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Financial services institutions, by necessity, are embracing digital transformation and technology solutions to work more efficiently to maintain regulatory compliance, reduce risk, increase productivity, and exceed customer expectations. As part of the never-ending quest to participate in the development of industry-leading solutions, Red Hat has led the way in the demonstration of new forward-looking solutions, especially in this sector.
Automation and benefits
With extensive capability, the Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform helps in the transfer and re-purpose of legacy systems, and methods of operation, to a more flexible architecture - and further enables the operational environment.
Automating the ability to develop improved processes
Enablement of more robust security
Speeding time to market for new products
Avoiding vendor lock-in
The opportunity for the financial services sector is compelling.
With significant technology investments in Cloud, APIs, and Data/Analytics, customers have confirmed their requirement to innovate while retaining the flexibility of choice - using technology is increasingly best realized through open source solutions. Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform makes it easier for Information Technology teams to collaborate — whether their focus is networking, development, infrastructure, applications, or security.
Looking ahead towards true transformation
Achieving business agility requires improving business execution. For financial services firms to truly transform and achieve business agility, there is great potential in adopting a modular business platform approach, including consideration of utilizing open hybrid cloud concepts. Utilization of containerized runtime platforms demonstrates the viability of a modular business capability platform with standard APIs, following financial services’ mainstream business architectures and practices.
The role of an automation approach is evident, and has been demonstrated, but where to validate strategies, or other platform-related concepts - and how has Red Hat partnered with customers?
Red Hat’s overture in this direction has had a mandate to involve customers and partners from the very beginning, as we’d like them to take the journey with us.
Red Hat’s ‘Code Ready’ Lab: Concept, challenges—and adaptable solutions
Red Hat’s specialty business unit collectively assembled a representative group of financial participants to experiment in developing a proof of concept demo, implementing Red Hat application services technologies, which enables the delivery of applications and services on truly digital platforms.
In the initial phase, the construction of an infrastructure piece was necessary to build the development and testing environment serving as the "laboratory," fulfilling the ability for this team to work collaboratively. A guiding principle was to start with a fundamental idea, using Red Hat OpenShift as the foundation of this digital platform, while keeping the whole life cycle in mind.
An internal, operational sandbox infrastructure was constructed to commence the initial phase of the project, and supplying the necessary validation and confidence to continue forward.
Along with other best practices, the decision was made to adopt "infrastructure as code" as a design principle. Unsurprisingly, a sandbox environment is often subject to instabilities, and this project was no exception - including operating stops in the environment—but it was ultimately proven and justified through other successful experimental tests taking place on the same underlying infrastructure.
Even though the need to reprovision arose several times, the benefits of utilizing infrastructure as code emerged and were extracted - defining the processes necessary to install and configure services on top of OpenShift. Flexibility and ability of choice afforded the capability to adapt as needed, and as obstacles demanded - the perfect characteristics of the agile and open culture.
A quandary tamed
The resiliencies of configuration, tool choices, and the capability of automation were greatly important - and put to the test - when it was time to conduct external presentations of the working first cycle of the laboratory configuration.
An unforeseen outage of the infrastructure under the laboratory environment rendered it unavailable, and the installation of a new cluster was not an option. To maintain the scheduled demonstration, an alternate fall-back selection of a public cloud provider was necessary—even if it predicated an additional layer of infrastructure automation.
With the account access at the provider, an incremental implementation with the necessary configurations enabled a demonstrable, functional new environment in half a day—success made possible because of an agnostic deployment tool that is widely used internally at Red Hat—AgnosticD. Truly, this was an illustration of the benefit of an open environment to the rescue—building team success and obtaining the desired results with a receptive audience.
Looking ahead, lessons learned, and possibility of a laboratory as a service
While success was achieved, the post-demonstration period witnessed an improved internal laboratory environment currently in developmental use. With the knowledge of how to mitigate and remedy events leading to instability in an automated manner, including the utilization of playbooks, the adverse impact in the continuity of service operations has been drastically reduced.
While a small degree of downtime is inevitable, the choice of the open hybrid cloud model further enables resilience. Preparation continues to scale up the experiments ─ a multi-cloud management operation model to further improve service levels - all while retaining automation and infrastructure as code.
Extending our successful experience is the possibility of offering this laboratory environment as a service—automated, available to customers and business partners.
We welcome you to explore more about the project we undertook, and how it was built, by registering for this free on-demand webinar.