Industrial thread manufacturer Redefines its Industry’s Digital Agenda using Azure Container Service
- Legacy infrastructure restricting as world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer selects Amido to create a mash-up, container-based architecture that allows for rapid digital growth
- CALL TO ACTION: Skills gap and DevOp lines blurred owing to digital transformation. Current IT talent needs to become more platform and software-agnostic
- Enterprises that are keen to innovate require more infrastructure flexibility and increasingly see advantages in working with vendor-neutral companies like Amido with the skillset to build an IT architecture quickly and affordably
London, U.K., 11 May 2017 – Amido, a vendor-agnostic technical consultancy specialising in assembling and integrating proven cloud technologies, was selected by Coats to help build a scalable platform that will help its customer base to manage its corporate responsibility during the supply chain process, furthering the company’s commitment to digitally transform its services. The application went live in December 2016 and is one of the first enterprises to use Azure Container Services in a customer facing environment. By using Amido’s expertise in technical design, integration and deployment of applications, Coats successfully launched a web portal on a container-based platform, marking this as the challenger to industry sceptics who define container solutions as simply ‘hype.’
Amido’s recommendation to use containers came from Coats’ requirements for an adaptable, scalable and easily manageable platform that would adhere to the strict regulations of international trading. With large investments from Amazon, Google and Microsoft, the option of containers is becoming a viable solution even at this stage of its infancy; and over the next three years, Amido predicts that there will be a large rise in its implementation. Yet Amido warns that not every organisation can benefit from its use as not all applications are suitable.
The industry still views containers as hype with no long-term value in the enterprise. For Coats, however, the opposite is true. Chris Gray, Technical Director of Amido, adds: ‘Containers give you more control over the infrastructure you are deploying. This is because you are not creating a Virtual Machine for every instance of an application, meaning deployments are rapid and the overhead of the operating system is significantly lower. This combination is powerful as it means that we can issue an upgrade/change that will take effect almost immediately, without disruption to the general use of the portal. For companies where Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is severely monitored, this advantage of application upgrades and changes is vital, especially when committed to digitally transform its services - without the added costs legacy systems can bring.’
Basheer Shahul, Digital Solutions Director, at Coats, says: ‘We are breaking new ground in our industry with this platform. Speed is everything so scaling and adapting is very important to us. We needed to find a system that would offer flexibility when we have to change or adjust applications so we looked for a partner that understood all technologies, platforms and applications to help us. Amido met these requirements and we were able to create a system that not only challenged container-use perception at an enterprise level, but also did so in a timely and cost-effective manner.’
Amido warns that containers are not a magic fix for all legacy or monolithic solutions and the decision to containerise software needs to be considered carefully. Containers are valuable when monolithic applications can be split into smaller components which can be distributed across a containerised infrastructure; but this is not to say that any application will work, just that care needs to be taken to see if it is suitable for containerised deployment. With this in mind, the new container-driven customer portal exposed a real need for DevOps skills, emphasising the shift and increasing demand for IT skills in the market today.
DevOp Skills Gap: The Obliteration of Monolithic IT Pedagogy
The skills are shifting and lines are blurring between the developer and IT operation teams. During the development stage of the container-based platform, Coats and Amido highlighted that the skills required in maintaining this platform extended beyond the traditional enterprise skills. The market is seeing how enterprises of all sizes are harnessing powerful technology tools that require software engineers who are not only software-coding-savvy, but platform agnostic in terms of infrastructure development.
Chris Gray, Technical Director of Amido, elaborates: ‘DevOps in the enterprise has always been mostly focused around tooling and processes in the development of software, with “operations” such as support and monitoring still handled by separate teams, but utilising deployment platforms such as containers bring that final piece of the puzzle back to the development teams. Developers and DevOps engineers who can embrace methodologies such as containers are more attractive to clients like Coats - Times are shifting beyond the “it works on my machine, so I’ll let the ops guys handle it.” IT skills are changing and we see this only as a positive move given that production-like infrastructure is used throughout the deployment chain. DevOps is no longer two separate roles, which is pretty special to see - at Amido we have invested in our talent to cross-pollenate skills; this is why our clients are keen to work with us.’
In addition to this, migrating skills reduces support levels as routine software upgrades and maintenance can be handled within development sprints, rather than employing whole teams to look after it. However, until the nirvana of self-healing infrastructure is realised, it is still best practice to have a view of the production infrastructure from within support teams to ensure security and scalability issues can be dealt with in a timely manner.