Strengthening our commitment to cloud native design

3
July
,
2020
By:

Fabian Siddiqi, Software Engineer, Thought Machine

Thought Machine joins the Cloud Native Computing Foundation

Underpinning all of the great engineering decisions we make at Thought Machine is our constant drive to build truly cloud native technology. I’ll explain why I emphasise the word ‘truly’ a little further down. In essence, we build core software for banks but do so in a way that adheres to the best practices of the cloud native community.

The term cloud native is not proprietary to us, or to any one company – most would agree it is under the safekeeping of an independent member organisation called the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). An organisation that, as of this week, Thought Machine has joined.

We are one of the newest Silver End User Members of CNCF. We’ve joined at this level because we use cloud native technologies internally, such as Kubernetes, Prometheus and Envoy, but we do not sell cloud native services as is. Rather, they’re in the DNA of our core banking platform, Vault Core.

As a member, we’re now in regular dialogue with the CNCF and its members. We hear from the leaders in cloud native technology, we speak to project maintainers, the Governing Board and Technical Oversight Committee members.

In addition, we’re invited to the End User meetings, have the ability to cast votes, and judge whether cloud native tools are in a mature enough state for use in the field.

I’m also pleased to say that I personally have joined CNCF’s Financial Services Special Interest Group (SIG). As part of this SIG, we get an insight into the needs and motivations of leading financial institutions and their use of cloud native technologies. What are a tier-1 bank’s issues around compliance? What are the best tools a global insurance company should be using to scale its operations? How can monitoring and testing be adapted to suit the global asset management industry?

These are all questions I’ll collaborate with Financial Institutions to find an answer to. All in all, a great opportunity for Thought Machine to get even closer to the institutions that already use us, and will be using us in the future.

It would have been perfectly feasible for us, as a business, to keep on building great cloud native software for banks without a connection to the CNCF. In fact, many of our competitors do. But it wouldn’t be true to the ethos of Thought Machine if we built software without keeping close to the community that governs Cloud Native engineering.

As I stated in the opening, we stand by our commitment to build truly cloud native software. Not the kind of software that can be retrospectively shoehorned into the cloud, but the kind of software that was built to take full advantage of current, and future, cloud specifications.

That means resilient, containerised software with zero or minimal dependencies on other applications. A microservices-based architecture, where each service is cohesive, loosely coupled, disposable and treated like a first-class citizen.

This is not the easy approach to building a core banking system. It takes countless extra hours to build an architecture which operates in isolation, and can be upgraded as such. It is, however, the best approach for our customers and end users. It guarantees a level of resilience, availability and upgradeability that you will never have with the system architectures of yesterday. We know that building software in this way is the future.

We are steadfast in our approach to building cloud native software. With the support of the CNCF, that commitment is further strengthened. We look forward to sharing more as our involvement with the CNCF community continues.

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