits between their platform and product teams. This team produces reusable templates, Dockerfiles, YAML files, and other consumable constructs that are pre-approved for their environment. This removes friction for development teams who would otherwise each have to navigate security, governance, and architecture requirements from scratch. It has significantly boosted the speed of cloud native adoption across the bank.


Rotating Teams Through Development Services

Jim also rotates some developers from product teams through the Development Services team for a period of time. This gives developers exposure to user perspectives and provides a reminder of the value their work delivers. It also provides valuable feedback to the Development Services team on how they can better enable product teams.

As Jim and his team are tackling the shift to cloud native platforms, their experiences provide valuable insights for any organization looking to successfully make the transition to cloud native technologies at scale. With patience, training, and a focus on enabling developers, even traditionally risk-averse organizations like banks can begin reaping the benefits of cloud native platforms.

Full video at: KBE Insider Amsterdam


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