Why is Kubernetes Important to Drive Secured Digital Transformation in FinTech?

As FinTechs drive digital transformation, delivering highly secure cloud and on-premise solutions with unlimited scalability is becoming critically important for them. Today, the FinTech world is adapting to cloud platforms, SDLCs, and various other web/app development models at pace in order to deliver innovative products, services, and customer experiences. Hence Containers—and specifically Kubernetes— have become the de-facto compute units of modern cloud-native applications to support evolving needs of FinTechs at speed and scale.

Containers are a form of operating system virtualization and the evolving container technology has great potential for FinTechs to modernize their operations and infrastructure while moving to cloud-native development and hybrid, multicloud computing environments. The concept of containerization and process isolation is actually decades old, but the emergence in 2014 of the open-source container orchestration system Kubernetes – originally designed by Google, accelerated the adoption of this technology.

Why do FinTechs need a container orchestration tool?

 

Container orchestration automates the provisioning, deployment, networking, scaling (up and down), health monitoring, and management of containers. It facilitates fast deployment, scaling, and networking of containers in any environment. Container orchestration tools on the other hand work as a framework to manage microservices and architecture at scale. Kubernetes emerged as the right container orchestration tool to support developer agility, modernization and operational efficiencies for FinTech businesses.

According to Gartner, more than 75% of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production by 2022, a huge jump from the mere 30% in 2019.

While there are many other popular container orchestration platforms like Docker and Mesos, Kubernetes is a clear winner and is equally entertained by large businesses focusing to have a DevOps approach with strong support from all of the major cloud vendors like Microsoft, AWS, Google, etc.
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Top 8 Benefits of Kubernetes for FinTechs:

 

    1. Portability: The container-based orchestration environment provided by Kubernetes empowers FinTechs to create an executable package of software that is abstracted away from (not tied to or dependent upon) the host operating system, making it portable enough to run uniformly and consistently across any platform or cloud. This itself is a huge win if you remember the days of “my software works on Windows and not on Linux; it works in a test environment but not in production etc”..!!
    2. Agility: Kubernetes enables agility across the IT ecosystem and empowers creative teams of developers, platform operators, and security professionals to use agile or DevOps tools and processes for rapid application development and enhancement. Fintechs are now doing 500 new builds every month which is 20x more than average from 3 years back.
    3. Scalability: Kubernetes offers the freedom to scale the applications and underlying infrastructure resources up or down based on the contingent needs of the FinTechs. Run a large promotion for a week in no time, or send monthly statements once a month and then bring your IT infra and cost back to regular levels in no-time (or a couple of clicks or automatically?)
    4. Fault isolation: As each containerized application operates independently of others, the failure of one does not affect the continued operation of any other containers. Kubernetes helps FinTechs with self-healing, which restarts containers that fail or kill containers that don't respond to your user-defined health check without any downtime. Sounds too good to believe, it indeed is true. It literally takes 2-3 seconds for a healthy container to replace a faulty one!!
    5. Efficiency:  Kubernetes offers more efficiency while building applications for your business and helps you build self-service Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) applications quickly. As software runs in the containerized environment which shares the machine’s OS kernel, application layers within a container can be shared across containers, and this facilitates development teams to roll out changes swiftly and oversee the entire set of hardware (nodes) as one single entity.
    6. Security: In the FinTech world security is a crucial factor when opting for any technology to meet business applications. Kubernetes offers cloud-native security for your business to protect against a wide range of threats and vulnerabilities. With defined security permissions you can automatically block unwanted components from entering containers.
    7. Cost: Kubernetes provides the capability of auto-scaling up and down of nodes based on usage where teams don’t have to worry regarding fixed costs. The model of Kubernetes is like a utility which is like pay as you use. Horizontal pod scaling not only helps to scale up when traffic is more, but at the same time, it helps to scale down when traffic is less. On top of that, we could further use saving compute plans and reserved instances which drastically helps in cost saving. 
    8. Infra security upgrades/patching: In the traditional way, regular security patching is required to be performed on a regular basis as a separate activity. However, in Kubernetes, its default part of upgrades, there is no manual process of applying security patches. Also, volume encryptions are part of the initial setup itself, which remains until K8s is running.

Kubernetes Use Cases:

Northwestern Mutual

In 2015, LearnVest, a FinTech startup was acquired by Northwestern Mutual to meld Northwestern Mutual’s leading products and services with LearnVest’s digital experience and innovative financial planning platform. But their existing infrastructure was optimized for batch workflows hosted on on-premise networks and deployments were very traditional as it was focused on following a process instead of providing deployment agility. Hence they needed a platform that was elastically scalable and also much more responsive so that they can quickly get data to the client website to deliver an outstanding experience to the end customers. They came up with a plan for using the public cloud (AWS), Docker containers, and Kubernetes for orchestration. Their team also built a Kubernetes-native API management tool and used open-sourced Kanali that uses OpenTracing, Jaeger, and gRPC. With this new solution, they were able to increase the number of deployments dramatically i.e. about 24 per year to over 500 in just 10 months (2017).

 

Capital One

Being one of the largest financial services companies in the world, Capital One is known primarily for its credit cards. They first switched to Kubernetes for increasing the resilience and speed of fraud detection and credit decision systems to manage millions of daily transactions. According to Keith Gasser, the Lead Software Engineer at Capital One, Kubernetes helped them launch apps in as little as two weeks—which previously used to take an entire quarter or longer sometimes.

Kubernetes is a complex system and to get started with it entails a significant learning curve, and in order to enjoy the benefits it offers, it does require deep hands-on expertise. However, following the Kubernetes best practices will improve the chance that you get more out of this popular container orchestration tool.

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Final Thoughts:

Choosing the right container technology and the right container orchestration platform is very challenging in the evolving FinTech world. To bring new applications to the marketplace faster and seize opportunities to drive revenue & customer expectations, your business needs a trusted technology partner. LendFoundry’s expertise in leveraging cloud technology and microservices architecture helps FinTechs to achieve agility, scalability, and delivery of large-scale apps at speed. We have invested very significantly in Kubernetes, and other Cloud technologies to deliver a cloud-native, API-first, digital lending technology platform for loan origination (like to LOS) and servicing (link to LSS)

To learn more about our services and offerings and get the acceleration your FinTech business needs, please do connect with us.

  • May 5, 2022